How do we balance this Man Utd-team?

andersj

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I’m surprised how little attention the lack of balance in the central area is getting and I’m even more surprised that we have not adressed this issue yet. In my opinion, this is the main ingredient of Tuchels success at Chelsea. Creating balance through a better structure/tactical setup.

When Ferguson used the 442 and 4231 he always found room for a bit of a false winger. A winger that would cover alot of space and even tuck inside if needed. Beckham did it, and so did Park, Fletcher, Hargreaves and even Valencia. Alot of fans never quite warmed to the less glamours players like Fletcher and Park, but Ferguson would sacrifice a bit of flair for defensive stability.

Looking at our rivals today, they play very attacking football. But first and foremost they have made sure they have a balance and structure to attack from. Liverpool played with three hardworking, defensive players in the middle of the park for a few years with great success (Fabinho, Henderson and Winjaldum). Three players to protect their creative players, allowing them to take risk. In sum, including their CBs, they had five players in the central area looking first and foremost to give them the right balance and provide Salah, Mane, Firmino, Trent and Robertson protection if they lose the ball. It is the same with Chelsea, but they play with two midfielders in front of three CBs. And it is actually not that different. They important thing is that they do not get outnumbered in the most crucial area of the pitch.

At Man Utd, with Bruno high up the pitch, and two wingers not good at pressing our tracking back, our midfielders have to cover the same space three Liverpool players do when we lose the ball. That is why we need the legs of McT and Fred in the central area of the pitch.

How do we fix it? I think there is two quick fixes that we should try:

A) More legs in the central area of the pitch,
B) Wide attackers betters at pressing and tracking back,

Get more bodies in the central area of the pitch
@Pogue Mahone made a good suggestion the other day playing with a midfield three of Fred, McT and Matic. I think we would look a lot more balanced if we did.

The flaw with that setup, in my opinion, is

A) Matic is not really a good DM (IMO). Neither is, but I would rather have McTs pace and ability to cover space in the deeper area of the pitch than Matic
B) Unlike Liverpool, we do not have Trent and Robertson at fullback to give us creativity going forward, and with a midfield of Matic, Fred and McT would struggle going forward

Hence, I would sacrifice Matic for Pogba. He would be our extra midfielder, a bit like Beckham was, but in a different setup. It would give us a midfield similar to Chelsea back in the day (Makelele, Essien and Lampard), with Pogba as our Lampard.

This has always been the best position for Pogba. At the left side of a midfield three. It was at Juve and during his best spell at Man Utd (during OGS interim period). It gives him freedom to break forward ang get into the box. But it also gives him protection if he lose the ball.

Furthermore, Pogba is actually a decent defender. Not if he has to be the defender in midfield, but as an attacker he is quite good. He can’t cover ground the way Fred do (neither should he), but only Bruno and Fred press more at Man Utd this season (according to statsbomb) and only Fred has made more recoveries. As a defender, I actually think he is better than Lampard was or even de Bruyn

For all his flaws, Pogba (after Ronaldo) probably is our most talented player. And at 28, potentially our best player right now. Using him in his best position should be a priority.

Another option is dropping either McT or Fred for an extra CB. A bit like Chelsea. Playing three at the back. Personally, I really like that option as we dont really have a natural DM. I also think Lingard could be a decent wingback.

Playing wide attackers who defend
With a fluid front three, I Bruno could be a very good option as a wide attacker tucking inside. Similar to Coutinho at Liverpool, but better off the ball. And the part ofthe ball is key! Bruno is great at pressing and tracking back. Greenwood, Rashford and Sancho is not.

I guess Fernandes, Rashford, Sancho and Greenwood is part of the reason why we dont play a 433. We want to play with three of these attackers at the same time in addition to a striker. But it is at the cost of the balance of the team.

And competition is a good thing. The message for these players should be clear, if you dont run or track back you dont play. If neither of them cando that, play Lingard instead.

In my opinion, it should be Bruno, Ronaldo + the player that prove he deserve to start.

