A fairly long analysis of our attack... includes pictures.

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by RedSky, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. Feb 19, 2018
    #1

    RedSky likes to kick 10-year-olds Scout

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    57,496
    Location:
    Hereford FC (Soccermanager)
    Due to this taking a while to compile (I made all the images), i've only done the last 5 Home and Away Premier League games.

    N.B. I've used a colour code to make the stats a bit easier to read.


    Red = left wing
    Yellow = middle of pitch
    Green = right wing
    Football and white = led to goal

    Key Passes Home Games:

    Our home form is nicely balanced, it slightly favours the left side but not by much. The distribution in the penalty area is also pretty even. What is interesting though is that very little of these key passes are aimed for the right side of the penalty area. They're all either aiming for the middle or the left side.

    [​IMG]

    Key Passes Away Games:

    Our away form however tells a different story, it favours the left and middle with only 15.1% coming from the right. We haven't even had a key pass on the right from inside the penalty area in those 5 games.

    [​IMG]

    Final Key Pass Count for Home and Away Games:

    Left : 49 - 43.0%
    Middle : 38 - 33.3%
    Right : 27 - 23.7%

    Touches Per Game:

    This image in particular I think demonstrates the problem we have. The majority of the games our right side is the lowest. Everton and Newcastle away stand out as being terrible in particular. Putting it into perspective we've had over double the amount of touches on the left as we have on the right in all 10 games combined.

    Left : 175 - 48.1%
    Middle : 103 - 28.3%
    Right : 86 - 23.6%

    [​IMG]

    Shots Per Game:

    This is a little harder to evaluate as the picture is a tiny bit more messy. Only 12.2% come from shots on the right from inside the penalty area. That decreases to 10.5% when you calculate all shots. Naturally shots in the middle are the majority and yet we have over double the shots on the left than we do on the right. However, only 1 goal was scored from the left and 2 were scored from the right.

    Left : 43 - 28.1%
    Middle : 94 - 61.4%
    Right : 16 - 10.5%

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:

    In my opinion the attacking balance in our team is far too focused on the left side. Our Touches and Key Passes are both highest on the left side while our right side has a very low percentage. This could be a tactical choice Jose has decided "give the ball to Martial/Sanchez". But when 7.1% of total shots come from the right side at home, something seems off.

    The issue seems to be personal. When you look at Key Passes for example, they seem to be coming from our fullbacks (Valencia/Young) or from our central midfield (Matic, Pogba). Lingard and Mata had very few key passes from that area of the pitch. If Valencia has a poor game or gets pushed back our right side stops functioning. As both Lingard and Mata drift inwards.

    How do we fix this? What we need in my opinion is a player who will get the ball and drive into the penalty area. Martial was meant to be that player against Newcastle and yet he got 0 touches in that area, Lingard and Sanchez both got 1 touch. If Martial can replicate his form on the left to the right then he could well be our solution. Chong could also fill this role as judging by his recent performances that is very much his skillset but probably too early for him. Alternatively we could sign a right sided forward to do this role.

    If we don't address this then we'll continue to drop points because our attacking play is simply becoming too predictable.

    TLDR:

    The above shows that our right sided players don't carry a consistent attacking threat and if our fullback has a poor game we have little to no penetration from that side. This is a flaw in either our tactics or personal not being good enough. We desperately need to rebuild our right side.
  2. Feb 19, 2018
    #2

    Gusjaros Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    Messages:
    254
    Supports:
    Several teams
    Pretty much all teams concentrate their attack on their left flank. (This is why you can't compare right backs or right center backs with left equivalents.)
  3. Feb 19, 2018
    #3

    RedSky likes to kick 10-year-olds Scout

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    57,496
    Location:
    Hereford FC (Soccermanager)
    City, Tottenham and Liverpool don't. I checked this before I started doing it because I thought the same thing.
  4. Feb 19, 2018
    #4

    spontaneus1 Hamster, damn!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    2,411
    Location:
    In Hiding
    Attack the space.
  5. Feb 19, 2018
    #5

    Cee90 Redcafe Fantasy Football Champion 2012/13

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    3,042
    Location:
    London
    Really?

    Why do you think that is?
  6. Feb 19, 2018
    #6

    BeforeKeanetherewasRobson Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    4,367
    Location:
    Behind the right goal post as "Whiteside shoots!"
    Do they? I'll be honest, I don't watch full City and Liverpool games but from highlights, I wouldn't put Salah or De Bruyne as left sided?

