McTominay and Fred, do we need both?

Olecurls99

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Yeah, pretty sure we're talking about the same one.

Granted, he and Pogba did well at the back end of last season, the two of them were constantly overrun by teams at the start of the season which caused Ole to change the midfield pairing.

Our defence and performances this season improved when McT and Fred were introduced.

The games that Matic has started this season have been:

Brighton
Spurs
West Brom
Southampton
Wolves
Sheff Utd

Got embarrassed against Spurs, and apart from Soton, who have been really good this season, we should be winning those games anyway.

He hardly ever plays in the tougher fixtures now because Ole trusts McT and Fred in the big games.
The more I think about it the more I think Donny is the answer to our midfield conundrum. Fred and Mctominay are our legs midfielders so the perfect foil for that is a technical Carrick type. Donny/Matic is too immobile. McFred isn't progressive enough. Donny/Fred and Matic/Mctominay is just right.
 

Olecurls99

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Agreed, I remember years ago joking that if we could only combine certain players together you'd get just what we need before realising that's one of the differences between the top level players and others.

I think teams have wisened up to some of the weakness that McT and Fred have as a combination, which I think is compounded by AWB as well, as you have 3 players in important/key roles for transitioning play and retaining possession who aren't great on the ball. I don't think Fred is as bad as McT/AWB and on his own I think he's fine but the 3 of them together I think just puts us the backfoot massively.

If our attack was stronger then it might not be such an issue but I don't think we have a great attack in that whilst they're good individual players I don't think they really work together effectively as a unit and therefore having such limited progression play coming from midfield and right back when we set up like this makes it even tougher for us.

The other thing I'd add is I'm not actually sure that this set up really gives us that much defensive cover over purely having more bodies back. I don't think they take up good defensive positions or retain possession well but rather rely on their physical strengths and this can be exploited where teams move the ball quickly. It's not like by having McT/Fred as a combo we then see that Bruno or the wide attackers can stay up the pitch, actually I'd say our attack track back well. I do actually quite like Fred as a player although don't think he's a top midfielder, I just don't think he works with McT and AWB as well.

I think this is a test for Ole and what he does. Personally, assuming no training/attitude issues, I'd like to see VDB tried alongside Fred assuming we need to control what games Matic can play as from what I've seen of him I think he's someone who can keep the ball and move it well and don't think he'd shirk defensively. If we can keep the ball better then we might not need that defensive cover as much. It might not be the answer but I think we know now that McT/Fred with things as they are in attack isn't a great combination. It's clearly not so bad that it can never be played but I think we need to either upgrade that or our attack to really push on further.
Agreed. Almost entirely agreed. Great comment. Bissaka has made the most of his technique this year but he'll never be a ball passing right back like some others. Assuming that we really do need to conjure extra attacking momentum elsewhere, especially against bus packers. We've got enough to go on to say that Rashford and Martial struggle to move the ball fast enough help Bruno with the creating business. Diallo might be our saviour here but probably a few years from now. I actually think Greenwood keeps and moves the ball cleverly and can create from the right once he figures out when to shoot and when to cross, a 1 to 2 ratio would probably be my advice, greenwood's main issue is his movement. He struggles to get involved in the game because he hasn't developed that yet. More game time and I still think Greenwood is our Salah on the right. Bottom line is that there is still a lot to unlock from this squad. McFred being separated is high on my list.
 

Polar

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We need both in the squad. They have made up a good partnership and their performance together is one of the reason we have done well lately.

On the other side:

In order to take another step next season, I think only one of them can be on the pitch at the same time. We need a CDM who can control the match better and be a better playmaker.

Playing both Fred and McT on the midfield result in some offensive limitations.
 
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Sunny Jim

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The more I think about it the more I think Donny is the answer to our midfield conundrum. Fred and Mctominay are our legs midfielders so the perfect foil for that is a technical Carrick type. Donny/Matic is too immobile. McFred isn't progressive enough. Donny/Fred and Matic/Mctominay is just right.
Came to post the exact same thing. For big games keep McFred. For easier replace one with VDB
 

flappyjay

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Fred and McTominay are fine the midfield 2 I don't trust is Pogba and Matic. Matic is immobile and Pogba is liability defensively so much that we have to play him lm.
 

