3-4-1-2

talking robot

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Watching France tonight against Spain, I couldn't help but wonder if a 3-4-1-2 formation, similar to what France play, might not suite us given our dearth of options in central midfield? Apart from the French players we possess, there are a lot of analogies from the French team to ours (Griezmann--> Fernandes; Benzema --> Ronaldo; Mbappe --> Greenwood). Though there are different options, I figure it could look something like this:

----------------------------------------De Gea---------------------------------------
-----Wan Bissaka/Lindelof---------Varane-----------Maguire----------------

Dalot/VDB--------McTominay---------------Pogba-----------------Shaw------------
-------------------------------------Fernandes---------------------------------
-------------------Greenwood-------------------Ronaldo-------------------------

The only position where we don't have an obvious solution is on the right (as I don't believe WB offers enough going forward as a RWB, but otherwise that looks solid to me. What say you?
 

Spaghetti

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Not the worst formation. But with the right wing options we have, it’s basically a back 5. Therefore, we are effectively swapping a number 10 for a centre back.
 

NoLogo

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It seems like the trend is going towards formations like the 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 that Chelsea is playing. The main problem I see though is the right WB options we have. Dalot doesn't seem ready, AWB isn't really that good going forward, and VDB would have to adapt to a position he hasn't really played yet.
 

YeahYeah

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We have 3 fit center back options and 6 wingers. Any narrow formation is a waste of resources.
Except we also now have Ronaldo and we are supposed to build around him and it just might be that at this point playing with 2 strikers is the only thing that suits him.
I bring this point often but his best partner at Juventus was Mandzukic. We do need to figure Ronaldo out. That takes precedence over any of our wingers.

All in all I do see us playing a formation with 2 strikers down the line, I think purely cuz Ronaldo.
 

Leftback99

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Might have made sense before we spent £73m+ on Sancho.

We have no right wing back options and would be leaving 4 quality attacking options (from Ronaldo, Cavani, Rashford, Greenwood, Martial and Sancho) on the bench every game to play Lindelof instead, after buying Varane to replace him.

We've made a 3 forwards plus Bruno bed and we're going to have to lie in it.
 

FatTails

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We can alternate between 3-4-3 and 3-4-1-2 to give both Sancho and Bruno some game time, as well as Cavani and one of Greenwood/Rashford.

The problem is that we are very reliant on Bruno for chance creation and he’s therefore undroppable, hence it’s 3-4-1-2. Greenwood, Rashford, and Cavani will have to compete for one position next to Ronaldo, and Sancho doesnt naturally fit.

We really don’t seem to plan our transfers at United, do we?
 

CloneMC16

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We just bought Sancho and Rashford plays for us. This formation will probably make us look better defensively, but we're benching some very good players to make it happen. Maybe it would be worthwhile, but I honestly can't see it happening. We bought Sancho for £74m and he's going to play.
 

Hansi Fick

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Looking at the way you try to fill the formation in the opening post it's rather clear you don't have the players for it.

- You don't have a left footed CB.
- You don't have a good right wing back (Dalot in my humble opinion is not good enough to be a starter).
- That midfield would struggle horribly to get any type of control
- And then there isn't even a position for one of your best and most creative attackers, Sancho

But most of all - who the hell watches Deschamps' France and thinks "I wish my team would play like that"? :houllier:
 

Dve

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It seems like the trend is going towards formations like the 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 that Chelsea is playing. The main problem I see though is the right WB options we have. Dalot doesn't seem ready, AWB isn't really that good going forward, and VDB would have to adapt to a position he hasn't really played yet.
Mostly a trend by lesser teams, isn´t it - and Chelsea. Which other top teams play like that? I think it´s a bit premature to conclude that Chelsea´s way of playing is the answer. Let´s see where they are come May.
 

NoLogo

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We can alternate between 3-4-3 and 3-4-1-2 to give both Sancho and Bruno some game time, as well as Cavani and one of Greenwood/Rashford.

The problem is that we are very reliant on Bruno for chance creation and he’s therefore undroppable, hence it’s 3-4-1-2. Greenwood, Rashford, and Cavani will have to compete for one position next to Ronaldo, and Sancho doesnt naturally fit.

We really don’t seem to plan our transfers at United, do we?
I think Sancho has played in a 3-4-2-1 not too different from what Tuchel is playing at Chelsea in one of the two AM slots, basically that would be a way to play Bruno and Sancho behind a single striker, CR probably.

Concerning the planning, I think we planned for a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 but not a 3 at the back formation.
 

Jezpeza

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Its just a formation that is becoming popular much like the 4231 did.