In summary:
- Add more players in the central area of the pitch
- Apply Bruno as one of the three attackers, thereby sacrificing Greenwood, Sancho or Rashford for defensive stabilty/better balance

To play good attacking football you need stability and safety for your attackers. Right now, we dont have that.
 

Red_toad

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I’m surprised how little attention the lack of balance in the central area is getting and I’m even more surprised that we have not adressed this issue yet.
Little attention from the club or the fans? As Ole frequently mentions it and wanted a midfielder in the summer and the fans harp on about it constantly. So who’s not attentive to it?
 

abailey123

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4-1-2-1-2 with this current side is our best way to go. Yes it means sacrificing a forward for a midfielder but so be it.

when we’ve got a fully fit squad

De Gea

AWB Varane Maguire Shaw

Matic

Fred Pogba

Bruno

Ronaldo Rashford

with a bench of: Henderson, Telles, Lindelof, McTominay, Donny, Lingard, Greenwood, Sancho, Cavani

Options to change the game off the bench.
 

RUCK4444

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DM! An actual, proper, top level DM.

Instantly makes the players we now have in midfield decent options, without that DM they are a mix players that cannot play at the base of midfield together.
 

VanDeBank

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4-1-2-1-2 with this current side is our best way to go. Yes it means sacrificing a forward for a midfielder but so be it.

when we’ve got a fully fit squad

De Gea

AWB Varane Maguire Shaw

Matic

Fred Pogba

Bruno

Ronaldo Rashford

with a bench of: Henderson, Telles, Lindelof, McTominay, Donny, Lingard, Greenwood, Sancho, Cavani

Options to change the game off the bench.
Who's tracking back the oppo wingers?
 

Dr Pavel

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Very difficult to balance atm because AWB is terrible and can't be counted upon to attack the right wing by himself. So we play with wingers. But then what about Bruno? He plays best as a 10. With a lot of freedom. So it automatically leads to some kind of 4231 shape.
Can Bruno play as an 8 in a 433? Maybe, with the right coaching. Which we currently don't have either.
 

Ayoba

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Ive said it on numerous occasions that 4-3-3 is the way forward here. I would like to see a midfield of

Bruno - Matic - Fred.

Bruno would need to play deeper than he is used to but he can do that, as evidenced against atalanta 2nd half and he presses well. I also think his long range passing is good. Matic, despite his age, is our best and only true DM. All he needs to do is sit Infront of the defense, his passing range is decent too.

Upfront we can play whatever combination of rashford, Sancho, Ronaldo, Cavani, greenwood.

I feel this formation would give us more balance, possession and control in games. It's certainly better than the bloody 4-2-4 we always play
 

andersj

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Little attention from the club or the fans? As Ole frequently mentions it and wanted a midfielder in the summer and the fans harp on about it constantly. So who’s not attentive to it?
A proper DM would be great and it would improve us quite abit. But I really dont think that a DM alone would fix some of the issues we have and I dont think it is a good excuse at all.

At the end of the day we should try to make the best out of the option we have. Currently, we are not, in my opinion.
 

MvG

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Ronaldo——————Mason
——————Bruno
———Pogba——DvB/McT
——————-Fred
Shaw-Varane-Lindelof-AWB
——————-DDG
 

andersj

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Ive said it on numerous occasions that 4-3-3 is the way forward here. I would like to see a midfield of

Bruno - Matic - Fred.

Bruno would need to play deeper than he is used to but he can do that, as evidenced against atalanta 2nd half and he presses well. I also think his long range passing is good. Matic, despite his age, is our best and only true DM. All he needs to do is sit Infront of the defense, his passing range is decent too.

Upfront we can play whatever combination of rashford, Sancho, Ronaldo, Cavani, greenwood.

I feel this formation would give us more balance, possession and control in games. It's certainly better than the bloody 4-2-4 we always play
I agree. It is a good option.

But I really think Bruno is a great attacker. And if we play Bruno in midfield, we would still struggle with attackers who cant defend. Furthermore, if we play Bruno in midfield we would have to drop one of our three best players (Pogba).
 