Ash_G

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Agreed. Almost entirely agreed. Great comment. Bissaka has made the most of his technique this year but he'll never be a ball passing right back like some others. Assuming that we really do need to conjure extra attacking momentum elsewhere, especially against bus packers. We've got enough to go on to say that Rashford and Martial struggle to move the ball fast enough help Bruno with the creating business. Diallo might be our saviour here but probably a few years from now. I actually think Greenwood keeps and moves the ball cleverly and can create from the right once he figures out when to shoot and when to cross, a 1 to 2 ratio would probably be my advice, greenwood's main issue is his movement. He struggles to get involved in the game because he hasn't developed that yet. More game time and I still think Greenwood is our Salah on the right. Bottom line is that there is still a lot to unlock from this squad. McFred being separated is high on my list.
Cheers, yeah I agree that Greenwood does move the ball pretty well. At the start of the season I think he had his head down a bit too much but I do think he has gotten better there and seems to be getting a bit stronger. Definitely think at times he's been unlucky to be the one subbed although that said he's not at his best yet which does give me hope for the 2nd half of the season as we do have a air few players who we know can play better then they have been.

Overall though as you said I think this is another test for Ole and whether he can drive the team up a gear. It's great that we're well positioned in the league and feasibly could be top at the half way point but we know City and Liverpool haven't been at their best for various reasons and can play better than they have been. You have to expect they'll up their game as the season goes on and we need to be able to respond to that.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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We know Thiago or Gundogan would have been consider as upgrade & much better option as their ability are more effective when the team on the ball/possession but McT & Fred pair are really not the biggest problem and can still work out just fine together if our front four can do their job more consistently. Liverpool won the league & CL with Henderson & Fabinho, 2 defensive mind of midfielders.

We beat Everton 3-1, PSG 2-1 & Aston Villa 2-1 with these two together which in my opinion the top three matches where we performed the best this season. We managed to beat Spurs 2-1, Chelsea 2-1, City 2-1 & drew 1-1 vs Liverpool last season with these two together as well. This season, we didn't perform in big game because our front four were underperforming. And I don't think you can blame McT & Fred for the underperformance of our front four, they just didn't perform against Arsenal, Chelsea & City especially Bruno and some of the matches were also Pogba.
 

berbasloth4

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mctominay should be cover and thats it. he tries and works but he isnt good enough for united tbh neither is fred but he the better of a bad bunch
 

NoPace

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I'd assume next year's midfield holding situation will be:

Van De Beek and Fred fighting for the 8 job
a new DM competing with McTominay

with Van De Beek also getting minutes when Bruno is out/resting
 

James35

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Take Fred over McTominay everyday even though both shouldn't be starting for Man Utd. Hopefully a top DM is brought which allows us to play Pogba/VdB and Bruno in midfield. This whole McFred partnership to protect our slow ass CB partnership needs to end.
 

keithsingleton

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Always surprises me that many think Fred is better than McTominay. Not a chance, love this lad as offers so much more.
 

MU655

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Always surprises me that many think Fred is better than McTominay. Not a chance, love this lad as offers so much more.
McTominay is fine in a lot of space and against lesser teams e.g. Leeds, Southampton today, and Watford. But he does struggle against teams that don't give him that space, which makes up the majority of games in the league. That is why his goals have all come in those types of games. His weaknesses are positioning in tighter games and passing with not as much time on the ball, which is evident from the lack of passes completed in those games.

Fred is better against tighter opposition. But Fred was good today with 2 key passes and almost had an assist, so he is also good in these games as well.
 
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keithsingleton

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McTominay is fine in a lot of space and against lesser teams e.g. Leeds, Southampton today, and Watford. But he does struggle against teams that don't give him that space, which makes up the majority of games in the league. That is why his goals have all come in those types of games. His weaknesses are positioning in tighter games and passing with not as much time on the ball, which is evident from the lack of passes completed in those games.

Fred is better against tighter opposition. But Fred was good today with 2 key passes and almost had an assist, so he is also good in these games as well.
I don't see it. That's my opinion of Mac, more importantly he scores the old goal or two as well. We don't get that off Fred. Id even sell Fred and put funds towards another CB
 

A-man

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Always surprises me that many think Fred is better than McTominay. Not a chance, love this lad as offers so much more.
For me McT is the better of them. He offers more but in so many ways. When our back line is pressed, he moves to open up and offers our back line a way out. He doesn’t lose the ball as often as Fred. He has a great long shot. Etc. Fred is good but McT offers more.
 

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Always surprises me that many think Fred is better than McTominay. Not a chance, love this lad as offers so much more.
McTominay is stronger, better in the air and a decent goalscorer. That's pretty much the only things that he's better than Fred at, and they aren't exactly the most important aspects of being a midfielder.

