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2020-21 Performances


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stevoc

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And Solskjær has won it!
I can assure you I have never looked for or read any stats on Fred (before reading the @MadDogg post above) and rate him highly based entirely on watching games. To be honest, I find it a bit insane that anyone can watch the same games and dismiss him the way I’m seeing in many posts in this thread.

He has been inconsistent this season but he puts in a ridiculous amount of running in every game he plays so the crazy fixture congestion this season (and our reliance on him to be at our best) means that was almost inevitable. Also doesn’t help that it seems to be in his nature to have an occasional massive brain fart (e.g. Leicester) which sours the mood around him for weeks afterwards. Still beggars belief that anyone can watch a performance like the one against Brighton then come in here and slag him off. Nowt so blind...
I'd believe it mate, I'm just saying what I think a lot of people on each side of the Fred debate seem to think.

The fixture congestion and Pogba being out haven't helped him at all this season.
 

He'sRaldo

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The best football we've played with Ole both times had a DM that was not in the mould of Fred.

Fred's decent but he doesn't offer us the control we need on the ball, so eventually he'll have to be replaced as the main defensive mid if we are to improve and compete for top honours.
 

Phil Osophy

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First touch? Terrible is perhaps a little overboard but I'll give you that one as it certainly is a weakness. Shooting? Yeah. Keeping possession? He really isn't.

This myth (and that's what it is) that he does nothing but pass square balls to the side really needs to die. Against Brighton he passed the ball towards the opposition goal 432 yards (29% of his total passing distance), significantly more than anybody else on the pitch except for Lindelof. To compare him to the other midfielders - Pogba did 214 yards (22% of his total), Bissouma 106 (16%) and Lallana 132 (21%). In other words he passed it forward almost as much as the other three central midfielders combined. Now 432 yards is significantly more than what he normally does, but when I did the midfield stats a couple of months ago he averaged a higher amount of forward passing than the likes of McTominay, Kante, Fabinho, Ndidi, Rice, Soucek, Allan, Moutinho, Ndombele and even the likes of Tielemans and Pogba (only slightly for the later two, but quite significantly ahead of the rest). He also had the second highest pass completion rate (once again to Lindelof) in this game despite making the most amount of passes on the pitch for the longest distance made.

The stats are available to show not only what his completion rates are but also what he does with it, and they show that he consistently passes it forward about as much as should be expected. Ahead of some players like the names above (including pretty much all the players he's most compared to), behind some others. Yet he's the one that people seem to pretend only passes sideways.
I like to check stats and I found this interesting, but I feel there's something strange here. Fred and Lindelof being the most progressive passers, when Maguire is the one leading the play from the back and Pogba is the most creative player in the back 6 (by a mile) is surprising for a start.

Combined with Fred and Lindelof being also the most accurate passers at the same time, which tends to be related with safety. But according to this they were not only playing more risky vertical balls on average but they were also the most accurate players, which makes them look on paper like some amazing incissive passers which I don't think they are.

I mean, Fred's pass completion in the league is 87.3 %, almost the same as Scott (87.7 %) and only worse than Bailly (87.9 %), Lindelof (90.5 %) and Matic (90.9 %).

In contrast Pogba's got 83 %, Tielemans 82.1 %, De Bruyne 81.7 % which is normal when you play incissive passes with more risk involved. They're obviously different profiles, but it requires extraordinary quality for someone to play more vertical balls than anyone and at the same time keeping the best completion rate like Fred supposedly does, and this where I think there's a missing piece around there.

Someone who never watched United and sees Fred above all those midfielders you mention in the list (including Pogba) could think that Paul is dispensable, and Fred could play his role even better by attempting more forward passes, with better pass completion % added to the intensity of his game. And this why I'd take these stats carefully as it could be misleading, and include some basic stuff with no real value on the field.

I agree that criticism goes over the top at times, and he's not "that" negative. But after watching him like 100 times already I'm certain that he isn't good enough either at breaking the opposition lines nor driving the team forward, at least if we want to aim for the big prizes. Then I can't see the man as an anchor either playing alone in front of defence, and he's a nullity attacking wise. And this is why I see where the criticism is coming from as he's a decent but limited, very specific player.

Even then I don't mind him playing regularly next to a deep playmaker and sorrounded by creative players, bitting arses around and eating miles. Even the most beautiful and classy teams have an ogre at times. The problem I see with Fred is being paired with Scott on a weekly basis, or Rice to name another one as we would be missing the creative spark so much. I think we're already missing quality at managing the ball and variety of passing from midfield. If Pogba leaves this summer and isn't properly replaced we're in the mud.
 

stevoc

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It's a regular comment that people make - that Fred only makes easy and sideways passes and never makes forward creative passes. Obviously (I hope) they don't mean 'only', but I'm sure what they do mean is that he makes easy, sideways passes far more than most others in his position. Why else would they make that claim? And stats say that that really isn't the case, and is either people underrating how much Fred does or overrating how much most others do. Either way it's obviously a harsh criticism since he's actually above average.
Why would they be thinking in terms of comparisons to other midfielders? Has anyone actually said he passes sideways more than other midfielders?

If someone says Fred mostly passes sideways, well that's true isn't it? It's actually true of most central midfielders to be fair given the nature of the position. I haven't looked at his stats recently, but Fred might actually make more sideways passes than most midfielders (in terms of the number of passes). But he probably makes more passes overall per game than most midfielders so his sideways passes might make up a lower percentage of his overall passes compared to most others. If that makes sense.

