Formation change next season (4-3-3)

Iron Tulip

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I actually watched this interview, good to know Ole is on the same train of thoughts as a lot of us fans. He's played the double pivot solely as he's not been able to trust our side defensively. I hope with the reinforcements (and possible a new cdm entirely) we can play more to our strengths.
 

Polar

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Our offensive play has mainly been concentrated around our left side, and our right side has been suffering from the lack of proper RW and AWB’s offensive limitations.

Sancho will off course make things better on the right, but he need proper backing or a good partnership on the right; a “combination player” who can play on Sancho’s strengths. AWB and McT isn’t enough to get the most out of Sancho. That’s why I think it’s an good idea to move Bruno to the RM position. He also has the required defensive work rate and aggression.

Camavinga is also a good RM-candidate.

I also think VDB can grow in a 4-3-3 formation and be a very descent RM-backup and McT can be backup for both RM and DCM.

I expect us to sign a new midfielder and I’m very uncertain regarding Pogba (if he stays or leave).

Alternative 1:
Camavinga (RM) - Fred (DCM) - Bruno (LM)

Alternative 2 (worst case scenario:
McT (RM) - Fred (DCM) - Bruno (LM),
…and that isn’t to bad either:drool:
 

thundercats

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I keep dreaming of Grealish, we all saw his natural connection with Shaw… If sancho shows the sa’e on the right ( big if for me) then utd should be unstoppable regardless of defence.
 

Borys

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It boggles my mind how can people think we can play 3 man midfield with Fred as DM plus Pogba and Bruno.
Firstly, Fred is NOT a DM, not only he is weak physically, but also has no passing range. Moreover, his best attribute (defensively) is to chase players like a maddog, which is exactly the thing you DON'T do as a defensive midfielder. It literally makes no sense to play him in that role. No, he CAN'T do the job there. We will get waltzed through by any team, Varane or no Varane. I remember only one game when we played Fred in that role (vs Arsenal) and it didn't work at all. He saw a lot of the ball because they let him have it, what is he going to do with it anyway?

Secondly, Bruno is one of the worst players defensively in our squad. He can run a lot but he's no help in midfield, my grandma could dribble past him.

The ONLY player who would benefit from that formation is the one we're selling soon.

Even if we can get a DM (I don't think we will get one and I think Pogba is gone but let's leave it), a team of:
DM
Bruno Pogba
Is not better than

DM
Fred
Bruno
And you can still play the same number of forwards in both cases. We need to consider we already have 3 attackers who don't do much work off the ball, meaning we need conservative midfield to balance it out. We also allow our fullbacks to join the attack and hold width, so we really are top heavy team.
For sure we can improve on McTominay and Fred, but buying someone like Grealish to play him in midfield would be a disaster.

The thing we could do is switch to 4-3-3 with DM, and play Bruno as part of front 3, and I'd be interested to see that:
DM
CM - - - - Fred
Bruno
Cavani/Greenwood - - Rashford/Sancho
Diamond or Bruno as false 9, whatever we name it, let's just not pretend he is a midfielder. I like him up top though.
I don't know who plays the CM role though. Maybe van de Beek if we can find a player in him.
 

Castia

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We need a decent DM for this to work. In all honesty I’m a bit cautious, our main strength in the last 18 month has been Bruno Fernandes I’m not sure a 4-3-3 really suits him but let’s see.
 

Commentary

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Back to 4-3-3 will be nice, but without a CDM I think it's only a matter of time before.....

He reverts back to Fred and McTominay, blah!
 

Lentwood

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I don't necessarily buy into a double-pivot being a negative formation, there are loads of examples of very attacking sides successfully utilising a double-pivot.

I seriously believe that last season our attackers were to blame. Rashford had a poor season and Martial was even worse. Greenwood didn't get going until after Christmas and Cavani was patchy until the last half of the season.