Lee565

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____ronaldo-buno-Greenwood
______fred_______lingard
__________pogba

We dont have a single good defensive midfielder with matic looking shot now but maybe go with pogba as a deep lying playing maker and put energetic hard working players around him in numbers to protect him, even though lingard is not a natural midfielder I think has more about him to still be a better option over mctominay as he can carry the ball forward, is technically far better, can work better in tight spaces and doesn't hide from receiving the ball and would be better creatively.

Seeing as bruno loves playing as basically a striker, use him as a false 9 that drops into the number 10 position and have ronaldo and Greenwood play like inside forwards.

Alternatively on other match days have sancho playing the false 9 position who I believe has all the ability to play that role and have cavani on the right and rashford on the left.
 

TrustInJanuzaj

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It’s actually pretty easy to balance our side. Stop trying to squeeze Pogba into the side. Done!
 

Crashoutcassius

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It's probably nearly impossible to balance a team with Ronaldo in it, for tough prem games. That is what makes it such a terrible signing. Best bet is to drop Bruno maybe and play matic deeper
 

charlenefan

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Start by playing Sancho on the right, having an actual winger out there who will keep the width means a stop on the over reliance of AWB to be outlet on the right. With AWB I'd then like to see him come into midfield like City do with their FB's. If on transitions you've got your 2 CB's, your RB and your 2 CM's all behind the ball should make us a lot less susceptible on the break

Bruno's needs to start being more disciplined in the number 10 position as well as him playing as far forward has he has at times is what creates that disconnect between the midfield and the attack

All this comes down to coaching though and well yeah...
 

OmarUnited4ever

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I hate to say this... But we should try to play a back 3 with WBs, Fred & Pogba the CMs ahead of the back 3, Ronaldo & Rashford/Greenwood as our strikers with Bruno given the free role as an AM, this way we can maintain a better defensive shape .. and both Rashford and Ronaldo love making runs in behind which means Pogba and Bruno can attempt long balls sometimes.. with Bruno arriving at the box when we attack from the flanks.

But as I said, a back 3 formation is my least favourite formation, because it plays with more defenders than attackers (5 Defenders Vs 3 Attackers)
 

andersj

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I really dislike that it seems to be a trend that people think that we cant play our best players (Ronaldo, Pogba and Bruno).

I think we can. But probably not in a 4231 if you want to play to their strenghts.
 

arnie_ni

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Ddg
Varane maguire Shaw
Matic
Fred pogba
Bruno
Sancho Ronaldo rashford

Rashord plays inside closer to Ronaldo when when have the ball, Shaw provides the width, Matic can drop in like he usually does anyway and cover Shaw when he attacks.

Sancho has to provide the width on the right.
 

andersj

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But as I said, a back 3 formation is my least favourite formation, because it plays with more defenders than attackers (5 Defenders Vs 3 Attackers)
Depends on the wingbacks. At Liverpool their fullbacks are attackers. But their midfielders are defenders (more so than attackers anyway). Meaning their setup is 5 vs 5. Same could be said of Chelsea when they play Jorginho and Kante (abit depending on their fullbacks).
 

charlenefan

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I really dislike that it seems to be a trend that people think that we cant play our best players (Ronaldo, Pogba and Bruno).

I think we can. But probably not in a 4231 if you want to play to their strenghts.
It depends on whether you feel those 3 are our best players, if you do then yes you can play them in the same side and in the 4231 with Pogba on the left. If like me you think Rashford is one of our top 3 players then no you can't play them all

For me I consider us to have 9 untouchable players (until further signings are made)

-----------------De Gea-----------------
AWB--Varane--Maguire--Shaw
------------???-----------Fred------------
???----------Fernandes----------Rashford
-----------------Ronaldo-----------------

For me Sancho should 100% be the player for the right wing but we've barely seen him play there to know for certain whether he'd perform better than Greenwood and then there's the last midfield place next to Fred. If Pogba could be trusted/coached to just sit then he's the answer but after 6 years it hasn't worked so that leaves McTominay or Matic hence the need for a CM in the summer
 

ShinjiNinja26

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It’s a real problem. Usually if you’re lacking in midfield and are being cut through too easily you’d switch to a 3 at the back and put that extra CB in to sure up the defence which allows you to push your wingbacks up higher to give you more bodies spread across the centre of the pitch to protect the midfield.