I don't think anybody bases their opinion on him on stats. We all base our opinion on him from watching games. It's when different people seem to see significantly different things and have disagreements that people then go look at the stats to see how they stack up. And in Fred's particular case the stats generally tend to say that some people are incredibly harsh with some of their criticisms.
I doubt many if any do mate but it does seem like some people think there are opinions in here based solely on stats. Just as there are some who seem to think loads of other people in here are biased against him.

No doubt a lot of the criticism is harsh but a lot of the praise he receives is over the top at times as well. But I guess such is the nature of a public football forum and especially these performance threads. For what it's worth I don't remember him receiving too much criticism after the last match to be honest.
 

Ali Dia

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The problem is Fred isn't a DM. His positional play and lack of strength make it impossible for that trio to work in midfield. Fred didn't start after project restart for a reason, when Matic is deemed fit, he was relegated to the bench...ironically this period was by far the best we played under Ole. Why? We were able to control games due to having midfielders that had the on ball ability to passive and recieve the ball with good first touches who didn't get flustered at the slightest pressure and had the the positional intelligence on the ball to recieve passes from the defence and off the ball to prevent counter attacking opportunities. Unfortunately, pogbas poor injury record and Matic getting older and losing his legs meant that the ideal partnership we had in midfield fell apart at the start of the season and we have not been able to replicate that since despite being second.
Playing in a two man midfield means the midfielder has to have a lot about his game and can't afford to be too limited, especially at united who play with wide forwards rather than wingers. Fred isn't a bad player, but he can't be permanently tasked with thag responsibility. If we stick with a 4231, he needs to be replaced with someone more rounded ( maybe even two players).However if we move to a 433 and push Bruno deeper, Fred can function as a ballwinner( rotating with mctominay and vdb), whilst we sign a DM that can help build up and stop counters.
I don’t remember us controlling lots of games. I remember penalties, Bruno magic and 2 of our forwards (Greenwood and martial) looking quite fresh and up for it and people saying Rashford was playing injured... The midfield play was eerily similar to when Pogba and Bruno play together these days. All a bit disjointed and defensively suspect but we still got the job done in the end. I remember Pogba giving away penalties and the ball on the edge of our area a lot and Matic’s legs being totally gone but he set up a goal against Brighton and everyone seemed to forget that he’s been finished for 2 years. Fair enough. I can’t remember the last good defensive performance Matic has put in. It’s always a total panic when we rely on him because he lets teams play all over us, it’s usually the same deal with Pogba too. Unfortunately they are passengers without the ball and add Bruno who likes to press but how often does he win the ball back? We can’t have 2 midfielders who won’t or can’t tackle or press. If we give up the middle we have much less chance of stamping our authority on the game and making better chances.

There was very little great play between Pogba Bruno and Matic. Not enough to get us over the line in the EL with a far more valuable and well paid team than any other in the competition. there’s a reason they were broken up this season, because it didn’t work beyond being a stop gap after an unprecedented mid season rest. That’s why Pogba was put out onto the wing and that’s why Matic was fully dropped. Ole doesn’t seem to want to drop Fred again in a hurry and we are doing slightly better this season than last overall.

As I said, if Pogba leaves we will probably sign a dm and it’ll be DM- Fred- Bruno and it’ll be balanced. If he stays Pogba is still actually the odd one out currently. He’s not really a box to box and I don’t think he has the guile or desire to be getting up and down the pitch for 90 minutes. We can’t start two #10s no matter who the new DM is. I would argue with better balance (instead of cramming star names into a team) will bring around better team performances, patterns of play and all that jazz....
 
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tjb

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I don’t remember us controlling lots of games. I remember penalties, Bruno magic and 2 of our forwards (Greenwood and martial) looking quite fresh and up for it and people saying Rashford was playing injured... The midfield play was eerily similar to when Pogba and Bruno play together these days. All a bit disjointed and defensively suspect but we still got the job done in the end. I remember Pogba giving away penalties and the ball on the edge of our area a lot and Matic’s legs being totally gone but he set up a goal against Brighton and everyone seemed to forget that he’s been finished for 2 years. Fair enough. I can’t remember the last good defensive performance Matic has put in. It’s always a total panic when we rely on him because he lets teams play all over us, it’s usually the same deal with Pogba too. Unfortunately they are passengers without the ball and add Bruno who likes to press but how often does he win the ball back? We can’t have 2 midfielders who won’t or can’t tackle or press. If we give up the middle we have much less chance of stamping our authority on the game and making better chances.

There was very little great play between Pogba Bruno and Matic. Not enough to get us over the line in the EL with a far more valuable and well paid team than any other in the competition. there’s a reason they were broken up this season, because it didn’t work beyond being a stop gap after an unprecedented mid season rest. That’s why Pogba was put out onto the wing and that’s why Matic was fully dropped. Ole doesn’t seem to want to drop Fred again in a hurry and we are doing slightly better this season than last overall.

