Defensive Vulnerabilities Cost Oxford United Again

Defensive Vulnerabilities Cost Oxford United Again  -
Coventry City‘s Fankaty Dabo is dejected after scoring an own goal during the Sky Bet League One match at the Kassam Stadium Oxford. Oxford United v Coventry City – Sky Bet League One – Kassam Stadium 31-08-2019 . (Photo by Chris Radburn/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)

Oxford United conceded three goals as they rescued a point at home to unbeaten Coventry City on Saturday. Since defeat at Blackpool, the U’s have now conceded 14 goals in four league games and their Carabao Cup second-round match against Millwall, raising defensive concerns again.

Defensive Vulnerabilities Cost Oxford United Again

The U’s Need to Tighten up at the Back

To concede seven goals in two home league games raises concerns. The U’s lost 4-2 at home to Burton Albion last week and shipped three goals against the Sky Blues.

Karl Robinson’s side also allowed two goals as they produced a come back in the cup against Millwall to set up a third-round clash with West Ham United.

Against Coventry, Oxford found themselves two goals down just after the restart, but a Jamie Mackie strike and Fankaty Dabo own goal levelled the game. On-loan Aston Villa man Callum O’Hare thought he found a winner in stoppage time, but a second Dabo own goal earned the U’s a valuable yet deserved point.

How can Oxford Strengthen Defensively?

Following the departure of Curtis Nelson to Cardiff City in the summer, The U’s defence was always going to be tested.

Rob Dickie, who formed a formidable partnership with Nelson last season, has certainly stepped up, while skipper John Mousinho and new signing Elliott Moore have also produced some good defensive displays.

But despite decent performances, the U’s are still shipping goals. Alex Rodriguez Gorrin, who has picked up four yellow cards from five league games, has also put in strong performances in front of the back four, so is it down to Robinson’s preferred formation that allows the opponents to find the net?

Full-backs Josh Ruffels and Chris Cadden have both excelled in the attack, with the former netting in the defeat to Burton, but defensively they’re not as efficient and natural full-backs, with both players natural positions coming in midfield.

The U’s boast one of the best midfields in League One, but given their recent displays, it appears the whole team must defend as a unit, giving cover to the back four.