Fred is a significantly better passer (he passes the ball more, plays more long passes, plays the ball forward more often, sets up more goal scoring opportunities and despite all that has a higher success rate) and he wins the ball back more often when the opposition have it. His movement to always be in position to receive the ball when his teammates have it is far better (it's something that is often a huge weakness for McTominay) so it tends to allow the team to be more fluid at moving the ball around.

McTominay has the potential to be a lot better than he has shown so far, and maybe he might end up being better than Fred. But right now it's not particularly close and I can't understand why people put McTominay ahead. He was good tonight, started well against Arsenal in the last match, but had been absolutely terrible for over a month before that ever since his great Leeds match.
 

Ali Dia

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McTominay is stronger, better in the air and a decent goalscorer. That's pretty much the only things that he's better than Fred at, and they aren't exactly the most important aspects of being a midfielder.

Fred is a significantly better passer (he passes the ball more, plays more long passes, plays the ball forward more often, sets up more goal scoring opportunities and despite all that has a higher success rate) and he wins the ball back more often when the opposition have it. His movement to always be in position to receive the ball when his teammates have it is far better (it's something that is often a huge weakness for McTominay) so it tends to allow the team to be more fluid at moving the ball around.

McTominay has the potential to be a lot better than he has shown so far, and maybe he might end up being better than Fred. But right now it's not particularly close and I can't understand why people put McTominay ahead. He was good tonight, started well against Arsenal in the last match, but had been absolutely terrible for over a month before that ever since his great Leeds match.
100%
 

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Unpopular opinion but I always thought that we actually need both, especially when we play top-heavy (Bruno + 3 strikers). They bring balance and sweep the midfield. You don't get that from any other midfield options we have.

Also, I actually think recently both of them make a reasonably good attacking contribution. It isn't working so well for Fred in terms of numbers but I recall some good opening passes and he was the closest player to scoring against Arsenal.

I'd play them every game if they were fit.
 

Falcow

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McTominay is stronger, better in the air and a decent goalscorer. That's pretty much the only things that he's better than Fred at, and they aren't exactly the most important aspects of being a midfielder.

Fred is a significantly better passer (he passes the ball more, plays more long passes, plays the ball forward more often, sets up more goal scoring opportunities and despite all that has a higher success rate) and he wins the ball back more often when the opposition have it. His movement to always be in position to receive the ball when his teammates have it is far better (it's something that is often a huge weakness for McTominay) so it tends to allow the team to be more fluid at moving the ball around.

McTominay has the potential to be a lot better than he has shown so far, and maybe he might end up being better than Fred. But right now it's not particularly close and I can't understand why people put McTominay ahead. He was good tonight, started well against Arsenal in the last match, but had been absolutely terrible for over a month before that ever since his great Leeds match.
Very good post and reflects my thinking on it exactly.
 

MadDogg

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Unpopular opinion but I always thought that we actually need both, especially when we play top-heavy (Bruno + 3 strikers). They bring balance and sweep the midfield. You don't get that from any other midfield options we have.

Also, I actually think recently both of them make a reasonably good attacking contribution. It isn't working so well for Fred in terms of numbers but I recall some good opening passes and he was the closest player to scoring against Arsenal.

I'd play them every game if they were fit.
It's absolutely amazing he hasn't had any assists over the last month or two. He's set up 5 or 6 clear goal scoring opportunities only for the attacker to stuff it up (another one today when Martial's lifted shot went a few cm's wide), and created a bunch of other half-chances. Pretty sure two of them hit the post but they just won't go in.

Shaw has been similar over the same time period where he could almost have had double digits in assists, but at least he finally got two today.
 

Falcow

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Slightly separate point which I also made in post match thread. Good and all as Pogba has been lately, I think we are a more fluid side without him. I dont mean this as a dig at Pogba, he has been our best player lately but we play faster or higher tempo football without him I feel.

Mctominay Fred and Bruno are a good combo.
 

city-puma

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Slightly separate point which I also made in post match thread. Good and all as Pogba has been lately, I think we are a more fluid side without him. I dont mean this as a dig at Pogba, he has been our best player lately but we play faster or higher tempo football without him I feel.

Mctominay Fred and Bruno are a good combo.
I think it’s becoming very obvious now. It’s just difficult to find a position for pogba without compromise to our play.
 