As I said, if Pogba leaves we will probably sign a dm and it’ll be DM- Fred- Bruno and it’ll be balanced. If he stays Pogba is still actually the odd one out currently. He’s not really a box to box and I don’t think he has the guile or desire to be getting up and down the pitch for 90 minutes. We can’t start two #10s no matter who the new DM is. I would argue with better balance (instead of cramming star names into a team) will bring around better team performances, patterns of play and all that jazz....
Even in the event that happens, we still would need Bruno to fall back into midfield. Our forwards simply aren't wingers and therefore don't drop deep enough to help us create chances or build up.
Matic being able to properly collect the ball during project restart and drop back in defence when needed is the reason we were rampant during project restart. It helped the build up, which allowed our attackers to attack rather than simply freshness. Our biggest issue this season has been getting the ball to our attackers at all. They've been feeding off scraps all season, aside from Bruno's individual moments of magic. Right now, Fred and Mctominay are terrible at helping the defence build up play, Fred, due to his terrible first touch and lack of awareness and Mctominay due to his lack of positioning, its why Maguire is forced to effectively be a playmaker from deep at times ( which is a terrible way to attack). In the modern game, teams don't really win midfield scraps as much, but even in that regard, neither Fred or Mctominay actually win these duels; they press, but they lack the proper balance, anticipation and tackling technique to actually reposses the ball and more importantly move it up the pitch. Its the reason we struggle in possession in big games, not Ole being pragmatic, just simply a pure lack of technical quality and awareness in our midfield ( that's due to having Fred and Mctominay in a two).

You are right about Pogba, it gets exposed in big games, especially as Pogba is slow at moving the ball rather than just his lack of defensive prowess. I really believe if you changed both midfield positions in our team, you would see us dominate most games. Yet for some reason, our attack , whose counter attacks were bailing us out and our defence, which has actually been decent over the past two years ( outside of the start of the season) have been blamed. Somehow we can hold teams constantly and score goals on the counter, yet rather than lambasting our midfield for constantly losing the midfield battle in midfield due being unable to provide an outlet for the high press like most top team midfields can do, ours get praised for pressing hard and " protecting the back 4", which I really don't feel they do as effectively as is usually presented. I don't dislike Fred, I think both he and Mctominay belong here, but starting xi wise us not having better in those positions is the reason we aren't dominant, not our attackers or defenders.
 

Falcow

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without inciting other posters... feck it, let’s incite him :lol:

Please read what I wrote, and I in no way compared him to those players.

I said, you can’t determine that a missing player would have made a difference in those games, unless they were of the calibre of player I mentioned.

For clarity, that applies to most of our squad. @ivaldo - perhaps you should note this before jumping in so quickly.

Even the most staunch supporter of him wouldn’t group him in that way. Would they?

Fred and OGS were both to blame for the defeat at PSG. Both made extremely poor, and frankly inexperienced choices. Yes the ref was at fault (but we have no control over the ref) but Fred should have 100% have been sent off earlier, it’s seemingly forgotten that he headbutted a player in the match...

Anyway. We disagree about Fred, and for absolute clarity I didn’t compare him to anyone.
Fair enough we will agree to disagree. I think he is far from our worst performer but hey ho.

Hats off on all the posts in here today, you must have even more time on your hands than me :)
 

lex talionis

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Half the posters in here are totally dismissive acting like Fred is the first on the chopping block if we sign a new midfielder but in all likelihood it’s Pogba who’s going to move on (Matic next) and Fred is almost certainly safe for next season. If Pogba stays I don’t think we sign any midfielder. Fred Pogba Bruno will be our preferred lineup but Pogba and Bruno really need to sort out their interplay and dynamic. It’s like 2 separate attacking midfielders playing in each other’s way a lot of the time. If Pogba goes it’ll be rice or someone, Fred, Bruno and I think that’ll be a better and more balanced midfield.
Fred is definitely safe from the chopping block this summer.
 
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Fair enough we will agree to disagree. I think he is far from our worst performer but hey ho.

Hats off on all the posts in here today, you must have even more time on your hands than me :)
today was my day off. Worked over Easter weekend, so just chilling. It’s not as if I can go to the cinema or do anything interesting!
 

acnumber9

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We have already been through this one pal earlier in the thread. Thanks for the input anyway.
Right, so why could he not have been shit against Leipzig then? Haven’t seen you explain that one.
 

Ali Dia

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Even in the event that happens, we still would need Bruno to fall back into midfield. Our forwards simply aren't wingers and therefore don't drop deep enough to help us create chances or build up.
Matic being able to properly collect the ball during project restart and drop back in defence when needed is the reason we were rampant during project restart. It helped the build up, which allowed our attackers to attack rather than simply freshness. Our biggest issue this season has been getting the ball to our attackers at all. They've been feeding off scraps all season, aside from Bruno's individual moments of magic. Right now, Fred and Mctominay are terrible at helping the defence build up play, Fred, due to his terrible first touch and lack of awareness and Mctominay due to his lack of positioning, its why Maguire is forced to effectively be a playmaker from deep at times ( which is a terrible way to attack). In the modern game, teams don't really win midfield scraps as much, but even in that regard, neither Fred or Mctominay actually win these duels; they press, but they lack the proper balance, anticipation and tackling technique to actually reposses the ball and more importantly move it up the pitch. Its the reason we struggle in possession in big games, not Ole being pragmatic, just simply a pure lack of technical quality and awareness in our midfield ( that's due to having Fred and Mctominay in a two).