It would also be interesting to see how we would have done without all of the goals we conceded from set-pieces. Too often, we would be going along nicely in a game, dominating the ball and managing the game before conceding a goal at a nothing set-piece. Hopefully that new set piece coach we have taken on can make a difference in that respect
 

Highfather_24

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I keep dreaming of Grealish, we all saw his natural connection with Shaw… If sancho shows the sa’e on the right ( big if for me) then utd should be unstoppable regardless of defence.
Kinda getting the feeling that if Sancho disappoints in his first few performances, people will start scapegoating AWB.
 

Polar

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4-3-3 with a more compact three on midfield is very similar to 4-5-1, but the latter on off course symbolise a more defensive approach.

That’s why I think modern 4-3-3 actually makes us more solid in the centre of the pitch both defensively and offensively compared to last season.
 

jesperjaap

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I am certainly all for the 4-3-3, but it still isnt ideal unless we are purchasing a new central midfielder:

1) Does Fred or McTominay work as a single pivot? Just because there is this change
2) WHy should we assume Pogba suddenly works then? COuld argue it means he is less likely to give the ball away in a really dangerous area when he has his sloppu moments, could argue it helps him with his driving runs...but at the same time, we have seen his best passing comes from deep...he loses some of that
3) WOuld Fernandes be as effective playing deeper?

Personally, I only think number 3 actually works to a degree. There are several fringe players I do think benefit from the 4-3-3. I think DVB would certainly be more effective, but that isnt reason alone for me to change the system. I do think from the little I have seen og Mjebri it may give him more opportunities as well....and too early but the single pivot could well suit Garner.

It would b eimperative to me we sign a quality defensive midfielder though in this window, as without that addition, though with Varane our defence would be a lot stronger as would our attack with Sancho......the midfield as it stands short term, jsut doesnt work for me with that change either
 

Bertie 2 Hats

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4 - 1 - 2 - 3 Line-up :

...............Henderson..................
AWB - Varane - Maguire - Shaw
................New CDM....................
.............Bruno - Pogba...............
...Sancho - Cavani - Rashford...

If only we could get our hands on a world class player such as Kimmich... Kante... Casemiro... :drool:. However being realistic who could we possibly get to fill that position ? maybe Wilfred Ndidi ? or could any of our existing players be trusted to do the job ?
 

Polar

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Would love to see Casemiro in the DCM role. Better and cheaper player than Rice, but not an investment :D

Suppose we have to pay £40-50m for Casemiro and probably lose 20-30m on him (ex salary).
 

He'sRaldo

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It boggles my mind how can people think we can play 3 man midfield with Fred as DM plus Pogba and Bruno.
Firstly, Fred is NOT a DM, not only he is weak physically, but also has no passing range. Moreover, his best attribute (defensively) is to chase players like a maddog, which is exactly the thing you DON'T do as a defensive midfielder. It literally makes no sense to play him in that role. No, he CAN'T do the job there. We will get waltzed through by any team, Varane or no Varane. I remember only one game when we played Fred in that role (vs Arsenal) and it didn't work at all. He saw a lot of the ball because they let him have it, what is he going to do with it anyway?

Secondly, Bruno is one of the worst players defensively in our squad. He can run a lot but he's no help in midfield, my grandma could dribble past him.

The ONLY player who would benefit from that formation is the one we're selling soon.

Even if we can get a DM (I don't think we will get one and I think Pogba is gone but let's leave it), a team of:
DM
Bruno Pogba
Is not better than

DM
Fred
Bruno
And you can still play the same number of forwards in both cases. We need to consider we already have 3 attackers who don't do much work off the ball, meaning we need conservative midfield to balance it out. We also allow our fullbacks to join the attack and hold width, so we really are top heavy team.
For sure we can improve on McTominay and Fred, but buying someone like Grealish to play him in midfield would be a disaster.

