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Jones a better replacement for Vidic and not Ferdinand at Man Utd

| 08.10.2013

Four clean sheets in 11 games in all competitions is not the rate of return that would be expected of Manchester United’s defence and finding the right partnerships are something that David Moyes must work out fairly quickly.

At their peak, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic provided the optimum mix of comfort in possession, pace, physicality and aerial combativeness.

However, the best years for the pair appear to be in the past, with Vidic never truly discovering his most lethal form since his injury problems and Ferdinand looking especially vulnerable if caught one on one at any time.

Ferdinand, especially, could benefit from the occasional game off and with the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans waiting in the wings, all of this trio should arguably be profiting from more game time.

What does seem to be the case is that Moyes has the perfect options, with Jones having many of the same attributes as Vidic in his peak, Evans possessing the calmness of Ferdinand and Smalling somewhere between both roles.

Evans did a good job shackling Daniel Sturridge in the Capital One Cup win over Liverpool and has accrued a solid amount of experience in his Man Utd career to date.

Meanwhile, Jones may have made some errors against Sunderland, but it would be unfair to fully judge him on one game, in a position that he has barely featured in since moving from Blackburn.

Despite playing in midfield at times, it is in possession where he holds a weakness and having the likes of Ferdinand or Evans alongside him would seemingly make the most sense.

As for Smalling, he has the size to be an aerial force and some composure in possession to play either defensive role, making him an ideal squad player.

Man Utd are currently 11/2 to win the Premier League and if they sort themselves out defensively, this could be a big price bearing in mind they are only six points adrift of table-toppers Arsenal.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.