The problem we have is we’ve got so many attacking options that playing that kind of system greatly reduces how many can actually get on the pitch. We struggle to accommodate them all with our current system which has 4-5 on the pitch never mind reducing that to 2-3 with a 3 at the back system.

Even though one of our biggest issues is probably shoehorning too many attackers in and not doing enough defensive work, club politics and squad harmony basically prevents us from leaving a lot of them on the bench.
 

Josep Dowling

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We probably need an extra man in midfield but the wingers needs to do their defensive work. Liverpool may have work horses in midfield but their front 3 do a lot of pressing as well. That’s why Firmino still plays even when his goal scoring record could be better as the CF. Our front 3 plus Bruno don’t do enough and that’s why we get countered all the time. Add Pogba into midfield who barely breaks a sweat to track back as well. That’s precisely why we haven’t kept a clean sheet in ages.
 
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DM! An actual, proper, top level DM.

Instantly makes the players we now have in midfield decent options, without that DM they are a mix players that cannot play at the base of midfield together.
I’m amused at how convinced you are that this is a one player solution, and even moreso that Declan Rice is the solution to suddenly make an utterly clueless team look World class.

The problems are all over the pitch. Good managers make sides look good with Tom Cleverley, John O’Shea, Phil Lamn, James Milner, Jordan Henderson etc in CM, because it’s always about the whole picture, not just one position.
 

Niemans

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Barcelona, Celta de Vigo
DDG
AWB - Varane - Maguire - Shaw
McT - Fred
Bruno
Sancho - Cavani/Cr7 - Greenwood/Rashford

In any case, if everyone does not work on the pressure, it is impossible to make a balanced team.
 

andersj

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It depends on whether you feel those 3 are our best players, if you do then yes you can play them in the same side and in the 4231 with Pogba on the left. If like me you think Rashford is one of our top 3 players then no you can't play them all

For me I consider us to have 9 untouchable players (until further signings are made)

-----------------De Gea-----------------
AWB--Varane--Maguire--Shaw
------------???-----------Fred------------
???----------Fernandes----------Rashford
-----------------Ronaldo-----------------
True! That is a valid point. «My setup» could hurt Rashford. But I think we should sacrifice Bruno or Rashford for the benefit of the team. Not by not playing them, but playing them in a position where they might not be at their best.

Your setup is basically how we play today. I think it leaves our midfield with too much space to cover as Bruno basically plays as a second striker much of the time. Furthermore, Greenwood, Rashford and Sancho really have to improve when the other team have the ball. That is why Mourinho wanted Perisic and Willian (never agreed with that, but we have to try to find a solution).
 

NZT-One

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I’m surprised how little attention the lack of balance in the central area is getting and I’m even more surprised that we have not adressed this issue yet. In my opinion, this is the main ingredient of Tuchels success at Chelsea. Creating balance through a better structure/tactical setup.

When Ferguson used the 442 and 4231 he always found room for a bit of a false winger. A winger that would cover alot of space and even tuck inside if needed. Beckham did it, and so did Park, Fletcher, Hargreaves and even Valencia. Alot of fans never quite warmed to the less glamours players like Fletcher and Park, but Ferguson would sacrifice a bit of flair for defensive stability.

Looking at our rivals today, they play very attacking football. But first and foremost they have made sure they have a balance and structure to attack from. Liverpool played with three hardworking, defensive players in the middle of the park for a few years with great success (Fabinho, Henderson and Winjaldum). Three players to protect their creative players, allowing them to take risk. In sum, including their CBs, they had five players in the central area looking first and foremost to give them the right balance and provide Salah, Mane, Firmino, Trent and Robertson protection if they lose the ball. It is the same with Chelsea, but they play with two midfielders in front of three CBs. And it is actually not that different. They important thing is that they do not get outnumbered in the most crucial area of the pitch.

