Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
That seems to be the case with our fanbase and clean sheets.
Our recent win over Huddersfield Town was deconstructed on social media and the media itself for the simple fact that once again, we slipped up in obtaining a clean sheet.
The facts are pretty hard to read.
No clean sheet away from home all season. We are still the only side yet to break this.
We have a mere four clean sheets in the league this season, from 26 games.
If it weren’t for our world-class attack, we would be swimming in the mediocrity of mid-table.
Two recent results have seen us lose clean sheets against lowly opponents in the dying embers of the game.
Another fact really does highlight the truth though.
We are a solitary point away from the hallowed grounds of the top4.
Unfortunately, as the Champions League becomes even more lucrative, results mean more than everything else. The ideals instilled by world greats like Johan Cruyff, Rinus Michels and the luminaries of the 1970 Brazilian World Cup winning team fall by the wayside and winning comes before all, at all costs.
So we should count ourselves lucky that we are earning a decent amount of wins while playing some half-decent football.
The win against Huddersfield was neither pleasing on the eye nor full of goals, but it was a win. With United having won earlier in the day, the pressure was on us to match their result, and with our clear weakness of playing away from home rising to the fore, we needed to leave Huddersfield with the points.
We did just that. We would all dearly love a rock-solid defence, one that gives our midfield the solid platform they need to create on the pitch, safe in the knowledge that all is well behind them.
We don’t have that, and it will take some time before we do. Unai Emery has created backlines before and given time, he will do so again.
The distinct lack of a clean sheet is troublesome, but it should never cloud the joy of a victory, no matter the opponent.
Our malfunctioning defence may be causing extra palpitations, but if we earn the win, does it matter?