Manchester United travel to Southampton in the Premier League this afternoon and could have their hands full with Saints striker Graziano Pelle.
The Italian, signed by Ronald Koeman from Feyenoord in the 2014 summer, is a beast in the air, as proven by this goal against Tottenham Hotspur last season.
If Pelle can so effortlessly jump above 6ft 5in Spurs centre-back Federico Fazio, surely he can get some aerial joy against United defender Daley Blind?
Blind spent much of his debut season at Old Trafford playing at either left-back or in midfield, but has been moved into the centre of defence this season.
He has formed a promising partnership with the excellent Chris Smalling, helping United to four clean sheets from their first eight games of the campaign.
But there is a feeling that the 5ft 11in Dutchman could be isolated in the air by the Premier League’s best target men, of which 6ft 4in Pelle is undoubtedly one.
Liverpool’s Christian Benteke would also fall into that category, but Brendan Rodgers and the Belgian between them failed to recognise this United weakness last weekend.
The Reds rarely looked directly for Benteke in the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford and, when they did, the former Aston Villa striker foolishly chose to duel with Smalling.
Rodgers insisted after the game that it would have been “too easy” to hit Benteke with long balls, as goal.com reports, but Saints boss Koeman isn’t arrogant enough to ignore such a tactic with Pelle.
The Dutchman is regarded as one of the shrewdest managers in the Premier League and may feel that he can take down the Red Devils by exposing his compatriot’s biggest flaw.
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