Matic as single pivot [Pogba stays scenario]

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I checked that on fbref, he played 27 games at DM position in 17/18 and got 2,37pts per game in those games. In total we had an average of 2,13pts/game that season so that's actually quite good record from him. We played Matic as DM with Pogba, Herrera or Fellaini.
I did not include games where he was DM/CM/CB because I don't know what happened there.


He literally has two CMs to support. Are you suggesting it's actually more difficult to play midfield three than midfield two? I don't get that.
Thats not how it works. Most of the time even our double pivot with Fred and McTominay works as a midfield 3 with Bruno the furthest forward midfielder. Turning to a single pivot just means to have one of the double pivots pushing on more and letting the lone DM along with the CB's to cover for any counters. That won't change unless we bring along another midfielder who can do that role or develop one of McTominay or Fred to do that. Matic just doesn't have the legs to do it. In fact making it a single pivot as opposed to a double pivot means Matic has to cover more space.
 

MadDogg

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Matic can play in midfield three, he's not completely crooked. Carrick was much slower than Matic is right now, and worse on the ball. He did have better passing and positioning but we can still use Matic if we make some adjustments.
Matic perhaps has a higher top speed than Carrick did towards the end, but Carrick probably had faster acceleration over the first few steps which is generally more important. But the key factor is that Carrick had FAR better defensive positioning. It was one of the most important aspects of his game and was what allowed him to play as our main defensive midfielder next to someone like Scholes. Carrick had brilliant positioning, constantly stopping opposition attacks by being in the perfect position to either intercept the ball or force the opposition to stop and pass it backwards, giving the rest of our team plenty of time to get back into position.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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He literally has two CMs to support. Are you suggesting it's actually more difficult to play midfield three than midfield two? I don't get that.
It depends who’s the midfield three. If the player is playing with Vidal or Herrera then it’s easier to play in midfield 3 than a midfield 2. But Pogba isn’t Vidal and Herrera and so does Bruno isn’t those two. What makes it difficult is that Pogba lacks discipline means if we are under attacked, Matic will be left alone because of that lack disciplinary from Pogba.
 

HackeyC

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Matic is an incredibly silky player and is beautifully composed, but is not mobile enough. The idea of him paired with Pogba would be a dream for the opposition.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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Matic can't play as B2B, that's clear for all people here. But he can sit in front of the defense. Bruno is better in no10 for sure that's why we will continue playing as we did last season.


We're discussing a scenario where Pogba stays and we don't get another midfielder. There is enough threads on who to sell and who to buy, but it's looking likely our team will not change this summer.
Our pivot hardly play box to box. Matic in a single pivot would arguably be doing more running than when in a double pivot next to someone. Sitting in front of a defence is not as easy as some make it sound.

Initially, I was discussing Pogba's scenario until you said we need to find alternatives, in which I mentioned Neves. I do, however, maintain that Pogba can, and has played, the role of a number 6 for us very well.
 

MattofManchester

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Feel like this is a myth. Pogba was at his best when he had Herrera and Matic behind him.

Arguably Herrera was the more important feature given our form dropped off completely after he got injured in Solskjaer's interim.
 

GueRed

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Matic is done.

He moves around the pitch like he's got a Piano on his back.

In his prime his strength was his ability to carry the ball forward powerfully breaking through the lines linking up play. He wasnt a sitter...

Dont even mention him alongside Carrick who IMO was a far superior Defensive Midfielder.
 

OrcaFat

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I think we have a different understanding of the single pivot 4-3-3 formation I mentioned before. The idea is to have two additional midfielders who are between DM and front line, so why would you suggest Matic has to be first line of defence?
I am not saying he's mobile enough, but it won't be a problem if he plays holding position.


I think the reason is people are not so obsessed about Pogba playing deep lying playmaker anymore. Joking aside, I think we need to find some alternatives to McFred+Bruno and a place for Pogba. 4-3-3 seems like a good option.

I see your point, although I'd argue Matic has some advantages over Carrick in terms of being much more press resistant and his movement gets him out of difficult situations and creates passing options. Carrick had passing and awareness but he folded easily under pressure so it evens out.



I agree, that's why I wrote the OP. I encourage to read it.

But it's perfectly fine if we can line up like that against lesser teams. That at least is an alternative to playing one single formation relying on one player to do the magic.

