Is Premier League defending getting worse?
After his side conceded six goals against Manchester City last weekend, it was perhaps not surprising that Sir Alex Ferguson's priority on Saturday for Manchester United was defence.
United sacrificed some of their attacking instincts to gain a defender's favourite result of 1-0 against Everton at Goodison Park - and took their first steps to reducing the alarming number of chances they have granted this season.
If only the same could be said of Chelsea, who let five in against Arsenal in an eight-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge.
It was the latest in a bizarre run of results that has seen the Premier League's top teams toss away their usual cautiousness against each other and serve up a feast of goals.
Alongside the last two weekend's stand out results, Manchester City's 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham and Manchester United's 8-2 demolition of Arsenal have added to a notable quartet of results.
That is in keeping with a season which has seen a rise in the number of goals scored and a goals-per-game ratio of 2.97 - the highest since the 1967/68 season.
So why is that? In short, according to Match of the Day 2 pundit Lee Dixon, the Premier League's attacking is getting better and the defending is getting worse.
The former Arsenal defender believes inexperience contributed to the Gunners' defeat at Old Trafford, while City's huge win there was helped by the sending off of United defender Jonny Evans.
But he does admit that, while teams have been more adventurous this season, defenders are being hindered by growing rule changes which have given their opponents an advantage.
Dixon said: "Throughout the league there has been an emphasis on attack. We have seen sides like Swansea and Norwich have a go at teams but, overall, the one thing that stands out for me is the quality of the defending. It seems like it is at an all-time low.
"If you look at all the top teams, they have all had problems defensively. Chelsea can't seem to find someone to play alongside John Terry and he has been having a bad time himself. United's backline has been unsettled, with Nemanja Vidic having been injured, while Rio Ferdinand has had troubles.
"In my experience of defending, the more you play together and the less often the back-four changes, the better. When we played at Arsenal, virtually none of us really got any major injuries. If one of us did it was quite simple to get someone in to cover as long as they knew what they were doing.
"United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all had issues at centre-back and, if you mix that with teams being more adventurous, you have got a cocktail there for explosive games.
"Also, I genuinely think players are a little bit nervous of making tackles now because there are so many yellow and red cards flying around. It has made the game more exciting from a chances or goals point of view - but I will be saddened if the art of defending is eradicated from the game. It certainly looks like it is going that way.
"There is no doubt that year on year there is a change in emphasis and a change in rules. They have stopped the tackle from behind and you would probably say quite rightly. But I still think there's a place for good defending behind forwards.
"Certainly the tackle from the side has been outlawed in as much as winning the ball is not enough. It's deemed now that you have to win the ball in a safe manner and not be a danger to the opposition. We don't want to see broken legs and we want to rule out the over-the-top tackle - but I certainly think there is very little left in a defender's armoury.
"It's probably why you are seeing more shirt-pulling now, because there are only certain ways that you can stop a forward advancing towards your goal. Players are getting a bit tighter. You could give a player a little bit of space knowing that if he tries to take you on down the side you could get a tackle in. Nowadays, the tackle is very much on a knife-edge when you go in for one because, if you slightly mis-time it, you get a yellow card or sometimes a red.
"Defenders are staying on their feet more but that will lead to a completely different type of game, a more flowing game. That's fine. People will say, 'Dixon is talking about ruining the game - stifling it', but it's not about that.
"As a defender, surely you should be allowed to be in a position where you take the ball off the opposition as fairly as possible? These days it seems to be heavily weighted in the forwards' favour - and that's probably why you are getting these open and free-flowing games.
"Maybe most people want more of it as far as the goals are concerned but we have to be very careful that we don't turn it into a non-contact sport."
Dixon accepts the quality of forwards in the Premier League has risen as the competitions' riches have allowed teams to attract the world's best.
And, although there are examples of teams like Newcastle, who have made significant improvements, he still sees bad examples of defending every weekend.
"From the matches I see on a Saturday and Sunday, there doesn't seem to be an emphasis on organisation," he adds. "I'm sure teams work on it but it is quite easy to pick holes in things and see mistakes.
"There often seems to be something jumping off the screen. Was it like that 10 years ago? I don't think the mistakes were as prominent as they are now."