You are right about Pogba, it gets exposed in big games, especially as Pogba is slow at moving the ball rather than just his lack of defensive prowess. I really believe if you changed both midfield positions in our team, you would see us dominate most games. Yet for some reason, our attack , whose counter attacks were bailing us out and our defence, which has actually been decent over the past two years ( outside of the start of the season) have been blamed. Somehow we can hold teams constantly and score goals on the counter, yet rather than lambasting our midfield for constantly losing the midfield battle in midfield due being unable to provide an outlet for the high press like most top team midfields can do, ours get praised for pressing hard and " protecting the back 4", which I really don't feel they do as effectively as is usually presented. I don't dislike Fred, I think both he and Mctominay belong here, but starting xi wise us not having better in those positions is the reason we aren't dominant, not our attackers or defenders.
Good post but I think we are going to have to agree to disagree about a few things. I can’t remember a big game this season where Fred lost the midfield battle without a major scrap apart from our last game in the FA cup. I’m the first to admit his recent form has been patchy. He was poor against city but his hustling broke up a lot of their play and he got us going on the counter higher up the pitch which was our whole game plan from what I could gather. He was positive in all the CL games he played in and in the EL away to sociadad and Milan. Pogba did exactly what a box to box should do against Liverpool in the cup. He was sprinting around tackling and moving the ball on quickly. He has it in him but you never know when he’ll switch off and you don’t really want him playmaking near our box. Also things start going well you start to think maybe.... and then the agent starts up again :yawn:

I’d like to add here about that stupid quote from Deeney from a few years ago about pressing Fred that people keep bringing up. I can guarantee that Pogba and Matic have given up as many if not more goals from a similar position than Fred has (and Pogba is supposed to be borderline world class and cost twice as much) It’s just one of those things that happens from time to time when you insist on always playing out from the back even if the receiver isn’t in the best spot. I would rather that player wasn’t Fred either.

We’ve both noticed maguire bombing forward down the left especially since the WBA away game. I honestly think that’s because of Rashfords lack of aggression and movement as much as anything else. Wouldn’t you feel like a bit of a shit when there’s a central defender, not even a full back, coming forward running rings around you while you stand there just waiting for something to fall perfectly to you? It’s not a good look. I honestly don’t think there’s much more any midfield or defence can do for our forwards in their current configuration. They are all a bit too similar and inclined to leave to the other guys or try and do it all themselves.

I know everyone has opinions as to why things are the way they are but I think we are second and Fred is our most important midfielder this season (not counting Bruno as a CM) Maybe upgrading on Fred will help us bridge the gap but my money would be going on replacing Matic and getting someone to regularly create in the forwards. The forwards need rotation, fresh ideas and competition badly. We shouldn’t have to run an injured academy product into the ground at the biggest club in the world. It’s a crazy situation that he’s all we have and he’s most likely been injured since last year... but that’s another tangent to be going off on :)
 
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tjb

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Good post but I think we are going to have to agree to disagree about a few things. I can’t remember a big game this season where Fred lost the midfield battle without a major scrap apart from our last game in the FA cup. I’m the first to admit his recent form has been patchy. He was poor against city but his hustling broke up a lot of their play and he got us going on the counter higher up the pitch which was our whole game plan from what I could gather. He was positive in all the CL games he played in and in the EL away to sociadad and Milan. Pogba did exactly what a box to box should do against Liverpool in the cup. He was sprinting around tackling and moving the ball on quickly. He has it in him but you never know when he’ll switch off and you don’t really want him playmaking near our box. Also things start going well you start to think maybe.... and then the agent starts up again :yawn:

I’d like to add here about that stupid quote from Deeney from a few years ago about pressing Fred that people keep bringing up. I can guarantee that Pogba and Matic have given up as many if not more goals from a similar position than Fred has (and Pogba is supposed to be borderline world class and cost twice as much) It’s just one of those things that happens from time to time when you insist on always playing out from the back even if the receiver isn’t in the best spot. I would rather that player wasn’t Fred either.

We’ve both noticed maguire bombing forward down the left especially since the WBA away game. I honestly think that’s because of Rashfords lack of aggression and movement as much as anything else. Wouldn’t you feel like a bit of a shit when there’s a central defender, not even a full back, coming forward running rings around you while you stand there just waiting for something to fall perfectly to you? It’s not a good look. I honestly don’t think there’s much more any midfield or defence can do for our forwards in their current configuration. They are all a bit too similar and inclined to leave to the other guys or try and do it all themselves.

I know everyone has opinions as to why things are the way they are but I think we are second and Fred is our most important midfielder this season (not counting Bruno as a CM) Maybe upgrading on Fred will help us bridge the gap but my money would be going on replacing Matic and getting someone to regularly create in the forwards. The forwards need rotation, fresh ideas and competition badly. We shouldn’t have to run an injured academy product into the ground at the biggest club in the world. It’s a crazy situation that he’s all we have and he’s most likely been injured since last year... but that’s another tangent to be going off on :)
Tbh you may be right, especially on Rashford. It is true, Fred has clearly been our 2nd best midfielder, after Bruno and maybe his flaws could be mitigated by signing a more mobile matic replacement. To be completely honest, I also don't like how much we play out from the back. I think we expose ourselves too much to an element of the game that highlights our weaknesses. There is also the option of signing Grealish to bring creativity and build up to the attack from the flanks. It would allow Fred and his midfield partner have less responsibility. More of a mourinho/rafa Benitez midfield, where the midfielders are focused simply on build up and defensive protection.
 

Falcow

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Right, so why could he not have been shit against Leipzig then? Haven’t seen you explain that one.
It's possible of course that he could have been shit and maybe it was just a coincidence we lost against Leipzig and Istanbul when he was missing. However given that he was exceptional away against PSG and at home against Leipzig I'd say it's unlikely we would have lost both/conceded 5 in both those games had he played. Similar to the way we conceded 11 in 3 of the other games he missed this season (CP, Spurs and SU) all at home. Our loss rate when he doesnt play is rather high this season, maybe that's also just a coincidence.