I agree with the general point, but "at his best" is a very poor way to compare players. Pogba at his best is probably one of the best players in the world, but it doesn't mean much for United. Carrick legs were gone long before that anyway, but that's not the point. You can still create an enviroment for those players to perform.

Otherwise are we going into next season with Pogba - Matic two man (second choice) midfield. Or am I missing something?


What is your point, that he had some bad games? Is he the only one? He had some good ones as well.


Who were the CMs playing with him back then?
Talk about clinging onto a shite idea.
 

R'hllor

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Matic was done 2-3 years ago, good that people count on him to be of some use
 

VanDeBank

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I've stated multiple times during last season, Matic has been massively misused, and although he's 33, still looks mobile enough to play in midfield - especially with 2 guys supporting him.
No he doesn't. The guy's a statue. He's what I imagine Martial would look like in midfield.
 

OrcaFat

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Matic perhaps has a higher top speed than Carrick did towards the end, but Carrick probably had faster acceleration over the first few steps which is generally more important. But the key factor is that Carrick had FAR better defensive positioning. It was one of the most important aspects of his game and was what allowed him to play as our main defensive midfielder next to someone like Scholes. Carrick had brilliant positioning, constantly stopping opposition attacks by being in the perfect position to either intercept the ball or force the opposition to stop and pass it backwards, giving the rest of our team plenty of time to get back into position.
Good post. It’s not an eye-catching ability but getting into the right part of the pitch, adjusting that and reacting to the play, often without even touching the ball in any given phase, is crucial. Carrick was a master of that.

Matic was also reasonably good at that, compared to many, but the way the game is these days he can’t keep up with the pace of it. Still has a part to play I suppose but only as an occasional sub or in the cups to give the regulars a rest.
 

OmarUnited4ever

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Carrick had FAR better defensive positioning. It was one of the most important aspects of his game and was what allowed him to play as our main defensive midfielder next to someone like Scholes. Carrick had brilliant positioning, constantly stopping opposition attacks by being in the perfect position to either intercept the ball or force the opposition to stop and pass it backwards, giving the rest of our team plenty of time to get back into position.
100% correct, Carrick read the flow of the game so well, Matic is incapable of that, so even in a 433 formation with 2 CMs doing the leg work for him, Matic would still be a liability defensively
 

Adam-Utd

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21.30 of the match against everton is exactly why a single pivot won’t work with Matic
 

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:lol: that was quick

Would hate to be a player with fans like this
He's hardly some no name youngster that we're putting an artificial ceiling on. We know Matic's strengths and weaknesses quite well now.
 

Adam-Utd

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:lol: that was quick

Would hate to be a player with fans like this
me pointing it out doesn’t change the fact it’s true.

I think Matic has played well so far, but his feet are so slow and his acceleration from stand still means he’s a traffic cone when defending those situations.
 

Litch

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Playing well today. It's when we play against a more mobile midfield where he struggles. Maybe it will be horse for courses....
 

Borys

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21.30 of the match against everton is exactly why a single pivot won’t work with Matic
But doesn't the good overweight the bad, as far as this game is concerned? I mean, I heard it somewhere in Pogba thread.

I expected somebody to mention this situation, but still he had a great game don't you think?
 

NZT-One

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But doesn't the good overweight the bad, as far as this game is concerned? I mean, I heard it somewhere in Pogba thread.

I expected somebody to mention this situation, but still he had a great game don't you think?
I wouldn't call it great but it was fine. I mean, even with Fred we kept the single-pivot shape (and Fred showd some shielding I wouldn't have expected from him) also in the second half so there is a big chance, we will start the new season with that.
I am not categorically against using Matic, especially not the way you describe but, but he certainly isn't the future so there is not really a point to put too much effort into creating a setup he can flourish in. I don't think, his traits are that good to warrant that.
But in general - I agree, if we can find a formula how the team can work together to prevent Matic from getting isolated (may it be by tucking in for the FB or Wingers or by having the eights emphasize defensive duties, it very well can work.

Would you agree, that it looks like we are targeting a 4-3-3 with a single-pivot based on this pre-season? And that it looks like we are trying to make more use of the ball by playing quicker and riskier passes (into tight areas) also?
 

Adam-Utd

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But doesn't the good overweight the bad, as far as this game is concerned? I mean, I heard it somewhere in Pogba thread.

I expected somebody to mention this situation, but still he had a great game don't you think?
he played good, but that was in a midfield 2.