For my money i’d like to see something like a 4141 with a top sitting and passing cdm bought. AWB could be told to forget going forward and shift across into a back 3 to give us great cover against the breakaway as we go forward. Shaw could still do his thing, we could get Pogba and Bruno in the same team and still play 2 of rashford, sancho and Greenwood.

Just my opinion though I am no tactician. Think the biggest problem is we dont really have a formation to system match up that gets our best players on the pitch and works well. Its horrid to see Mcfred start every game
 

NoLogo

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Mostly a trend by lesser teams, isn´t it - and Chelsea. Which other top teams play like that? I think it´s a bit premature to conclude that Chelsea´s way of playing is the answer. Let´s see where they are come May.
I think it's a trend that will grow over the next couple, mainly because of two reasons. In the current game, the half spaces between CBs and FBs is the most vulnerable space to attack, so putting 3 CBs on the field lets you cover this space more easily. The second is that for a couple of decades now, the formations have shifted more and more players towards midfield. The 4-2-3-1 and the 4-1-4-1 which are usually played by the bigger teams right now already fields 5 midfielders, the 3-4-2-1 now takes that midfield battle to 6 midfielders, which should give the formation a numerical advantage in midfield. Of course there are weaknesses to this formation if you double up on the wings, but with 3 CBs the formation should be fairly safe against crosses from wide areas.

Not saying it will 100% be certain that most teams will change to this formation in the near future, but I believe we will see the popularity of this or similar formations grow, even among top teams.
 

Daengophile

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Until we get some order brought to the chaos in the rear half of the pitch, I fear any changes up front will not blossom
 

andersj

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Watching France tonight against Spain, I couldn't help but wonder if a 3-4-1-2 formation, similar to what France play, might not suite us given our dearth of options in central midfield? Apart from the French players we possess, there are a lot of analogies from the French team to ours (Griezmann--> Fernandes; Benzema --> Ronaldo; Mbappe --> Greenwood). Though there are different options, I figure it could look something like this:

----------------------------------------De Gea---------------------------------------
-----Wan Bissaka/Lindelof---------Varane-----------Maguire----------------

Dalot/VDB--------McTominay---------------Pogba-----------------Shaw------------
-------------------------------------Fernandes---------------------------------
-------------------Greenwood-------------------Ronaldo-------------------------

The only position where we don't have an obvious solution is on the right (as I don't believe WB offers enough going forward as a RWB, but otherwise that looks solid to me. What say you?
Makes perfect sense. Could play Lingard as RM/LM. Shaw is also a decent LCB. Would also be good as 343 with Sancho in there (and maybe Bruno for Pogba).

Yes, we do have too many attackers, and that would give us some issues. But the balance of the team should come first.
 

shoegazing

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Am I missing something, has Donny played as a right sided wing back before? or is that a hypothetical position change?
 

Sandikan

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Playing 2 up front might be a good use of resource.
But not playing wingers is just as bad a use too.

Plus we don't have a right wing back of any sort. Unless we try and convert Sancho which would feel silly.
 

Lynty

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We don't have the players to do it.

We do have the players for an Ajax 95, which Ole hasn't shown the slightest indication he could adapt to the modern game, and you couldn't really trust Pogba to track back on his flank like Davids did.




Rashford -------------------- Ronaldo ---------------------- Sancho

------------------------------------- Bruno -------------------------------------

----------- Pogba ---------------------------------- vdB ---------------------

-------------------------------------- Matic ------------------------------------

--------- Maguire ------------- Varane -------------- Lindelof --------

-------------------------------------- De Gea -----------------------------------
 

Bwuk

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We don't have 3 top class CBs, let alone the depth at the back to do it. We don't have a RWB either.
 

Ayoba

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This is what we need to try

--------------------------------de gea------------------------------------
AWB----------------Varane----------------Maguire-----------Shaw
-------------Bruno-------------Matic------------DVB--------------
Greenwood--------------Ronaldo----------------Sancho-----


Bruno sits deeper but is still the most attacking of the CM's. Matic, well because despite his age and the fact his legs are gone is still our best (and only) true CDM. Donny can provide the legs.
 

devilish

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We don't have the players to do it.

We do have the players for an Ajax 95, which Ole hasn't shown the slightest indication he could adapt to the modern game, and you couldn't really trust Pogba to track back on his flank like Davids did.