Our problem is that we have scored a total of 2 goals in recent games against CP, SU, Westbrom, Chelsea and Arsenal. TWO feckING GOALS against that shower of shite....That's 11 points dropped. Thats why we are in second and not first and that's what we need to sort out as a priority. So if we are looking at players to replace in the squad, start elsewhere cos Fred ain't the problem.
 

acnumber9

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It's possible of course that he could have been shit and maybe it was just a coincidence we lost against Leipzig and Istanbul when he was missing. However given that he was exceptional away against PSG and at home against Leipzig I'd say it's unlikely we would have lost both/conceded 5 in both those games had he played. Similar to the way we conceded 11 in 3 of the other games he missed this season (CP, Spurs and SU) all at home. Our loss rate when he doesnt play is rather high this season, maybe that's also just a coincidence.

Our problem is that we have scored a total of 2 goals in recent games against CP, SU, Westbrom, Chelsea and Arsenal. TWO feckING GOALS against that shower of shite....That's 11 points dropped. Thats why we are in second and not first and that's what we need to sort out as a priority. So if we are looking at players to replace in the squad, start elsewhere cos Fred ain't the problem.
Exceptional is your opinion, not fact. He was on the pitch for a couple of the goals we conceded against Spurs. It’s also part of his job as a midfielder to help us score goals so we can’t just excuse his part in our failure to SCORE feckING GOALS.
 

Falcow

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Exceptional is your opinion, not fact. He was on the pitch for a couple of the goals we conceded against Spurs. It’s also part of his job as a midfielder to help us score goals so we can’t just excuse his part in our failure to SCORE feckING GOALS.
Well we could have taken Fred off in those games and thrown on a stiker but we probably would have ended up losing
 

Ali Dia

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Tbh you may be right, especially on Rashford. It is true, Fred has clearly been our 2nd best midfielder, after Bruno and maybe his flaws could be mitigated by signing a more mobile matic replacement. To be completely honest, I also don't like how much we play out from the back. I think we expose ourselves too much to an element of the game that highlights our weaknesses. There is also the option of signing Grealish to bring creativity and build up to the attack from the flanks. It would allow Fred and his midfield partner have less responsibility. More of a mourinho/rafa Benitez midfield, where the midfielders are focused simply on build up and defensive protection.
Grealish or Sancho would be a really noticeable upgrade on what we are seeing on the wings these days but to be honest we’ve no clue what our owners will sign off on let alone who we will actually get or what our new transfer team are cooking up. I think the right DM behind Pogba and Bruno might still work, I have my doubts but it’s definitely another option we should play around with. Im up for Pogba staying if he’s happy to battle for us, you can never have too much quality in this league.

I wish we’d kept lukaku and not played him as a target man.I’ve been fairly consistent about that since he left. He makes better runs and is harder to stop than anyone we’ve had since. Bruno would find him easier than our guys are making it. We need more aggressive runners and gambling on quick percentage balls into the box rather than always recycling if it’s not to the man. Everything is just too overproduced and laboured at the moment. I really like Cavani but an 80 million player in his prime to a cool but old free transfer is treading water. Will we also fail to replace Pogba if he goes?

If the money is there we are genuinely only 2 or 3 improving players away from being relevant again. The youth is looking great. The fighting spirit is there and I think we’ve already got the foundations of a good team. It’s up to the recruitment guys and the owners now. I think for the first time in a while the owners are actually seeing some kind of return on investment from the players so hopefully that reassures them enough to invest more... who knows though! Nice chatting with you :)
 

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What we're missing is a controlling midfielder. Next Scholes, we had Keane, next to Pirlo, Juve had Vidal, next to next to Jorginho, Chelsea have Kante.
That's something I've mentioned a few times. We have Fred who is not only playing as our Kante, he's also having to be our controlling midfielder when he plays next to McTominay or Matic. Most of the criticism he gets is because he's not doing that part of the job well, when in reality it's stupid that we're expecting him to do it. That's the job his partner should mostly be doing. If Chelsea were expecting Kante to be their main midfield controller/playmaker we would all be laughing at them.

The problem is Fred isn't a DM. His positional play and lack of strength make it impossible for that trio to work in midfield. Fred didn't start after project restart for a reason, when Matic is deemed fit, he was relegated to the bench...ironically this period was by far the best we played under Ole. Why? We were able to control games due to having midfielders that had the on ball ability to passive and recieve the ball with good first touches who didn't get flustered at the slightest pressure and had the the positional intelligence on the ball to recieve passes from the defence and off the ball to prevent counter attacking opportunities.
Our really good performances during that period really only lasted a couple of games and they were against struggling teams (Sheffield United who were in freefall after the restart and a couple of relegation battlers). As the matches wore on we were performing worse and worse but managing to grind out results (much as we have been this season), and in fact our best midfield performance in the last 5-6 weeks of the season was against Sevilla when Fred played instead of Matic. In saying that I probably do agree that Fred shouldn't be the 'sitting' type of DM and I'm not sure how consistent we'd be if we were consistently playing Fred-Pogba, but that combo has probably worked well more than it has struggled.
 

Raven

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That's something I've mentioned a few times. We have Fred who is not only playing as our Kante, he's also having to be our controlling midfielder when he plays next to McTominay or Matic. Most of the criticism he gets is because he's not doing that part of the job well, when in reality it's stupid that we're expecting him to do it. That's the job his partner should mostly be doing. If Chelsea were expecting Kante to be their main midfield controller/playmaker we would all be laughing at them.