    @RedSky have to have a fuller look when I get chance but well done for compiling.
  7. Feb 19, 2018
    #7

    Trizy Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    10,500
    Yup you're right but every man and his dog could tell you we have been shit at RW since prime Nani. Of course, you could add that one season Valencia assisted Rooney a bucket load of times.

    Our RW has mainly consisted of below average wingers (Young, Valencia) or attacking midfielders (Mata, Lingard) in the past few seasons. During the times we haven't had a decent RB either. Now that Valencia is playing RB he offers nothing going forward. He cannot cross and when he breaks into space he's almost certain to stop and pass back. In fact, when ever I see us attacking the space on the right, I don't ever expect anything to come from it if I'm been honest. The only decent crossing I've seen from the right side is by Lukaku funnily enough.

    We have been screaming for a RW on here for years, hopefully we'll finally address it instead of being so predicable all the time. Someone who can beat a man and whip a ball. My muppet dream was Barcelona's Dembele.
  8. Feb 19, 2018
    #8

    el3mel Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    20,596
    Location:
    Egypt
    Great thread.

    It's obvious that most if not all of our attackers are right footed and prefer to play on the left to cut inside and shoot, leaving the right flank completely useless with only Valencia on it. Even when Mata starts on the right he drifts to the left and center. Our only player capable of drifting from the right flank is Lukaku at the moment but we always play him centrally.

    Thought Sanchez will be tried there instead of Mata but so far he has been playing on the left too to utilize his strengths. We should give him some matches on the right to see how he does, otherwise we'll still need a right winger in summer then.
  9. Feb 19, 2018
    #9

    ti vu Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Messages:
    7,959
    It's not we prefer to play on the left. It's we don't have wide attacker on the right flank. If you look at touches, there are games (Young and Valencia play at RB), we raked up similar amount touches in comparison to on the left. Just no penetrate from the right side attacking wise (key passes/ assist/ goal). When talking about touches, then the left side also have problem. Despite being our heavily reliant for penetration, the involvement in our play, especially in build up is not better than right flank!!! We don't have winger and rely on our full back for width. If we fail to build up from the back, then the combo on the wing is scarce with our wide attacker being isolated
  10. Feb 19, 2018
    #10

    SS Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Messages:
    2,677
    I think that user's exaggerating, but it's probably down to a lot of teams having a wide forward as their main threat. As a majority are right-footed, they'll play on the left to be able to cut in and so the team focuses on getting the ball to the left to make things happen. Obviously, the more equal the threat on each wing, the less lopsided the attacking becomes, as seen with City and Liverpool.
  11. Feb 19, 2018
    #11

    redIndianDevil Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2017
    Messages:
    2,044
    The reason why we only attack through the flanks and why Young and Valencia have more key passes is because we are absolute shite at maintaining possession and making quick one touch passes through the middle, outwide is easy for us because most of our opponents keep it compact in the middle.

    Lack of incisive passing through the middle is another reason why our teams struggle, all our midifelders take the safest approach of passing it out wide instead of making a better pass through the middle. We really need to improve the tempo of our passing and try to attack through the middle a lot more, because then we can force our opponents to be a bit more narrow and give our wingers even more joy.
  12. Feb 19, 2018
    #12

    Physiocrat Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    3,814
    Good work @RedSky

    More reasons why we need a right-winger
  13. Feb 19, 2018
    #13

    abdo99 Full Member City Lover

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    Messages:
    6,155
    Maybe we should've bought Mahrez instead of Sanchez given that Martial was performing quite well on the left wing prior to his arrival and had started to get to grips with how Mourinho wanted to him to play the role. Mahrez is a natural RW but now we've got Sanchez I'd try him there and leave Martial on the left. Having threats from both sides would give us a completely different dynamic in attack.
  14. Feb 19, 2018
    #14

    DWelbz19 Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Messages:
    18,017
    And a new RB.
  15. Feb 19, 2018
    #15

    Physiocrat Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    3,814
    Indeed although with a Nani-esque right winger (the type I think which will bring balance) we don't need an uber attacking RB
  16. Feb 19, 2018
    #16

    Zlatattack Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Messages:
    2,943
    The stats scream Mahrez to me.
  17. Feb 19, 2018
    #17

    Z1L3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    173
    Supports:
    Partizan Belgrade
    If I was Rashford I would be all over that right wing in practice.
  18. Feb 19, 2018
    #18

    iHicksy Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Messages:
    686
    Yup. It's because whoever we play on the right isn't a right winger, nor are they suited to that position. The following are our options:

    Mata: Favoured position is no.10. Spends most of the time cutting inside and doesnt have the space to go down the right. He's also left footedI believe.
    Martial: Favoured position is on the left. When we;ve played him on the right he just cuts inside all day long, which is odd since he's right footed.
    Lingard: Favoured position is as a number 10, again will cut inside and has blown hot and cold on the right.

