How do we solve our midfield problem?

He'sRaldo

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3 simple steps:

1) Pack the midfield with technical ball players, at least 3 at every point in time.

2) Retain possession in the opposition half.

3) Learn how to tactical foul so it doesn't matter if the technical mids are too lazy to track all the way back.
 

He'sRaldo

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3 simple steps:

1) Pack the midfield with technical ball players, at least 3 at every point in time.

2) Retain possession in the opposition half.

3) Learn how to tactical foul so it doesn't matter if the technical mids are too lazy to track all the way back.
So it's:

Sancho/Martial - Ronaldo - Greenwood/Rashford

Pogba/Bruno - Matic - Donny

Shaw - Varane - Lindelof - Dalot​


That's a very technical lineup, with 2 goalscorers and other auxiliary goal threats. They have the ability to keep possession, create chances, and score goals naturally. Just need to be taught how to tactical foul and keep it organized defensively.
 

Sparky Rhiwabon

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Is there any chance that Garner comes in as one of our squad midfielders next season or is he not good enough?
 

Mwooyo

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Will keep saying this. We dont need more ball winners etc. With the switch to a full on team press, We just need players who are better when they have the ball. Players who are better one touch, quick, short and long passers in the team. Personally I absolutely believe a player like donny van de beek can thrive in this system. Hell, even dylan levitt can do better in this current system. Players like mctominay and fred are supposed to be the bench players we call upon when we have the result secured or we are playing a big team. Beyond that, they should be benched.
 

Mickson

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My biggest question is... where are all the youth team central midfielders?

Surely Scotty McT can't be the only CM we've developed in 9 or so years? WTF happened to everyone else?
Galbraith on loan, Hannibal at AFCON, Garner on loan, Levitt on loan, Charlie Savage and Martin Svidersky not good enough, Hansen and Mainoo too young (17 and 16). I can see a potentially brilliant academy midfield, but sadly not now. In two years though.
 

salfordlad

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Buy any midfield pairing from the bottom of the table and we would be vastly improved.
 

hammerfadl

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We need something new I think, to fix the midfield. Matic getting old, Fred has the will but not the quality and McTominay lacks too much quality.
 

croadyman

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Signing one of Zakaria/Kamara/Kessie in this window would be a start. Would still need a Rice/Bellingham and CM in the summer though.

Let's be honest this midfield needs completely rebuilding in these next couple of windows but sadly won't happen.
 

He'sRaldo

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The main problem is not sticking with the blueprint.

After lockdown when Matic Pogba Bruno was flying, we all knew we finally had, at the very least, a blueprint of a top midfield. However when that setup started getting cut through, instead of adding an additional body but still keeping the technical base, Ole binned it off entirely in favour of pure workrate.

The thing is, it's actually better for the team to keep the technical blueprint even with an older Matic, because that way the transition to a younger technical DM would be smooth. That's how top managers like Pep and Klopp do their squad building, they don't directly contrast their core philosophies regardless of the results. Something which Ole was guilty of, and it seems like Ralf is doing currently.

Regarding the midfield, even if players like Donny and Matic don't offer as much workrate and protection as Fred and Scott, a top manager would still stick with them because he understands the importance of imprinting a possession-based blueprint on the squad. And of course if the board is able to see what he is doing and back him with funds, he can then get more quality replacements which still fit the same technical blueprint, and thus transition the team to a new level.
 

croadyman

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Bissouma and Rice in the summer please.


I don't think he'd start in midfield for any other team in the premier league. Maybe Burnley but that's about it.
Bissouma won't move anywhere while that case is still over his head, also can't afford to wait until the summer for a CDM
 

spiriticon

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Galbraith on loan, Hannibal at AFCON, Garner on loan, Levitt on loan, Charlie Savage and Martin Svidersky not good enough, Hansen and Mainoo too young (17 and 16). I can see a potentially brilliant academy midfield, but sadly not now. In two years though.
Well instead of sending them out on loan, we probably should give one to two of them a chance. Especially the older ones.

Now's the perfect time to give our young CMs a look. We don't have to always dip into the market to buy multimillion pound players who inevitably disappoint.
 

Hammondo

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So it's:

Sancho/Martial - Ronaldo - Greenwood/Rashford

Pogba/Bruno - Matic - Donny

Shaw - Varane - Lindelof - Dalot​


That's a very technical lineup, with 2 goalscorers and other auxiliary goal threats. They have the ability to keep possession, create chances, and score goals naturally. Just need to be taught how to tactical foul and keep it organized defensively.
Really not a very technical lineup, it's fairly average for a good side. Maybe the best we can do now, but we need better next season.
 

honirelandboy

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Scott, Fred And Matic are relegation standard midfield especially playing two holders instead of three in midfield. There's a reason why Chelsea sold us Matic.