Our really good performances during that period really only lasted a couple of games and they were against struggling teams (Sheffield United who were in freefall after the restart and a couple of relegation battlers). As the matches wore on we were performing worse and worse but managing to grind out results (much as we have been this season), and in fact our best midfield performance in the last 5-6 weeks of the season was against Sevilla when Fred played instead of Matic. In saying that I probably do agree that Fred shouldn't be the 'sitting' type of DM and I'm not sure how consistent we'd be if we were consistently playing Fred-Pogba, but that combo has probably worked well more than it has struggled.
It's a similar issue to the one with Pogba, he's a creative advanced midfielder but he's expected to also be a good defensive midfielder which is something he's not. Like many others, I think Pogba and Fred is our best combo at present but I still don't think the balance is quite right without a 3rd man in the midfield with them, if we're sticking to 4231 though I think we need a more controlling midfielder next to Fred.
 

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I like to check stats and I found this interesting, but I feel there's something strange here. Fred and Lindelof being the most progressive passers, when Maguire is the one leading the play from the back and Pogba is the most creative player in the back 6 (by a mile) is surprising for a start.

Combined with Fred and Lindelof being also the most accurate passers at the same time, which tends to be related with safety. But according to this they were not only playing more risky vertical balls on average but they were also the most accurate players, which makes them look on paper like some amazing incissive passers which I don't think they are.

I mean, Fred's pass completion in the league is 87.3 %, almost the same as Scott (87.7 %) and only worse than Bailly (87.9 %), Lindelof (90.5 %) and Matic (90.9 %).

In contrast Pogba's got 83 %, Tielemans 82.1 %, De Bruyne 81.7 % which is normal when you play incissive passes with more risk involved. They're obviously different profiles, but it requires extraordinary quality for someone to play more vertical balls than anyone and at the same time keeping the best completion rate like Fred supposedly does, and this where I think there's a missing piece around there.

Someone who never watched United and sees Fred above all those midfielders you mention in the list (including Pogba) could think that Paul is dispensable, and Fred could play his role even better by attempting more forward passes, with better pass completion % added to the intensity of his game. And this why I'd take these stats carefully as it could be misleading, and include some basic stuff with no real value on the field.

I agree that criticism goes over the top at times, and he's not "that" negative. But after watching him like 100 times already I'm certain that he isn't good enough either at breaking the opposition lines nor driving the team forward, at least if we want to aim for the big prizes. Then I can't see the man as an anchor either playing alone in front of defence, and he's a nullity attacking wise. And this is why I see where the criticism is coming from as he's a decent but limited, very specific player.

Even then I don't mind him playing regularly next to a deep playmaker and sorrounded by creative players, bitting arses around and eating miles. Even the most beautiful and classy teams have an ogre at times. The problem I see with Fred is being paired with Scott on a weekly basis, or Rice to name another one as we would be missing the creative spark so much. I think we're already missing quality at managing the ball and variety of passing from midfield. If Pogba leaves this summer and isn't properly replaced we're in the mud.
Stats aren't perfect and it is important to look for the context. With Pogba and Fred's comparison here, I would presume it's because Pogba tends to move into more advanced positions more often. The higher you are the harder it'll be to pass further forward, and likewise the deeper you are when you get the ball the easier it'll be (on average) to pass forward. It's why Matic is actually our highest progressive passer from our midfielders and second highest of all the midfielders I checked; he spends a huge amount of time basically sitting in the defence so it's easy for him to rack up forward passes. It's why I wouldn't put too much emphasis on how Fred compares to the likes of Pogba and Tielemans as those guys do obviously play a more offensive role. Perhaps I shouldn't have even mentioned those two because of that, but I thought it was interesting. It's the comparison to the players playing a similar role to him that is much more important - McTominay for us and the likes of Kante for others. It's a more fair comparison for both players and Fred tends to come out on top, which you wouldn't expect based on some of the criticism he gets.

I do agree with your last paragraph. Fred's perfect partner would be somebody who can play as the main controller of the team while still being defensively solid enough to provide decent cover. Obviously Scott and Matic don't provide the former, and Pogba tends to struggle with the latter, and it's why none of our midfield combinations are particularly great.
 

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Why would they be thinking in terms of comparisons to other midfielders? Has anyone actually said he passes sideways more than other midfielders?

If someone says Fred mostly passes sideways, well that's true isn't it? It's actually true of most central midfielders to be fair given the nature of the position. I haven't looked at his stats recently, but Fred might actually make more sideways passes than most midfielders (in terms of the number of passes). But he probably makes more passes overall per game than most midfielders so his sideways passes might make up a lower percentage of his overall passes compared to most others. If that makes sense.
Why would somebody even criticise him and say that he mostly only passes sideways (a fairly common criticism that people make on this forum) if they didn't think that he did it much more than he should? If they thought that he was doing it as much, or more, than most similar players then they obviously wouldn't be criticising him for it. It simply wouldn't make sense to mention it.

As for your second paragraph, I don't think that would make sense. Averaging it out over an entire season I wouldn't think making more passes (which he does for many but there are also quite a few that make more) makes it more likely that more of them are forward percentage-wise. If anything I would think it would do the opposite, but looking into it I don't think it makes a difference. Some players with lots of passes have a high percentage of progressive passes, some have low. And some players with a low number of passes have a high percentage and some have low.