At Man Utd, with Bruno high up the pitch, and two wingers not good at pressing our tracking back, our midfielders have to cover the same space three Liverpool players do when we lose the ball. That is why we need the legs of McT and Fred in the central area of the pitch.

How do we fix it? I think there is two quick fixes that we should try:

A) More legs in the central area of the pitch,
B) Wide attackers betters at pressing and tracking back,
Interesting OP! I am harping about balance since month, so good to see it being discussed.

Get more bodies in the central area of the pitch
@Pogue Mahone made a good suggestion the other day playing with a midfield three of Fred, McT and Matic. I think we would look a lot more balanced if we did.

The flaw with that setup, in my opinion, is

A) Matic is not really a good DM (IMO). Neither is, but I would rather have McTs pace and ability to cover space in the deeper area of the pitch than Matic
B) Unlike Liverpool, we do not have Trent and Robertson at fullback to give us creativity going forward, and with a midfield of Matic, Fred and McT would struggle going forward

Hence, I would sacrifice Matic for Pogba. He would be our extra midfielder, a bit like Beckham was, but in a different setup. It would give us a midfield similar to Chelsea back in the day (Makelele, Essien and Lampard), with Pogba as our Lampard.

This has always been the best position for Pogba. At the left side of a midfield three. It was at Juve and during his best spell at Man Utd (during OGS interim period). It gives him freedom to break forward ang get into the box. But it also gives him protection if he lose the ball.

Furthermore, Pogba is actually a decent defender. Not if he has to be the defender in midfield, but as an attacker he is quite good. He can’t cover ground the way Fred do (neither should he), but only Bruno and Fred press more at Man Utd this season (according to statsbomb) and only Fred has made more recoveries. As a defender, I actually think he is better than Lampard was or even de Bruyn

For all his flaws, Pogba (after Ronaldo) probably is our most talented player. And at 28, potentially our best player right now. Using him in his best position should be a priority.

Another option is dropping either McT or Fred for an extra CB. A bit like Chelsea. Playing three at the back. Personally, I really like that option as we dont really have a natural DM. I also think Lingard could be a decent wingback.
I get your idea but I am not sure how you mean it - sacrificing Matic for Pogba means a three man midfield of Fred, McTom and Pogba with McTom being most defensive minded one? Or Pogba being the furthest back as a DLP?

I think, using Juve to talk about Pogba is difficult. They played with a 3-at-the-back formation didn't they? Not sure about it but Pogba was very good next to Pirlo and Vidal/Marchisio. Pirlo took the responsibility to give the team the rhythm, with passes of all ranges. Vidal and Marchisio at the top of their game were awesome players. Workhorses with a lot of quality in offensive and defensive situations. So Pogba was relieved of a bit of pressure which presumably got out the best of him. Add to that that Juve was playing with Tevez back then, another player with an abundance of workrate.

At United we have nobody to keep the team ticking (except for Pogba himself ability-wise) and, even though Fred might have the workrate of Vidal, he certainly doesn't have the quality of the Chilean. Add to that, that Bruno plays differently to Tevez and it gets clear, that the Juve-idea can't be transformed to United 1:1. I'd also add that, to me, Pogba is a player who crumbles a bit under pressure. He is a special player, who excels in pressure free situations, but when the pressure is on, it doesn't really work for as he loses the lightness. He is a senior player now, and maybe he is better with that nowadays but we just don't know.

I also don't think, that McTom would really flourish at the DM position. He doesn't feel comfortable when the whole play is happeing behind, in front and next to him. He lacks the spacial awareness I'd say.

As I said in another thread - getting more bodies in the central areas is the first thing the manager HAS to do. Should have done it one or two years ago. But I don't think Pogba is the way to go. I see Pogba as an option in games that suit him coming from the left. Obviously not as a winger but starting there to drift in. He is a nightmare to create a team around and looking at his contract situation, I would do anything, to keep him out of future plans right now.