    The right hand side issue is furthered by Mourinho as he appears to like to have a full back who sits (Valenia) and a full back who attacks (Young/Shaw). Again, giving us less of a threat and no width down the right. We've further compounded the problem by buying a striker who is left footed, therefore, more often than not he's going to want to get the ball to the left of the goal in order to shoot on his strongest foot. Basically we need a real right winger, watching Moura for Spurs the other night (admittedly against poor opposition) felt like we might have missed a trick. Mahrez would be my solution to the problem, but if we were going to be in for him we would have done it by now.
  19. Feb 19, 2018
    #19

    HankHill New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2016
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    England
    Supports:
    Ewe Night Tid.
    A l e x i s S a n c h e z.
  20. Feb 19, 2018
    #20

    pcaming Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,409
    Location:
    Trinidad & Tobago
    We have no right wingers that can do what our left-wingers do, so we settle for just letting Valencia drive up and down the right flank while the RW comes inside. We could've alleviated this by playing Sanchez on the right, but Jose has thought it best to stick him on the flank that is of no issue.
  21. Feb 19, 2018
    #21

    AndyJ1985 Full Member Verified Moaner

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Messages:
    7,856
    RW is yet another gaping hole in our team that for some reason is ignored every transfer window.
  22. Feb 19, 2018
    #22

    Leftback99 Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    3,223
    Watching our games for the last few years it's clear we favour the left over being more balanced. Disappointing that Sanchez hasn't been tried there.

    I think it would be worth an experiment with Pogba on the right in the same way Spurs use Eriksen in a 4-2-3-1. We have better options at 10 and on the left.
  23. Feb 19, 2018
    #23

    SadlerMUFC Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Niagara Falls, Canada
    I think it also has to do with Pogba. He likes to go out left a lot, which is a problem because when we turn over the ball he is often out of position...
  24. Feb 19, 2018
    #24

    diplomat Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Bulgaria
    Excellent thread and analysis to come with it. All of this begs the question why did we actually buy Sanchez if we were never going to play him at RW and why didn't we reinforce with someone like Mahrez, who would have been a lot more useful towards building a proper balanced team?

    I bet the club buys someone like Griezmann in the summer, stick him on the right and we the fans will be wondering why our attack still looks disjointed after hundreds of millions in spending.
  25. Feb 19, 2018
    #25

    ghagua Full Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    5,189
    We had Martial who was just starting to match his potential and then sign Sanchez to take his place on the left smh. Sanchez has played on the right a lot in his career before playing for Arsenal, not sure why he was signed to take Martial's place. If we had any sense, then signing Mahrez would be a top priority this summer along with a couple of midfielders.
  26. Feb 20, 2018
    #26

    Rifer Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,844
    Location:
    Losing to Comeback Winning!
    Good job @RedSky that's a lot of effort.

    We are highly dependent on Antonio Valencia to exploit that right wing. The only one that likes to attack there. Other than Young, if he plays RB.

    Prefer not to get a new RW/RM player, and instead opt to let that position open for our young players to gain gaming times and breakthrough. The LW is literally Alexis Sanchez's, so the likes of Rashford, Martial, or even Pereira and Gomes, go and fight it out at RW. We have too much players that love to play and excel better on the left. Barely on the right. It's imbalance.
  27. Feb 20, 2018
    #27

    Water Melon before it dries out, eh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Messages:
    2,281
    Location:
    vegetable patch
    Well done @RedSky, some great analysis there. This disbalance is on Jose, and I am really curious to see who he plays on the right of our attack consistently. I wish it was Alexis, Jose thought otherwise. Now we all know that we won't be buying any attackers in the summer and will focus on the midfield instead. My take on this is that Jose will not turn Martial, Rashford or Lingard into proper right-flank attackers and we will continue to struggle on that side.
  28. Feb 20, 2018
    #28

    Icemav Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    674
    Yes it does. I and almost everybody thought Sanchez would be played on the right or in Miki's position. Because we need a right winger! Our left side attack was functioning very well. Not really sure where Jose's head is at, or maybe he just wanted to stick it to Pep.