Rashford -------------------- Ronaldo ---------------------- Sancho

------------------------------------- Bruno -------------------------------------

----------- Pogba ---------------------------------- vdB ---------------------

-------------------------------------- Matic ------------------------------------

--------- Maguire ------------- Varane -------------- Lindelof --------

-------------------------------------- De Gea -----------------------------------
this is the EPL. The flanks are used extensively. Also note that Rijkaard and Davids would probably eat our midfield for breakfast. Its like pitting Gregor Clegane against Tyrion Lannister
 

Lynty

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this is the EPL. The flanks are used extensively. Also note that Rijkaard and Davids would probably eat our midfield for breakfast. Its like pitting Gregor Clegane against Tyrion Lannister
Ye - it would need adapting to the modern game and Ole isn't the man to do it.

I'd take Tyrion Lannister in midfield over Fred though.
 

devilish

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Ye - it would need adapting to the modern game and Ole isn't the man to do it.

I'd take Tyrion Lannister in midfield over Fred though.
And he shouldn't reinvent the wheel either.

Our team is built for 4-3-3 football. That's the system Phelan told Steve Howson we're going to use, its the system Ole utilized when he was actually effective and its exactly the system our formation is more suited for. What we need is a manager whose got the courage to

A- Stop giving contracts to useless players (Grant, Mata)
B- Stop signing mates (Heaton) just for the sake of it
C- Stop giving game time to players who simply don't want to be here (Pogba and Jesse are goners)
D- Stop obsessing about safe bets. Those are usually expensive to buy.

In my opinion United should have got rid off Pogba and Jesse even at a cut price. That would have given them enough money for at least one decent holding midfielder (Tchouameni?). Then we should have gone with 4-3-3 with

------------------------Tchouameni/Matic--------------------
----------------McT/Fred-----------Bruno/VDB---------

Sancho/Greenwood----------------------Rashford/Martial

-----------------------------Cavani/Ronaldo-------------------

A holding Midfielder - a donkey/runner and a top quality attacking minded CM would have given us the right balance we needed.

Ole would then have an entire season to ask question such as

A- Do we need an upgrade on Tchouameni? If yes then most of the budget will be spent on Rice else we only need a cover/competition for Tchouameni
B- Is Fred/McT good enough? Is Garner ready to push the two out of the team?
C- Is VDB good enough? Is he happy as cover/competition for Bruno? Is it time to unleash Mejbri?
D- Is Diallo or Pellistri ready for the job? Is Martial doing well enough?
E- Is Greenwood ready to play as a lone striker? Do we need to buy a top striker such as Haaland?

Football is simple however a manager needs to be cynical.
 

roonster09

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We don't have wing backs who are very aggressive in the final third and that includes Shaw too. Wingbacks should be a goal threat and make the runs all the time, like Alonso. Shaw and AWB won't/can't do that.
 
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We don't have the players to do it.

We do have the players for an Ajax 95, which Ole hasn't shown the slightest indication he could adapt to the modern game, and you couldn't really trust Pogba to track back on his flank like Davids did.




Rashford -------------------- Ronaldo ---------------------- Sancho

------------------------------------- Bruno -------------------------------------

----------- Pogba ---------------------------------- vdB ---------------------

-------------------------------------- Matic ------------------------------------

--------- Maguire ------------- Varane -------------- Lindelof --------


-------------------------------------- De Gea -----------------------------------
This could actually work if:
a) we played Varane (left) and Lindeloff (right) as he wide center backs
b] We knew how to coach and play positional pressing like the dutch do.
 

Jericho

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Without proper midfielders I don't know that it really matters what formation we play.
 

stevoc

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We don't have the players to do it.

We do have the players for an Ajax 95, which Ole hasn't shown the slightest indication he could adapt to the modern game, and you couldn't really trust Pogba to track back on his flank like Davids did.




Rashford -------------------- Ronaldo ---------------------- Sancho

------------------------------------- Bruno -------------------------------------

----------- Pogba ---------------------------------- vdB ---------------------

-------------------------------------- Matic ------------------------------------

--------- Maguire ------------- Varane -------------- Lindelof --------

-------------------------------------- De Gea -----------------------------------
It's a formation that's never really been adapted by any manager for the modern game to be fair.
 

justsomebloke

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Watching France tonight against Spain, I couldn't help but wonder if a 3-4-1-2 formation, similar to what France play, might not suite us given our dearth of options in central midfield? Apart from the French players we possess, there are a lot of analogies from the French team to ours (Griezmann--> Fernandes; Benzema --> Ronaldo; Mbappe --> Greenwood). Though there are different options, I figure it could look something like this:

----------------------------------------De Gea---------------------------------------
-----Wan Bissaka/Lindelof---------Varane-----------Maguire----------------

Dalot/VDB--------McTominay---------------Pogba-----------------Shaw------------
-------------------------------------Fernandes---------------------------------
-------------------Greenwood-------------------Ronaldo-------------------------

The only position where we don't have an obvious solution is on the right (as I don't believe WB offers enough going forward as a RWB, but otherwise that looks solid to me. What say you?
I think that's really not a good fit with our personnel. We don't have a suitable right wing back, as you point out, but we also still have the same issues in central midfield, and end up having to play one one fewer forward (of whom we have more than we can give proper game time), in favor of playing one more central defender. In effect, you'd be playing Lindelof instead of Sancho or Rashford - is that good squad utilisation?