The thing we could do is switch to 4-3-3 with DM, and play Bruno as part of front 3, and I'd be interested to see that:
DM
CM - - - - Fred
Bruno
Cavani/Greenwood - - Rashford/Sancho
Diamond or Bruno as false 9, whatever we name it, let's just not pretend he is a midfielder. I like him up top though.
I don't know who plays the CM role though. Maybe van de Beek if we can find a player in him.
Good assessment. Moving away from personnel for a bit, people underestimate how much our shape hampers us defensively.

Like you said we are very top heavy, but the problem is less about the personnel and more the fact that we actually play 4 attackers. Usually in a 4-2-3-1 the wide players are wingers, supporting players, aka they track back and the shape becomes a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 in defence. Our wide attackers on the other hand are wide forwards who are poor defensively, so at times we literally defend in a 4-2-3-1 shape leaving the 2 DM's by themselves, which is pretty mad and the main reason we look porous without the tenacious McFred combo.

On the flip side the wide attackers' behaviour is the main reason our counter attacks are potent, so the solution to me isn't to tell them to defend more. The solution is to make sure our DM's aren't constantly outnumbered 4 vs 2, by pulling back the AM to a CM position, which is the 4-3-3 in a nutshell.

To me it's a no-brainer because it fits the profile of our squad. Our wide forwards don't have to be wingers and hug the touchline/track back as much, and they can stay up for counters. Our midfielders will have more support and less need to do things that they are not good at. And our fluid striker profile will have the space to work with and link up with the 2 wide forwards, instead of having to hold the line and make space for an AM. Not to mention generally speaking it's easier to make triangles, diamonds, and play possession football with a 4-3-3 than with a 4-2-3-1.

The 2 things I disagree with are (i) a DM is imperative regardless, because we'll always look porous without one, and (ii) Bruno is a perfect attacking CM, even though he's been operating further and further up the pitch for us. He can play false 9 the same way Pogba can play left wing or Rashford striker, but in general his best position is an attacking CM.
 
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Polar

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Good assessment. Moving away from personnel for a bit, people underestimate how much our shape hampers us defensively.

Like you said we are very top heavy, but the problem is less about the personnel and more the fact that we actually play 4 attackers. Usually in a 4-2-3-1 the wide players are wingers, supporting players, aka they track back and the shape becomes a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 in defence. Our wide attackers on the other hand are wide forwards who are poor defensively, so at times we literally defend in a 4-2-3-1 shape leaving the 2 DM's by themselves, which is pretty mad and the main reason we look porous without the tenacious McFred combo.

On the flip side the wide attackers' behaviour is the main reason our counter attacks are potent, so the solution to me isn't to tell them to defend more. The solution is to make sure our DM's aren't constantly outnumbered 4 vs 2, by pulling back the AM to a CM position, which is the 4-3-3 in a nutshell.

To me it's a no-brainer because it fits the profile of our squad. Our wide forwards don't have to be wingers and hug the touchline/track back as much, and they can stay up for counters. Our midfielders will have more support and less need to do things that they are not good at. And our fluid striker profile will have the space to work with and link up with the 2 wide forwards, instead of having to hold the line and make space for an AM. Not to mention generally speaking it's easier to make triangles, diamonds, and play possession football with a 4-3-3 than with a 4-2-3-1.

The 2 things I disagree with are (i) a DM is imperative regardless, because we'll always look porous without one, and (ii) Bruno is a perfect attacking CM, even though he's been operating further and further up the pitch for us. He can play false 9 the same way Pogba can play left wing or Rashford striker, but in general his best position is an attacking CM.
Spot on. We have many alternatives in a 4-3-3 formation, but most importantly a 4-3-3 system probably:
  1. Make us more solid in the centre of the pitch both defensively and offensively.
  2. Activate more offensive play on our right side (in the absence of an offensive RB)
 

andersj

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I am certainly all for the 4-3-3, but it still isnt ideal unless we are purchasing a new central midfielder:

1) Does Fred or McTominay work as a single pivot? Just because there is this change
2) WHy should we assume Pogba suddenly works then? COuld argue it means he is less likely to give the ball away in a really dangerous area when he has his sloppu moments, could argue it helps him with his driving runs...but at the same time, we have seen his best passing comes from deep...he loses some of that
3) WOuld Fernandes be as effective playing deeper?
I think 343 would suit us better than 433. At least until we get a DM.