No doubt a lot of the criticism is harsh but a lot of the praise he receives is over the top at times as well.
This is the issue for me. I think the amount of over-the-top criticism is far far far more than the over-the-top praise he gets. His 'critics' regularly talk about him being absolutely terrible, one of the worst passers they've ever seen, wouldn't get into the starting line-up of any of the other top 12 teams and barely the teams below that, etc. Meanwhile his 'fans' generally say that he's probably the most important midfielder we have at the moment (at a time we have a weak midfield), could play his part in a top midfield with the right partner but could also be improved on, has an inconsistent touch and makes more bad passes than we'd like but is better at it than a lot of midfielders he's compared with, etc. Obviously there's the occasional over-the-top comment as well, but overall the unfair criticism far outweighs the praise. It's the only reason I'm as vocal in his defence as I tend to be - if I felt the criticism was 'fair' I'd probably barely post.

It reminds me a bit of Smalling. His critics would talk about him being absolute shit while even his biggest fans were simply saying he was the best defender we had at the time but could ultimately be improved on. His critics would then turn around and claim the fans thought he was Maldini.
 
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Adisa

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The rate at which he cedes possession is a disgrace for a non-creative midfielder.
 

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Why would somebody even criticise him and say that he mostly only passes sideways (a fairly common criticism that people make on this forum) if they didn't think that he did it much more than he should? If they thought that he was doing it as much, or more, than most similar players then they obviously wouldn't be criticising him for it. It simply wouldn't make sense to mention it.
I think you've lost me here mate, you may be over thinking it, maybe I'm under thinking it. Some people may just think Fred makes too many sideways passes and thats it. That doesn't necessarily mean they think he makes more easy sideways passes in comparison to others.

I think we also have to bear in mind there probably isn't much thought put into a lot of the praise/criticisms of players posted on this forum after matches. Either through excitement or frustration people will often go overboard with ill thought out opinions good or bad in these performance threads.

As for your second paragraph, I don't think that would make sense. Averaging it out over an entire season I wouldn't think making more passes (which he does for many but there are also quite a few that make more) makes it more likely that more of them are forward percentage-wise. If anything I would think it would do the opposite, but looking into it I don't think it makes a difference. Some players with lots of passes have a high percentage of progressive passes, some have low. And some players with a low number of passes have a high percentage and some have low.
Maybe, maybe not mate. All i'm saying is Fred makes a lot of passes every game, more than most midfielders in the PL I'd imagine. We know that he does make a lot of sideways passes, most of his passes actually which as i said is normal for a central midfielder. But all those sideways passes obviously seem to stick in people's minds. Which would probably explain why his sideways passing is often brought up in reply to his pass completion stats being posted.
 

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I think you've lost me here mate, you may be over thinking it, maybe I'm under thinking it. Some people may just think Fred makes too many sideways passes and thats it. That doesn't necessarily mean they think he makes more easy sideways passes in comparison to others.
I think you're under-thinking it. :p

It's not just in response to stats that they make the claim, it's quite a regular criticism that people make that he never passes forward and only passes sideways or backwards. Which simply doesn't make sense unless they think he's doing it at a rate that is significantly different than others.

Just to let you know since you may not have seen it, I also edited in another paragraph at the bottom of the post you quoted which explains my thinking of the matter.
 

stevoc

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I think you're under-thinking it. :p

It's not just in response to stats that they make the claim, it's quite a regular criticism that people make that he never passes forward and only passes sideways or backwards. Which simply doesn't make sense unless they think he's doing it at a rate that is significantly different than others.

Just to let you know since you may not have seen it, I also edited in another paragraph at the bottom of the post you quoted which explains my thinking of the matter.
Wouldn't be the first time mate :lol:

Smalling is a good comparison I liked Smalling (and i do like Fred) both are very awkward on the ball at times and some people hate to watch that and no doubt it generates negativity towards their performances.

I don't think Fred is nearly as bad a footballer as some in here think (though i don't think he's a great passer), but I also don't rate him as highly as some do either. He's a divisive player most seem to love him or hate him, he's not the biggest issue in the team though. Sure a DM with a greater range of passing would be welcome but Right wing, up front and centre back are much bigger priorities this summer I think. I'd be happy enough with Fred next to Pogba next year if we address those other positions.
 

Bwuk

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Not on the bench? He’s comfortably as good as Hargreaves ever was and brings a lot of the qualities Fergie loved in Park. I would also argue there’s not much between him and Fletcher in terms of what they bring to the team.
Half the posters in here are totally dismissive acting like Fred is the first on the chopping block if we sign a new midfielder but in all likelihood it’s Pogba who’s going to move on (Matic next) and Fred is almost certainly safe for next season. If Pogba stays I don’t think we sign any midfielder. Fred Pogba Bruno will be our preferred lineup but Pogba and Bruno really need to sort out their interplay and dynamic. It’s like 2 separate attacking midfielders playing in each other’s way a lot of the time. If Pogba goes it’ll be rice or someone, Fred, Bruno and I think that’ll be a better and more balanced midfield.
Fred/Rice/Bruno would put a lot of pressure onto Bruno to create and would make us a lot easier to nullify.
 

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Not on the bench? He’s comfortably as good as Hargreaves ever was and brings a lot of the qualities Fergie loved in Park. I would also argue there’s not much between him and Fletcher in terms of what they bring to the team.
You got to be joking Pogue. Primer Hargreaves in that 2007/2008 was levels above Fred, and Fletch at his best was easily better. You are doing them a disservice by comparing them to such a limited player like Fred.
 