Anyway, 3412 is and remains a formation that tends gives you a lot in terms of control, but usually not in terms of producing a lot of offensive pressure. Very evident in Chelsea I think (although that's more properly 3421), who use it very effectively in combination with high pressing to dominate possession and almost never get caught seriously off balance, but it's not particularly dynamic offensively. I'm not sure we're looking for that exact balance.

Also, it's difficult to compare what works for national sides and what works for club sides, given how different the character of the game has become in those settings.
 

Lynty

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It's a formation that's never really been adapted by any manager for the modern game to be fair.
True

I think it's possible but does require some absurd talent, as seen with that Ajax team.
 

hmchan

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It's a formation that's never really been adapted by any manager for the modern game to be fair.
Because this formation cannot provide width to stretch the opposition, and this makes breaking down opposition more difficult. That's why France always give up possession and play on the counter, and of course Benzema and Mbappe are both comfortable of drifting wide.
 

JPRouve

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I think it's possible but does require some absurd talent, as seen with that Ajax team.
And the vast majority of that team comes from the same academy and have been raised with the same principles, Barcelona are the only club that could do the same thing in similar fashion. The alternative would be to have an extremely good scouting department and an extremly good coaching staff that is able to teach Football fundamentals quickly and efficiently which isn't that common, someone like Bielsa or prime Van Gaal. Most other managers couldn't do that they are not experienced youth coaches.
 

LawCharltonBest

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Watching France tonight against Spain, I couldn't help but wonder if a 3-4-1-2 formation, similar to what France play, might not suite us given our dearth of options in central midfield? Apart from the French players we possess, there are a lot of analogies from the French team to ours (Griezmann--> Fernandes; Benzema --> Ronaldo; Mbappe --> Greenwood). Though there are different options, I figure it could look something like this:

----------------------------------------De Gea---------------------------------------
-----Wan Bissaka/Lindelof---------Varane-----------Maguire----------------

Dalot/VDB--------McTominay---------------Pogba-----------------Shaw------------
-------------------------------------Fernandes---------------------------------
-------------------Greenwood-------------------Ronaldo-------------------------

The only position where we don't have an obvious solution is on the right (as I don't believe WB offers enough going forward as a RWB, but otherwise that looks solid to me. What say you?
I like it.

Gives Pogba more attacking freedom, Fernandes is in his best position. keeps Wan Bissaka at the back where he's best. Less for Dalot to do defensively. Lots of players around Ronaldo who can feed him. Big loser from that is Sancho I guess.
 

stevoc

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True

I think it's possible but does require some absurd talent, as seen with that Ajax team.
Yeah you said it the level of talent in that team was unreal.

Plus what 9 of them were Ajax academy players and many of those came through playing together. So they would have known each others habits and known how to cover for each other.

I loved that team and formation growing up but it was a very unique situation that it worked for Ajax. England had some success with a similar formation at euro 96 but other than that I can't remember anyone else using it. Even LVG just went with 433 at Barca and later in his club career.
 

Trequarista10

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I like it.

Gives Pogba more attacking freedom, Fernandes is in his best position. keeps Wan Bissaka at the back where he's best. Less for Dalot to do defensively. Lots of players around Ronaldo who can feed him. Big loser from that is Sancho I guess.
Sancho, Rashford, Cavani, Martial, Lingard, Diallo, Elanga

I would like us to go with a back 3, but its pointless until we moved on a couple forwards and signed a couple of attacking wing backs.
 

stevoc

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Because this formation cannot provide width to stretch the opposition, and this makes breaking down opposition more difficult. That's why France always give up possession and play on the counter, and of course Benzema and Mbappe are both comfortable of drifting wide.
For Ajax back then their width came from Overmars and Finidi George on the wings.
 

JPRouve

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For Ajax back then their width came from Overmars and Finidi George on the wings.
Also their system was peculiar because at the time Rijkaard was used to play as a CB and Reiziger/F. De Boer were initially fullbacks, so Ajax had the ability to completely change their structure when needed.