Lindelof, Varane, Maguire; Trippier, Pogba, Fred, Shaw, Sancho, Bruno, Rashford

We could remove Lindelof, trying to use Matic, McTominay or even Fred as a single pivot, but is it realistic? I dont think so!

A more attacking midfield does not have to be a 433. Everone knows, we are not playing a 433 with Bruno and Pogba infront of Fred/McT against Liverpool or City. It will not happen.
 

jesperjaap

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I think 343 would suit us better than 433. At least until we get a DM.

Lindelof, Varane, Maguire; Trippier, Pogba, Fred, Shaw, Sancho, Bruno, Rashford

We could remove Lindelof, trying to use Matic, McTominay or even Fred as a single pivot, but is it realistic? I dont think so!

A more attacking midfield does not have to be a 433. Everone knows, we are not playing a 433 with Bruno and Pogba infront of Fred/McT against Liverpool or City. It will not happen.
Yes I can see how that works balance wise. 3-4-3 seems so againt us traditionally and style wise for me though. Saying that, I am old school, I always loved 4-4-2 :)
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Just wait until first league game of the season and see what the plan is. Leeds will be a suitable opponent.
 

Polar

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I like 4-3-3 because it’s very easy to change between a offensive and defensive setup (4-5-1). That makes our game plan very flexible or easy to adjust (also during the game), especially with wings like Rashford, Sancho and James.
 

andersj

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3-4-3 seems so againt us traditionally and style wise for me though.
As a standard formation I agree. But even Ferguson played with a back three at times (more like five at that time).

That being said, I think it would be quite «us» in terms of getting creativity from the wide area of the pitch (Shaw/Trippier). Modern wingers play quite differently from ten-twenty years ago. It has made us more narrow too. We used to have so much creativity from the wide areas of the pitch, but have had little the last few years.

Trippier completes close to three passes/crosses into the penalty area per 90 min every season. Shaw approx 2,1. That is more than most attacking players. At Man Utd Bruno is at about 3,0 and Rashford and Pogba close to 2,0.
 

Polar

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Ole has always been a fan of very offensive backs. 4-3-3 with a compact midfield creates room for backs in the offensive play. I don’t like 4-4-2 system with very offensive backs. I “believe“ it makes the team vulnerable for breakdowns and counterplay.
 
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thundercats

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It possibly explains our alleged interest in Rice I guess.
if we got good scouts we should pick a cheaper option, it can be done.
 

ChaddyP

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Pre season is only for match fitness in my opinion. So there is a chance that manager won’t reveal the plan during pre season.
Ive heard multiple times from ole that pre season is where he can do more tactical work as with tye last couple seasons there was no time to do anything midweek
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Ive heard multiple times from ole that pre season is where he can do more tactical work as with tye last couple seasons there was no time to do anything midweek
Training is for tactical work. Pre season is about match fitness.
 

ChaddyP

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Training is for tactical work. Pre season is about match fitness.
Don't they train during preseason? Im confused. If he's looking to try something different like formation change why not try it in pre season... While also building fitness. Its not like it has to be one or the other
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Don't they train during preseason? Im confused. If he's looking to try something different like formation change why not try it in pre season... While also building fitness. Its not like it has to be one or the other
Because there is a chance that manager won’t reveal the plan during pre season. During training, you can still have a match 11 v 11.
 

Polar

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It possibly explains our alleged interest in Rice I guess.
if we got good scouts we should pick a cheaper option, it can be done.
Was it a response to me? I don’t mind buying Rice for a descent sum (£50m), but I’m not his biggest fan. I think it’s better cheaper players out there, but Rice wouldn’t be wrong.
 