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Fred/Rice/Bruno would put a lot of pressure onto Bruno to create and would make us a lot easier to nullify.
I don’t think so. I think the Pogba/Bruno midfield makes us very clunky passing it around in front of the defence and it leaves us open on the counter. The high up turnovers also suit our current counter attacking strengths. The reason we are so easy to nullify is because our wingers are static and narrow and nobody is gambling on the percentage ball into the middle or in behind. Mark the man with us and that’s the space as good as closed down. I think Fred Pogba Bruno is still good enough to beat most teams but it’s not as balanced as perhaps it could be.
 
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MikeeMike

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Sorry. So you're a troll. Agreed?
Not really sure what a troll is. Im too old perhaps. It was a genuine question about the passing stats only and not any attempt otherwise. Not on this forum to trade insults but only discuss.
 

Vaibhav Raj

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It all boils down to the preferences in terms of football that you want to see the team playing. It is all about what kind of team develops into one the is dominant for a while in their own country and in Europe. If people want to see this Manchester United continue to be a counter attacking team, team that works hard to win the possesion back a bit high in midfield and then bamboozle the opposition with its attacking player's pace and swift passing, then, by all mean, Fred is a player you can pin your hopes on. You can hope he continues to be as effective as he is in winning the ball and hassling the opponent and tries to improve upon his passing. I feel like a team built like this generally will wow you when they manage to trump more quality opposition with counter attacking football but will also frustrate you when things don't go their way in big games and also against lowly opposition that do not give you as much space when you win the ball back.

If you want to see a Manchester United that controls games, even against better opposition, builds from the back, looks intelligent on the ball and dominates opponents, a team that instead on relying on winning the ball back and quickly transitioning relies on gradually outplaying the opposition with quality passing and good, fast build up then Fred, with his current abilities, is certainly not some someone who you build such a squad with. Fred and a few other players need to become more consistent and efficient on the ball to be part of such a team.

Both styles can prove effective, I suppose. But I just feel the former is a less consistent approach to football. There are so many games when Manchester United players look like school kids trying to pass a ball around.

Edit: Just wanted to clarify that I don't think Fred is first of our problems. He does well most games defensively and does well in handful games offensively. If there was some way Fred could improve his passing and intelligence on the ball then he would be a very good player to have.
 
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MikeeMike

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It all boils down to the preferences in terms of football that you want to see the team playing. It is all about what kind of team develops into one the is dominant for a while in their own country and in Europe. If people want to see this Manchester United continue to be a counter attacking team, team that works hard to win the possesion back a bit high in midfield and then bamboozle the opposition with its attacking player's pace and swift passing, then, by all mean, Fred is a player you can pin your hopes on. You can hope he continues to be as effective as he is in winning the ball and hassling the opponent and tries to improve upon his passing. I feel like a team built like this generally will wow you when they manage to trump more quality opposition with counter attacking football but will also frustrate you when things don't go their way in big games and also against lowly opposition that do not give you as much space when you win the ball back.

If you want to see a Manchester United that controls games, even against better opposition, builds from the back, looks intelligent on the ball and dominates opponents, a team that instead on relying on winning the ball back and quickly transitioning relies on gradually outplaying the opposition with quality passing and good, fast build up then Fred, with his current abilities, is certainly not some someone who you build such a squad with. Fred and a few other players need to become more consistent and efficient on the ball to be part of such a team.

Both styles can prove effective, I suppose. But I just feel the former is a less consistent approach to football. There are so many games when Manchester United players look like school kids trying to pass a ball around.

Edit: Just wanted to clarify that I don't think Fred is first of our problems. He does well most games defensively and does well in handful games offensively. If there was some way Fred could improve his passing and intelligence on the ball then he would be a very good player to have.
“ If there was some way Fred could improve his passing and intelligence on the ball then he would be a very good player to have.”

Totally agree but also with awareness of players around him due to always ball watching. I genuinely think he can improve with his talents but frustrated he doesn’t.
 

VP89

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Not on the bench? He’s comfortably as good as Hargreaves ever was and brings a lot of the qualities Fergie loved in Park. I would also argue there’s not much between him and Fletcher in terms of what they bring to the team.
Surprised at this evaluation, I don't think he's remotely close to a prime Hargreaves, or Fletcher.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Surprised at this evaluation, I don't think he's remotely close to a prime Hargreaves, or Fletcher.
Prime Hargreaves, the central midfielder, was basically a fictional character. When he wasn’t injured (which was most of his United career) he was looking decidedly average and getting a load of stick for his habit of turning in a little circle every time he got the ball. He only redeemed himself with an impressive stint at right back. Especially in our CL winning run, when he was excellent.

Basically if Fred retired tomorrow he would already have racked up more impressive performances for us in central midfield than Hargreaves ever did.

Peak Fletcher was better than Fred. But not by much. The biggest difference was his consistency. Although you can put some of Fred’s ups and downs this season to our crazy schedule and how hard he works in every game.
 
Tottenham 1:3 Man Utd

Ekeke

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Very happy with his goal. Really good play in the buildup and got his reward for gambling and joining his striker in the box. Much improved second half like most of the team
 

ivaldo

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That second half is as good as you'll see any ball winner play this season.
 

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So happy for him that he got the goal his performance deserved. Hopefully this kicks him on to chip in more often
 

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I thought he was good throughout but that second half was brilliant. Lovely goal as well, showing off his quick passing skills.
 
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