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09th Sep 2017

Michael Owen reckons there’s a weak-link in Manchester United’s defence

“I think they are all much of a muchness really"

Robert Redmond

“I think they are all much of a muchness really.”

Michael Owen reckons Manchester United’s defence could be exposed in the Champions League. Owen had just watched United play out a 2-2 draw with Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium, where Jose Mourinho’s defence were partly at fault for the home side’s goals.

Eric Bailly lost Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for his first goal of the day, and Phil Jones lost the Stoke winger for his second goal. Marcus Rashford had levelled for United, and Romelu Lukaku put them ahead, but Mourinho’s side had to settle for a point.

United haven’t won away to Stoke since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, and although they lost their perfect start to the season, the club are still top of the table with 10 points, ahead of Manchester City on goal difference.

Mourinho’s side also had the second-best defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding just 29 goals, and Choupo-Moting’s goals were the first to go against them since Harry Kane scored against United back in May. They had gone 535 minutes of Premier League football without conceding.

However, former Liverpool and United striker Owen is a bit worried about their defence.

“I would be concerned slightly with Manchester United’s defence,” Owen said on BT Sport.

“They’re in the Champions League now and against the best teams – I can’t look at that back four and think ‘world class defender’ about any of them. I think they are all much of a muchness really.”

Owen then made a peculiar point about Antonio Valencia, singling him out as a worrying aspect of the United defence. According to the former Real Madrid striker, Valencia is being used in the wrong position by Mourinho.

“I think Antonio Valencia is a top player. But he is playing out of position and against a top team, perhaps even he could be found out. I think that’s a worry there.”

Valencia is a converted winger, but he played well at right-back last season, and wasn’t the obvious culprit for either of Stoke’s goals.

You can watch Owen here:

Owen also found time to state the obvious about Liverpool’s 5-0 loss to City earlier in the day.

Jurgen Klopp’s side collapsed after having Sadio Mane sent-off in controversial circumstances just before half-time. Liverpool were trailing 1-0 at the time, and were then unable to stop a rout, losing 5-0 to City.

“No way would it have been a 5-0 game had it been 11 men,” Owen said, after being asked the least challenging question possible by Jake Humphrey.

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