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Why Vidic’s exit is good news for Man Utd’s attack in the future

| 09.05.2014

Rewind to the 2008/09 Premier League season and Nemanja Vidic was not only the best defender in the Premier League, he waltzed off with numerous individual awards at the end of the campaign.

He was voted the Premier League’s Player Of The Season, the Players’ Player Of The Year and was a key factor in Manchester United going over 1,300 minutes without conceding a top-flight goal.

Now aged 32, Vidic’s defensive contribution does seem to have dipped this season, although only Martin Skrtel averages more clearances on a game-by-game basis than the Serbian.

What most Man Utd fans may not have realised, though, is the impact that starting Vidic has on their ability to score goals, which could relate to his penchant for defending deep.

In his 22 Premier League starts this season, Man Utd have scored only 32 goals at an average of 1.45 per game. Furthermore, seven of their nine blanks in front of goal have come in these fixtures.

On the flip side, the Red Devils have scored 31 goals in the 15 fixtures where Vidic hasn’t started, at a rate of 2.07 per game.

Meanwhile, in these 15 games, Man Utd have scored two or more on 10 occasions.

There is a strong possibility that Vidic will make his final appearance in the away game with Southampton and this boosts the likelihood that under 2.5 goals will be scored, which can be backed at 6/5.

Vidic has never been blessed with outright pace and what this does is causes him to defend deeper to prevent being exploited in behind.

What this also does is brings the starting positions of the midfield back to prevent too much space opening up between the lines, making it tougher for them to support the strikers.

Vidic leaving may be the end of an era at Man Utd, but bringing in defenders that are adept at pushing out and starting in a high line should aid a return to scoring more goals next season.

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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.