Midfield three of Matic, Fred & McT

KeanoMagicHat

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It would be interesting to see, but also it could fail quite spectacularly. And just seems a waste of talent. What would the front 3 be then?
 

Trequarista10

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It works, and might be worth a good in the odd one of game (or with one of Pogba/VdB in place of either Fred/McT).

Problems with it, means 5 of the following 6 on the bench, Sancho, Rashford, Cavani, Greenwood, Lingard, Martial (assuming Bruno/Ronaldo sure starters in the front 3).

Ole did play split strikers and a false 9 against Liverpool a couple years ago, to try and peg their full backs back, and it worked pretty well. Admittedly that was a 5212 but the same principles would apply.
 
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Why is he clearly good at it? I really dont agree. In my opinion, he has always been very overrated at both. Over the years, I’ve been so surprised at how often he is pulled out of position and struggle to get back. And he basically never a player who «smell

Really struggled at Chelsea as soon as their defence got a bit weaker.

I also think his numbers reflect it. Carrick, at his peak, would average between 2.4 and 2.8 interceptions per 90 min in the PL. Xabi the same, sometimes more than 3.0 per 90 min in Madrid.

But he is very good on the ball. A much better passer than both McT and Fred. A lot better in the buildup and transition play.
It depends on who we're comparing him to, like I said. Completely agree that he's not a match for Carrick or Alonso, but that's sadly not our benchmark right now.

Matic may not be natural DM, but he's capable of playing as one for sure. And out of all our midfielders he's really the only one with any positional sense or anticipation - he's been used successfully as the holding midfielder in a 3 by both Mourinho and Solskjaer, which is not a role Fred, McTominay or Pogba could ever really play (I think one of the last times we tried this formation the OP is talking about was at home to Arsenal last season, with Fred at the base of the diamond. He looked clueless on and off the ball).

The problem with Matic, going back even to his time next to Kante at Chelsea, is that he inevitably runs out of steam at some point in the season and loses the ability to run - which is a massive problem when he was hardly rapid at his peak. Then you get the image of him huffing and puffing and turning at the speed of a tank when the ball moves past him - sadly becoming more and more common as he gets older, and by this time last year it was clear that he just isn't worth bothering with against top-division opponents.
 

DevTheRed

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Urmmmm, in short no. Lacks creativity massively and progressing the ball will be difficult.

However a midfield 3 of,

Matic
Pogba Fred
Could be interesting. But then again it does mean dropping Bruno.. who of course could play in the Pogba role. Obviously Donny would also be a good option in a 3 but I’ve completely given up hope for him now, and unfortunately I think he’ll be gone in January!
 

buckooo1978

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it could work

I've been mulling over a 3 at the back, like France that would enable you to play Pogba worry free

--------------------------DDG-----------------------
-------Lindelof---Bailly--Maguire‐-------
AWB------Fred--------Pogba-------Shaw
----------------------Bruno-----------------------
----------Ronaldo------------Rashford-----

variations on this with Shaw at LCB, Maybe McTominay needs to play, Greenwood did well in the cup game last year.....

all I know is I'm worried about our 4-2-4 formation in recent games. Will be a disaster if we arent more compact
 

MvG

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We’re just grasping at any and every straw with our midfield at this point.
 

Lee565

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It's not his best position but maybe we could go with fred and mctominay playing as the box to box midfielders whilst pogba is deployed as the deep sitting playmaker, I know pogba has been tried in that position before at the club but usually it's in a 2 man midfield or in midfield lacking in legs and energy, I don't think such a combination has been tried before?

Maybe another option in terms of good work rate and pressing, a midfield 3 of fred, vdb and lingard?
 

Adam-Utd

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Most of Liverpools threat isn't through midfield.

They have a workman midfield which control matches, but they won't win them games. Keita is on a good scoring run but I still wouldn't put him down as a match winner.

Fabinho/Henderson/Keita is solid but the real magic comes through TAA and Salah.