If you leave matic defending alone like that, as I mentioned before he cannot do anything to stop them. If he plays it needs to be in a 2.
 

littleman

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Matic is going to be enough for most normal opposition but unlikely to work for the biggest teams we'll play against. Same like the 1-2 seasons.
 

justsomebloke

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Time is running, so far it looks 50/50 if Pogba will stay but let's assume he does. In that scenario it's very unlikely we will buy a class Defensive Midfielder, so I was wondering if we could still play 4-3-3 with Matic at the base (as an alternative to 4-2-3-1/4-2-4 we do now).

I've stated multiple times during last season, Matic has been massively misused, and although he's 33, still looks mobile enough to play in midfield - especially with 2 guys supporting him. Before people jump to say "his legs are gone", just a reminder Carrick at 34 still played 28 games in EPL (which by the way is more than for example Pogba played last season)- and Carrick was way less mobile than Matic.
On the other hand, Matic has been rather good whenever he played. Nothing spectacular, but he is the ONLY player who can actually play single DM in front of back 4. McTominay, Fred - forget it. His technique is top class, he can pass and dribble in tight spaces although he can't be expected to hold midfield on his own.

So as an alternative to McFred+Bruno (which I expect to be our basic system), we could play Matic as sitting DM, supported by Fred/McTominay/Van de Beek/one of the youngsters and Pogba in midfield. That would either enable us to rest Bruno, or play him as part of the front 3. Moreover, playing midfield 3 means Pogba can play less restricted role (which is a waste), and we can have one more player without huge responsibility that midfield two demands.

What are your thoughts? I saw some posters selling Matic for 5m to get funds for different players, but can he still be a big part of the team if used correctly?
I really don't see that working. He takes too long with the ball and is too susceptible to pressure, and has neither the speed or the massive quality of positioning and game reading needed to make up for the lack of it. Carrick did (and also I suspect he'd find things harder if he played today).
 

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Look things haven't changed, we need a young Matic and it'll revolutionise our play. It's clearly what we need. He can still do the job in quite a few games this season, but he can't be overplayed.
 

Bebestation

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I personally don't see this "need for a deep lying playmaker" thing that alot of people see in this squad.

What I want is a CDM like Fernandinho or Matic who sit with the defenders and gives the freedom to the rest of the midfielders and players to get forward as they wish.

It's a very simple thing but it gives a shape to the team.

I find that ball playing CB's are generally able to dictate play from deep.
 

bucky

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I personally don't see this "need for a deep lying playmaker" thing that alot of people see in this squad.

What I want is a CDM like Fernandinho or Matic who sit with the defenders and gives the freedom to the rest of the midfielders and players to get forward as they wish.

It's a very simple thing but it gives a shape to the team.

I find that ball playing CB's are generally able to dictate play from deep.
Almost every single top team that is winning trophies has both. The only exception has been Liverpool recently and even with them you could argue that Henderson and Fabinho do it to an extent.
 

Carl

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I wouldn't have thought this would need to be said in 2021, but we should not be relying on Nemanja Matic.
 

DJ_21

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I really don't see that working. He takes too long with the ball and is too susceptible to pressure, and has neither the speed or the massive quality of positioning and game reading needed to make up for the lack of it. Carrick did (and also I suspect he'd find things harder if he played today).
I think having Varane behind will make up for his speed just as it will help Maguire with him lacking speed. We just need a DM that can tackle, dominate the midfield, play forward passes and dictate tempo. He’s the only one who can play the single DM role which allows the other midfielders freedom.
 

Chief123

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If matic is our go to player for a single pivot midfield then my goodness we are in serious trouble.

Do people suddenly forget that he’s been finished for a while now. This was a pre season game where everton were miles off it. We will get smoked if Matic is our first option all season.
 

m1tch

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Not got the legs/engine for the role. He'd get targeted by the opposition, man marked / pressed all game into mistakes.
 

justsomebloke

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I think having Varane behind will make up for his speed just as it will help Maguire with him lacking speed. We just need a DM that can tackle, dominate the midfield, play forward passes and dictate tempo. He’s the only one who can play the single DM role which allows the other midfielders freedom.
I agree Varane is likely to help in general and that Matic is our only midfielder who corresponds to the type of player you describe, but I just don't see him having the quality. I'll be pleased if I turn out to be wrong though.
 