A midfield three of Jesse Lingard/Scott/ VDB and forwards of Rashford/Greenwood/Sancho is worth a go.

It can't get any worse. Ronaldo will get us a few goals and is a poacher now but his overall play is dreadful, he can barely turn, control the ball or shoot along with Cavani.

We need to go back to the young players and put all our trust in them and let Ronaldo and Cavani go.
 

Bastian

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Rangnick: "For us it was obvious and the game against Villa today confirmed this, that we need minimum three central midfielders, even with these three central midfielders we had problems.."

I refuse to believe we're not picking up a midfielder this month.
 

VidaRed

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Rangnick: "For us it was obvious and the game against Villa today confirmed this, that we need minimum three central midfielders, even with these three central midfielders we had problems.."

I refuse to believe we're not picking up a midfielder this month.
Atleast he knows where the problem is.

I think the players also know rangnick doesn't rate them and they're trying to get him sacked before he shows them the door.
 

Bastian

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Atleast he knows where the problem is.

I think the players also know rangnick doesn't rate them and they're trying to get him sacked before he shows them the door.
That's my gut feeling too.
 

Ali Dia

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Lads Fred and McT got us the goal. Our forwards are leaving the midfield and full backs totally exposed. They don’t track back. They don’t even track back when they lose the ball. It’s a shitshow. No two midfielders step into a setup that porous and start controlling games. They are just left in there alone. There’s no synergy at all. Pinball
 

Bastian

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Lads Fred and McT got us the goal. Our forwards are leaving the midfield and full backs totally exposed. They don’t track back. They don’t even track back when they lose the ball. It’s a shitshow. No two midfielders step into a setup that porous and start controlling games. They are just left in there alone. There’s no synergy at all. Pinball
They can be a positive and a negative at the same time. Take Ronaldo, scores some vital goals, but the whole team has to be tailored to get the best out of him. Same with Pogba. There was zero penetration from the middle in possession and they were jogged past countless of times as Villa broke through. Literally jogged past. I like them as squad players, but they are far from being good enough as first XI players. It doesn't mean that there aren't other issues too, like the ones you identify.
 

Ali Dia

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They can be a positive and a negative at the same time. Take Ronaldo, scores some vital goals, but the whole team has to be tailored to get the best out of him. Same with Pogba. There was zero penetration from the middle in possession and they were jogged past countless of times as Villa broke through. Literally jogged past. I like them as squad players, but they are far from being good enough as first XI players. It doesn't mean that there aren't other issues too, like the ones you identify.
You’re right. A club this size should definitely always be trying to upgrade in every position. The fact Matic is still playing for us says it all. The thing is the forwards don’t press, don’t track, don’t create, don’t make runs and don’t score. It’s pointless, they have 0 chemistry or form and they are absolutely being paid world class wages to jog around and take pot shots. Our two midfielders who were left to swing in the breeze tonight are on squad wages. It’s almost unfair to expect consistent world class performances from them
 

Infra-red

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We simply need to buy better midfield players. They shouldn't be hard to find - Villa's midfield players, for example, are significantly better than our own, as evidenced by tonight. There must be some options available this month for a reasonable price.
 

Smores

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Honestly if we don't go out this window and get a midfielder our structural changes have been for nothing.

We desperately need one for top 4 and if it ends up being what gets us there then it'll pay for itself.
 

tenpoless

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Sign Fellaini, re-implement De Gea to Fellaini goal kick so he can chest it down tactic. That's already more control and presence in midfield than what we currently have.
 

GledTheRed

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We need to play 3 cm's like everyone else so not to be completely dominated every game, we are top heavy with out of form attackers.
 

sp_107

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Atleast he knows where the problem is.

I think the players also know rangnick doesn't rate them and they're trying to get him sacked before he shows them the door.
Well said,

May be players didnt expect him to cut off Martial the way he did (if a player is not interested then he should leave) + the way he recalled Pogba from Dubai, the earlier symptoms were there and if Ralf become success here he will only get more power which wont please many other players i think

Or Ralf might not have a clue otherwise the team play in last few games cant be this bad.
 

allen7

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Buy 2 world class midfielders and make McFred as squad players. Problem solved.
 

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We need someone now, not at the end of the season. I would be astonished if we finished fourth unless we improve. And if we don't get CL, we can forget about signing certain players.
 

united for life

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We need someone now, not at the end of the season. I would be astonished if we finished fourth unless we improve. And if we don't get CL, we can forget about signing certain players.
i hope we don’t spend until the new manager arrives. I know Ralf will be involved later as well, but I’d like to think that the new manager would have a say in who he wants to sign.
 

CloneMC16

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If we actually played 3 midfielders, we wouldn't get dominated every game. Bruno is not a midfielder. He at least doesn't play like one for us. We play 4 forwards and then act surprised when other teams that pack the midfield are dominating. The same thing happened under Ole.
 