    If Jose wants to completely clog up our left side then yes we need Mahrez. I am so frustrated by all this because I truly believe we have he personnel up front to do damage for the remainder of the season. Instead we 'fix' the left side which isnt broke and let the right fall into further disrepair.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  29. Feb 20, 2018
    #29

    Icemav Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    674
    Good post. Jose has left me utterly puzzled. We needed CM and RW reinforcements urgently yet he buys Sanchez (who can play RW) and sticks him on the left. For a manager celebrated for his pragmatism he certainly is looking like a stubborn ideologue i.e. my 'system' will work irrespective of the evidence

    I really thought with his arrival we would move beyond the tactical drudgery of the last few years.
  30. Feb 20, 2018
    #30

    ValenciaRocks New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Messages:
    104
    So true, I can’t figure this out neither. Kinda reminds me of Arsenal being reluctant to buying Defenders/Defensive Midfielders.

    We are screaming out for someone who can actually cross a ball.
  31. Feb 20, 2018
    #31

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Messages:
    67,493
    Location:
    india
    Just play Sanchez on the right. Madness that we keep trying to change things up on the left and play someone merely functional on the right.
  32. Feb 20, 2018
    #32

    Thepinhead Full Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Messages:
    409
    Location:
    Denmark
    We weren't supposed to buy a left winger but Mourinho said that when certain players become available you just have to be in for them. Don't think we will buy a right winger this summer. Our focus will be on midfield, left and right back since we are probably going to get rid of Fellaini, Carrick, blind and Darmian.
  33. Feb 20, 2018
    #33

    Z1L3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    173
    Supports:
    Partizan Belgrade
    Why can't Rashford or Lingard or Martial play right wing? If they like to cut in from the left and shoot, why can't they make the same dribble and cross from the right? I've seen Martial put in some nice crosses from the left, so we know he has that skill.
  34. Feb 20, 2018
    #34

    roonster09 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Messages:
    11,846
    It's because we played Mata for most of the games and he never plays as RW, at best he just goes to the right wing and plays some passes to Valencia but most times he drifts to central position and plays there.

    We have unbalanced attack, as in we rely too much on left wingers. Only threat from right side is Valencia who doesn't play risky game anymore.
  35. Feb 20, 2018
    #35

    Lord Megadrive Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    5,059
    Location:
    Between the Motorola 68000 and yamaha Y2612
    Nice analysis @RedSky. It does highlight that we need a right sided forward (I’m one who doesn’t think mahrez is the answer though). But this may highlight why we do have problems against the top 6 (and not just because of Jose’s tactics) as it’s entirely plausible that the other top 6 teams will have an even more in depth analysis of us. If we attack from the left with as much frequency then that makes us predictable and easier to defend against.

    Also I’m pretty sure that all analysis there just confirms that @Grylte is a wolf
  36. Feb 20, 2018
    #36

    meamth Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Messages:
    1,230
    It's even funnier when I use Man Utd in Fifa 18, generally the attack goes through the left as well..
  37. Feb 20, 2018
    #37

    ti vu Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Messages:
    7,959
    The analog stick clearly easily press inward (cutting inside from left) than doing from the right. No wonder Ronaldo is favored as face for FIFA than Messi now :wenger:
  38. Feb 20, 2018
    #38

    The Man Himself asked for a tagline change and all I got was this.

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    20,969
    @RedSky , our very own PhaseOfPlay :drool:

    On serious note, good analysis :)
  39. Feb 20, 2018
    #39

    Grylte "nothing wrong with some friendly incest, bro"

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Messages:
    7,186
    Location:
    Cashmeouside Howboudah
    Agree about Mahrez. Wish we had kept Di Maria, would be amazing from the right under Mourinho.
    I'm never wolf, Princess ;)
  40. Feb 20, 2018
    #40

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt Scouse Lover

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2014
    Messages:
    29,132
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Vast majority of Barcelona attacks used to come from the left when Neymar was there.
    I don't think you can judge our attack by merely looking at numbers.