Playing wide attackers who defend
With a fluid front three, I Bruno could be a very good option as a wide attacker tucking inside. Similar to Coutinho at Liverpool, but better off the ball. And the part ofthe ball is key! Bruno is great at pressing and tracking back. Greenwood, Rashford and Sancho is not.

I guess Fernandes, Rashford, Sancho and Greenwood is part of the reason why we dont play a 433. We want to play with three of these attackers at the same time in addition to a striker. But it is at the cost of the balance of the team.

And competition is a good thing. The message for these players should be clear, if you dont run or track back you dont play. If neither of them cando that, play Lingard instead.

In my opinion, it should be Bruno, Ronaldo + the player that prove he deserve to start.

In summary:
- Add more players in the central area of the pitch
- Apply Bruno as one of the three attackers, thereby sacrificing Greenwood, Sancho or Rashford for defensive stabilty/better balance

To play good attacking football you need stability and safety for your attackers. Right now, we dont have that.
Yeah well argued. I agree with adding the requirement of contributing against the ball on the job profile of our wide players. Guess we suffer quite a bit from the fact, that Martial, Rashford, Greenwood are actual strikers deployed on the wing. Their instincts are solely focussed on scoring, but except for Rashford, the others don't have any sense to create. This should get better in the near future with Sancho but all of those players are lacking in contribution against the ball.

So in conclusion, I'd say your two points should actually be one, as I think your offensive ideas only work if the central areas are secured. I'd argue that Bruno and Ronaldo should be the first two as especially Ronaldo, for all his qualities, adds even more pressure on the rest of the team in terms of balance. I like the idea of Bruno starting from one of the flanks as well. We could try with some variations of a 4-2-2-2 as well. If anything, I think, we could get really creative with this squad in terms of formations. But, as I said in another thread - apart from both your points that I absolutely agree with, we have to employ team-wide instructions in terms of offensive and defensive plans. We have to decide if we press or not, stop the one man press. We have to make sure, we move the whole team as a unit so players aren't too isolated, we have to get better in making the decision of releasing the ball quickly or be a bit more patient and we have to be better synched with each other to make sure, not everybody attacks space at the same time.
 

TrustInJanuzaj

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We played several games without Pogba, and still looked unbalanced. Do you think we looked balanced in the first half vs Atalanta?
More balanced than usual yes. Conceded two freak goals but much more balanced than we look when Pogba plays deep.
 

MrSingh2002

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We need to play 433.

Bruno needs to play deeper and help the midfield two out. Sir Alex figured that out about 20 years ago.

Rashford Ronaldo Sancho
Pogba Fernandes
McTominay
Shaw Maguire Varane AWB
De Gea

Why haven't we seen this lineup yet?

The only argument would be Greenwood instead of Sancho. But Sancho was signed to play right wing in a 433 or 4231.
 
Last edited:

Leftback99

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We need to play 443.

Bruno needs to play deeper and help the midfield two out. Sir Alex figured that out about 20 years ago.

Rashford Ronaldo Sancho
Pogba Fernandes
McTominay
Shaw Maguire Varane AWB
De Gea

Why haven't we seen this lineup yet?

The only argument would be Greenwood instead of Sancho. But Sancho was signed to play right wing in a 433 or 4231.
We saw it against Villareal and it was arguably the worst we've looked all season.
 

ShinjiNinja26

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We need to play 443.

Bruno needs to play deeper and help the midfield two out. Sir Alex figured that out about 20 years ago.

Rashford Ronaldo Sancho
Pogba Fernandes
McTominay
Shaw Maguire Varane AWB
De Gea

Why haven't we seen this lineup yet?

The only argument would be Greenwood instead of Sancho. But Sancho was signed to play right wing in a 433 or 4231.
That’s certainly one way of balancing the team, just play a 12th man.
 

Bebestation

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I want to see a 4222 especially since Ronaldo needs a striker partner. It separates the team to defence, defensive mod, creative mid and finishing.