Fozzie_Bear1972

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You’re right. A club this size should definitely always be trying to upgrade in every position. The fact Matic is still playing for us says it all. The thing is the forwards don’t press, don’t track, don’t create, don’t make runs and don’t score. It’s pointless, they have 0 chemistry or form and they are absolutely being paid world class wages to jog around and take pot shots. Our two midfielders who were left to swing in the breeze tonight are on squad wages. It’s almost unfair to expect consistent world class performances from them
I think this is spot on. you could go out and buy any midfielder you liked tomorrow, but put them into that team, playing that way and they’ll struggle. There was a period in the first half when there was some decent pressing of the villa defence. It caused a bit of panic and we were on the front foot, keeping them in their own half.

as soon as that pressing stops though and the forwards start sauntering around and sulking - and all three of them were guilty of it to some extent with rashford just being worst offender - then what are McFred supposed to do? If they go and press high, they leave a huge gap between them. If they fall back they just leave a huge space in front for villa to move into. If they try and hold the space between forwards and the defence, you have two players covering whole width of the pitch and it’s hardly surprising they get bypassed so easily. Even Norwich and Newcastle midfields can look good when it’s 3 v 2 in a 40 yard length of pitch.

You could swap McFred for whoever you like, and they’ll face the same problems. McFred may well be limited, but they’re being hung out to dry, in part at least, by an awful forward line. Greenwood got bored of pressing, Cavani just looks hacked off with the clowns alongside him and chasing down defenders is obviously beneath Rashford. Obviously we need fresh blood in the middle, but sorting out that dreadful front line is just as high a priority. Is pushing Bruno out wide there part of the answer? You lose some creativity from the middle, but gain a willing presser higher up the pitch. Lingard? he Seems tailor made for a high pressing system, but we seem to have given up on him. he may well be off in summer, but I dare say he’s willing to put a bit of effort in before he goes.
 

AneRu

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We badly need to raise the technical and work rate level of our midfield, simply buying a DM to pair him with Scot or Fred won't cut it because we will also need a box to box CM with better technical proficiency than what we have. That's why I would accept Neves in this window and maybe look to buy someone else for the CM role in the summer unless if we say we are prepared to write off the season altogether and if so then you wonder why we sacked Ole in the first place.
 

Rocknrolla69er

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Lads Fred and McT got us the goal. Our forwards are leaving the midfield and full backs totally exposed. They don’t track back. They don’t even track back when they lose the ball. It’s a shitshow. No two midfielders step into a setup that porous and start controlling games. They are just left in there alone. There’s no synergy at all. Pinball
You need to watch them both off the ball, both if there defensive positioning us awful, Mctominay didn't check his shoulders and has s bad habit of playing way too deep.

Counted a few times he also didn't move up with play, creates s gulf between midfield and the front players.

Fred's got zero physicality, for every decent tackle, there's 3 times he just cannot manoeuvre players off the ball or gives it away. Too lightweight by far.

Alot if opposition chances are coming because our midfield 4, give the ball away consistently and arnt positions ply intelligent
 

Bestietom

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Bring in 2 midfielders ASAP. Even the tea lady know we are losing the midfield battle every game now.
 

flappyjay

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If we actually played 3 midfielders, we wouldn't get dominated every game. Bruno is not a midfielder. He at least doesn't play like one for us. We play 4 forwards and then act surprised when other teams that pack the midfield are dominating. The same thing happened under Ole.
I find it weird that we have been dominated in the middle all season long but have not stacked the midfield even once.
 

Daengophile

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It's time to buy young pit ponies

Steer away from the show pony prima donnas, their expensive costs and their unwanted baggage
 

Ash_G

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If we actually played 3 midfielders, we wouldn't get dominated every game. Bruno is not a midfielder. He at least doesn't play like one for us. We play 4 forwards and then act surprised when other teams that pack the midfield are dominating. The same thing happened under Ole.
Agreed. We all know Fred/McT are not great players and can be improved but simply swapping them for 2 better midfielders isn't just going to solve all the problems imo. When I look at other teams e.g. City, they obtain control because of the team collective, it's not just their central midfielders. The full backs and attackers all play an important role in controlling the game and not giving the ball away cheaply. I think if we could improve the collective team mentality to retaining possession, working off the ball etc we would see that we are much better at keeping the ball. Fred/McT aren't a midfield that is going to win you the league but they're not so bad that we couldn't be functional with them- the problems are deeper than them as we are struggling against everyone.

It may be that we're happy to have less players in the middle and concede the midfied battle to have more players out wide and be able to expose that space (which it looked to me that we were doing yesterday) however if you do that then our wide attackers have to up their games. As it is right now we're doing nothing to get control of the middle as we leave the midfield outnumbered but we're also not being effective from wide areas!