GazTheLegend

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When I read the thread I read it as "top class goal scorer" and responded as such. But reading top class goalkeeper I kind of agree. The number one biggest factor in any team is, in my opinion, their goalkeeper. He's the centre of it all and dictates the difference in the big matches. If you have 10 good players and a shit keeper you have a shit team. If you have a good keeper, 9 good players and one shit player, you still have a good team. It's that important.
 

padzilla

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The fact that questions are being asked if Matic can be a first team player, when he is clearly a yard or two off the pace and has been for some time, tell us everything we need to know about the imbalance in our squad. That said, if we're still starting McTominay and Fred week in, week out we won't be realistically challenging for major honours once again.
 

justsomebloke

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When I read the thread I read it as "top class goal scorer" and responded as such. But reading top class goalkeeper I kind of agree. The number one biggest factor in any team is, in my opinion, their goalkeeper. He's the centre of it all and dictates the difference in the big matches. If you have 10 good players and a shit keeper you have a shit team. If you have a good keeper, 9 good players and one shit player, you still have a good team. It's that important.
I think that overstates it a bit. Sure you're in trouble if you have a shit goalkeeper, but I don't think having a very mediocre goalkeeper prevents an otherwise very good team from being a very good team. Exactly because in football the goalkeeper usually is not the difference. There are football matches where neither keeper has a single intervention of real significance to the outcome, other than through managing to not mess up simple things, and not saving things no one can be expected to save. It's not like in Ice Hockey, where there's a huge and direct impact on the result between having stellar goaltending and having merely good goaltending.
 

SAF is the GOAT

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Every top team in this league have at least 2 DM's

City have Rodri and Fernandinho the Cnut
Chelsea have Kante, Jorginho and Kovachic
Liverpool have Fabinho and Thiago
Leicester have Ndidi and Soumare

and we have an aging DM that past it at least 2 if not 3 years ago and other 2 players that aren't even DM's
 

georgipep

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I think that overstates it a bit. Sure you're in trouble if you have a shit goalkeeper, but I don't think having a very mediocre goalkeeper prevents an otherwise very good team from being a very good team. Exactly because in football the goalkeeper usually is not the difference. There are football matches where neither keeper has a single intervention of real significance to the outcome, other than through managing to not mess up simple things, and not saving things no one can be expected to save. It's not like in Ice Hockey, where there's a huge and direct impact on the result between having stellar goaltending and having merely good goaltending.
I think you underestimate how difficult it is not to mess up simple things. Especially when not being in constant action to keep you alert. I agree with the other poster that a great goalkeeper is a must for a great team. Nowadays the GK starts attacks, sweeps through balls, directs the defence, collects crosses AND stops shots.
 

RedDevilLucio

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If Pogba stays we are not buying another DM (owners won’t spend now without selling) we can absolutely not go 433 as has been said over and over by majority in this thread Matic is not good enough for cdm in a 2 or a 3.

Stick with McFred /Bruno using Pogba on left when he plays. Go out and buy Declan Rice next summer then change formation when you got the man to do the cdm job exceptionally.
 

Champ

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Matic is quality. Absolutely class today.
He's a class act and some in here don't realise it. Similar to Carrick, we'll realize how good he is when he is gone.
 

AaronRedDevil

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Matic is quality. Absolutely class today.
He's a class act and some in here don't realise it. Similar to Carrick, we'll realize how good he is when he is gone.
He was ok, messed up the attacks a lot but overall he wasn’t crap.
 

Pickle85

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Matic is quality. Absolutely class today.
He's a class act and some in here don't realise it. Similar to Carrick, we'll realize how good he is when he is gone.
What?! You must've watched an entirely different game. He used to be a cracking player but we need WAY more mobility in that role than he can provide. He also dawdled on the ball but I think his lack of mobility leaves us hugely exposed...we look a lot better without him imo.
 

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Matic was one of the main reasons of our sluggish attacking play in the final third and Kept giving it away in high areas. It was embarrassing really. At one point he completely mishit a simple 3 yard pass to Sancho I think it was to play him into the penalty area. He takes 5 touches to rule out every forward pass while everyone is making runs and then takes two extra ones before passing it sideways to Shaw who's left with the ball and all the runs having been completed and left with no options. This happened time and again in the game.

On the other hand, I'm such more confident that if you just put McTominay in his place we'd be fine.