De Gea
AWB - Varane - Maguire - Shaw
Mctominay-Fred
Bruno - Pogba
(RAM)-(LAM)
Cavani - Ronaldo

Alternatively Greenwood and Rashford can rotate with cavani and Ronaldo with Bruno playing more a false 9 role.

Mctominay- Fred
Pogba
Bruno
Greenwood - Rashford
 

Brophs

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Move Pogba on, buy at least one midfielder (but ideally two) who can actually pass and run/press and stop shoehorning in too many attacking players. Bruno as the attacking midfielder, Ronaldo up front and Greenwood, Rashford and Sancho and maybe Martial rotate in the other two wide spots.
 

NZT-One

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That’s certainly one way of balancing the team, just play a 12th man.
:D thats a good one.

We need to play 443.

Bruno needs to play deeper and help the midfield two out. Sir Alex figured that out about 20 years ago.

Rashford Ronaldo Sancho
Pogba Fernandes
McTominay
Shaw Maguire Varane AWB
De Gea

Why haven't we seen this lineup yet?

The only argument would be Greenwood instead of Sancho. But Sancho was signed to play right wing in a 433 or 4231.
Because a midfield-3 of McTom, Pogba and Bruno is as unbalanced as it gets. It has one player in there who doesn't have all his strength on the offense side of things. And McTom isn't even very strong in that as well. We haven't seen it, because it most probably won't work based on what we know about our players.
 

Van Piorsing

Lost his light sabre
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DM! An actual, proper, top level DM.

Instantly makes the players we now have in midfield decent options, without that DM they are a mix players that cannot play at the base of midfield together.
Gotta agree with this. Fred is not a DM despite tackling a lot, he ventured more forward in Shakhtar and was hard to mark due to constant movement off the ball which gave him time to make attacking runs.

We could really use correct profile for that position in order to finally find coherent system.
 

DreadnoughtRS88

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Sep 26, 2021
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I actually think that once we add a midfielder (and possibly a Tripier-type of RB) we will have a deep and balanced squad, save for one or two forwards too many.

The squad is not the issue, it's the poor coaching, team selection and favouritism. Nowhere in the universe is the treatment of Donny van de Beek acceptable. We have a proper player who would link up well with the front players, while also serving as an option to start attacks. The fella can play and was schooled at Ajax. Instead we play a headless chicken in Fred and the guy who consistently tells us we should be underdogs - McTominay.

I would play Matic, Pogba and van de Beek in midfield, play Bruno off the left in a free role (basically, most of the width in attack would come from Shaw, meaning Matic would tuck in at LDM to cover) and Sancho on the right, behind Ronaldo as the lone forward. This setup allows us to keep the ball much better instead of just lumping it long hoping one of our quick forwards can run in behind every once in a 100 attempts.
We also get more control in the centre compared to when we play Bruno as practically a support striker. And we get wingers who track back. And we play Sancho in his preferred position.

I will keep saying it until the cows come home - we just need a proper manager.
 

FriedClams

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Oct 14, 2021
Messages
117
I really dislike that it seems to be a trend that people think that we cant play our best players (Ronaldo, Pogba and Bruno).

I think we can. But probably not in a 4231 if you want to play to their strenghts.
The Real Madrid Galacticos project in the early 2000s is a good example of how difficult it can be to shoehorn so much individual talent into a team. A team with Ronaldo, Figo, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Raul, Fernando Hierro and Ivan Helguera won one la Liga title (sociedad finished second and pushed them all the way, deportivo were third, Celta vigo 4th and Valencia 5th so it’s not like they were competing against the quality of teams united are in the PL) and they looked pretty disjointed the whole season.

They also had Claude Makelele who had a great season 02/03, but he should serve as a good example that having a world class DM and letting the others just play doesn’t automatically mean we will win every game. The odds on them winning the champions league that season were the shortest they have ever been, and they got knocked out by Nedveds Juventus and their lack of cohesion was completely exploited. Weirdly enough, Madrid ended up with the same obsession a lot of our fans currently do, believing a stand-alone DM as the best way to let the stars shine. They bought Thomas Gravesen, and he won zero trophies.