OrcaFat

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McTominay is fine in a lot of space and against lesser teams e.g. Leeds, Southampton today, and Watford. But he does struggle against teams that don't give him that space, which makes up the majority of games in the league. That is why his goals have all come in those types of games. His weaknesses are positioning in tighter games and passing with not as much time on the ball, which is evident from the lack of passes completed in those games.

Fred is better against tighter opposition. But Fred was good today with 2 key passes and almost had an assist, so he is also good in these games as well.
Yes, I agree. McT great if he has space but I’d go as far as to say he’s poor when pressed and crowded. Fred looks the same player regardless of the opposition, decent, a good contributor, yet probably a notch below what’s needed to win titles.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I simply can't agree, Fred very one dimensional and lacks consistency for me. MOM performance tonite.
Fred offers more pace which is why he's more effective in pressing, he's more fluid when on possession and much better in passing through the line. Fred had many times pull a great key passes that put player one on one chances but the attackers missed them. Martial's missed today was from Fred's pass. I also remember Rashford's one on one missed vs Newcastle, Arsenal & Leicester also came from Fred's pass.

McTominay offers much more physical presence, better in scoring goals, shooting & can shield the ball much better. Other than that, can't see any other aspect that McTominay is ''currently'' better.
 

city-puma

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Yes, I agree. McT great if he has space but I’d go as far as to say he’s poor when pressed and crowded. Fred looks the same player regardless of the opposition, decent, a good contributor, yet probably a notch below what’s needed to win titles.
These two form a great partnership, the best we have as pressing resistant.
 

OrcaFat

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These two form a great partnership, the best we have as pressing resistant.
They probably are the best pairing against most teams and for the rhythm of the team etc. I personally don’t think either is good enough and McT especially has a lot of relatively poor games against the better teams. They do a job together but I’m looking for more than that. The day we get a proper no.6, the writing is on the wall for both of them (although still useful squad players).
 

Lee565

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This was definitely not the match to judge them on considering early red, thought we were actually better though when fred went to left back and vdb came on in midfield
 

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Fred is a more streetwise footballer, sharper mind in tight spaces, better first touch.
McT is a better athlete, better goalscorer, better defending aerial set pieces and still has some room to mature.

They are both so important when we play away to Man City or Liverpool and need dynamic, courageous bulldogs snapping at heels. When we're home to a team parking the bus then they often don't have enough creativity, especially if Bruno has 2 men on him always to null our main threat. But in most PL games they are good enough despite limitations.

I'd imagine Ole will spend 10 or 20 million on some wonderkid central midfielder in the summer, along with giving VDB a bigger role next season, to push McT and Fred for a first XI spot. I just hope we never ever see Pogba and Matic in a midfield 2 ever again. It's so costly.
 

city-puma

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They probably are the best pairing against most teams and for the rhythm of the team etc. I personally don’t think either is good enough and McT especially has a lot of relatively poor games against the better teams. They do a job together but I’m looking for more than that. The day we get a proper no.6, the writing is on the wall for both of them (although still useful squad players).
This pair can create dynamic team play. The only flaw is that they are I think really matters is that they are not very well to control tempo at the moment. They all like quick release of the balls and go forward fast. That’s why sometimes Ole will bring up Matic as substitute to control tempo to slow down a bit.
 

Borys

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They probably are the best pairing against most teams and for the rhythm of the team etc. I personally don’t think either is good enough and McT especially has a lot of relatively poor games against the better teams. They do a job together but I’m looking for more than that. The day we get a proper no.6, the writing is on the wall for both of them (although still useful squad players).
Which is not happening anytime soon. That's for one. Secondly, if we continue playing 4-2-3-1, there is not room for #6 (single pivot). You need two hard working B2B there.
 

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Fred is a more streetwise footballer, sharper mind in tight spaces, better first touch.
McT is a better athlete, better goalscorer, better defending aerial set pieces and still has some room to mature.

They are both so important when we play away to Man City or Liverpool and need dynamic, courageous bulldogs snapping at heels. When we're home to a team parking the bus then they often don't have enough creativity, especially if Bruno has 2 men on him always to null our main threat. But in most PL games they are good enough despite limitations.

I'd imagine Ole will spend 10 or 20 million on some wonderkid central midfielder in the summer, along with giving VDB a bigger role next season, to push McT and Fred for a first XI spot. I just hope we never ever see Pogba and Matic in a midfield 2 ever again. It's so costly.
Couldn't disagree more. McTom is far more streetwise. Fred is a bit of an idiot, see PSG game for example, and as far as first touch goes while neither is brilliant, Freds is pretty awful