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We obviously won’t be seeing the same United lineup that will be playing in Week 1 fixtures, we will still get an idea of the formation and structure of the team. If reports are to believed, and he’s considering a 4-3-3 next season, we will see that formation used and developed during the preseason matches at some point.
 

thundercats

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@Polar no it was just my contribution to the thread :-P

there should be so much cheaper options out there, guys that come in and immediately impact the team. We just fail to identify them because utd is rich, we basically buy our way out because we can. Money makes lazy.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Ole has done this before though. When Ole changed to a 4-2-3-1 it was during preseason
I think people need to understand that field Pogba and Bruno in midfield three is different to others. Even if we play 433 but the ones who play tomorrow are Pereira and Garner then it is different. The question is not about whether 433 can work but how to fit Bruno and Pogba together in 433 and still maintain balance.
 

UnitedRepublic

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4-3-3 would suit us but the problem is that we’re lacking a destroyer/cleaner in midfield to let both Pogba and Bruno do what they do best.
 

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If Pogba wants to leave, then better we get Brozovic from Inter (25M) + Saul or Aouar,
With those 2 signings we can play any formation we want ..4-3-3 or 4-4-2

Shaw/Maguire/Varane/Tripper in Defence

Brozovic/Aouar/Bruno in the midfield

Rashford/Cavani/Sancho as front-3
 

Polar

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Ive heard multiple times from ole that pre season is where he can do more tactical work as with tye last couple seasons there was no time to do anything midweek
Can’t say Ole has been spoiled with perfect pre seasons since he took over:wenger:
 

tjb

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Personally I think the concept of how a 433 would look has already been used by us, but having the defensive shape of a 4231 actually hurt it. I think we used it during project restart, with Matic coming deep to help build up play, and Bruno dropping deeper to support Pogba. That was by far the most successful period under Ole. The only problem we had with it was Matic not having the legs to play every game. In addition, he dropped a level at the start of 20/21. He's the feature that made that tactic work so well. Our build up from defence to midfield is by far our biggest challenge, Matic dropping in deep fixed it during that period. Neither Fred or Mctominay have the off ball awareness, positioning or patience to imitate what Matic was doing. Even more than replacing Lindelof (who's true problem is not being able to handle duels), this is the most important area for United to fix. We have the backup in Matic, we just need the starter.
 

CG1010

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Personally I think the concept of how a 433 would look has already been used by us, but having the defensive shape of a 4231 actually hurt it. I think we used it during project restart, with Matic coming deep to help build up play, and Bruno dropping deeper to support Pogba. That was by far the most successful period under Ole. The only problem we had with it was Matic not having the legs to play every game. In addition, he dropped a level at the start of 20/21. He's the feature that made that tactic work so well. Our build up from defence to midfield is by far our biggest challenge, Matic dropping in deep fixed it during that period. Neither Fred or Mctominay have the off ball awareness, positioning or patience to imitate what Matic was doing. Even more than replacing Lindelof (who's true problem is not being able to handle duels), this is the most important area for United to fix. We have the backup in Matic, we just need the starter.
My thoughts exactly. Playing Pogba and Bruno together in midfield means losing control of the midfield area in general because neither are very good at winning the ball back or dealing with high press in the middle by playing simple passes to establish control. We will need to have a world class midfielder, not just a tackler who can progress the ball forwards towards these two. Else I can see that the 4-3-3 experiment getting abandoned within one half of football play where we are struggling for possession, playing basically as counter attacking football, and then having to bring Mctominay/Fred to establish control.
 

The United

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To me, 4 3 3 attacking style will need hard working players who will press high up on front foot to be effective.

Last season both of our inside forwards were pretty shit at pressing/tackling and Pogba being Pogba sometimes would expose us at the back pretty badly unless we sit back which wouldn't make sense much with this formation.

The attitude and workrates from those players need to be up a level or two for this. If work, would exciting.