We desperately need our left flank to work very hard. We need Shaw, Maguire, Fred and Rashford to be on their games and defend well.

I hope we don't allow Rashford to cheat and stay up top ready for counter attacks, as they'll pull us apart with movement and TAA's delivery will kill us.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Most of Liverpools threat isn't through midfield.

They have a workman midfield which control matches, but they won't win them games.
Keita is on a good scoring run but I still wouldn't put him down as a match winner.

Fabinho/Henderson/Keita is solid but the real magic comes through TAA and Salah.

We desperately need our left flank to work very hard. We need Shaw, Maguire, Fred and Rashford to be on their games and defend well.

I hope we don't allow Rashford to cheat and stay up top ready for counter attacks, as they'll pull us apart with movement and TAA's delivery will kill us.
Which is exactly what I think we could achieve with the midfield suggested in this thread. Because in every other variation we frequently look far too easy to play through. Liverpool are a great example of a team that scores loads of goals without any playmakers in central midfield.

You’re right about that increasing the pressure on the fullbacks to get forwards into the attack but it’s much easier for them to do that with three hard working, disciplined CMs filling in gaps behind them.
 

Adam-Utd

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Which is exactly what I think we could achieve with the midfield suggested in this thread. Because in every other variation we frequently look far too easy to play through. Liverpool are a great example of a team that scores loads of goals without any playmakers in central midfield.

You’re right about that increasing the pressure on the fullbacks to get forwards into the attack but it’s much easier for them to do that with three hard working, disciplined CMs filling in gaps behind them.
As you say, IF we can dominate midfield then we'd have a great chance, but I just don't think with our pressing skills we'd really be that effective.

They'll just pass it around us, long balls from side to side kill a diamond easily. A switch from VVD out to Salah/TAA would take 4 players out of the game immediately.

I honestly think player for player we can match them, but we have to be at our best intensity.
 

Pogue Mahone

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As you say, IF we can dominate midfield then we'd have a great chance, but I just don't think with our pressing skills we'd really be that effective.

They'll just pass it around us, long balls from side to side kill a diamond easily. A switch from VVD out to Salah/TAA would take 4 players out of the game immediately.

I honestly think player for player we can match them, but we have to be at our best intensity.
The timing of the thread has given a few people the impression I’m planning specifically for the Liverpool game. To be honest, I think we lose that one regardless. They’re a better team, with a better manager, who seem to be getting back into record league points total form. I was more thinking about the bigger picture. And recent results. For example, I think the Leicester and Villa could have turned out differently if we’d taken a proper stranglehold on central midfield.
 

SoCross

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I'd try it out. Was musing it in the McT thread.

Matic - to sit deep, recycle possession and protect the defence (Carrick role)
Fred - to harry opponents and win the ball back (Fletcher role)
McT - to provide energy and go box to box (Anderson role)

An issue is that we will be less creative but certainly more solid. No place for Bruno or Pogba. A 4-5-1, very much a Fergie tactic in the big games.

Ronaldo, Rashford, Cavani/Sancho/Greenwood to interchange as the forward players.

We obviously have issues in midfield. Its either try to solidify and go for a 1-0 win or play four forwards and try to outscore them.

Edit: Or have Bruno or Pogba on the wings. But no pace in the side at all then.
 
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Maticmaker

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Years ago Don Revie came up with the 'deep lying centre-forward' role, purportedly to link midfield and forward play; now we have the 'false nine' purportedly to draw out the central defenders.... but they are the same thing surely?
However to make use of either we need our midfielders to make late runs into the box, either with the ball or presenting a target to receive the ball, we do not do either, maybe once a game... its not enough!
Bryan Robson was the ideal box-to-box midfielder (Colin Bell at City), he would begin his run-in (usually without the ball) behind the play and some 10 yards inside his own half, looking for the ball from behind, played over his shoulder, or a pull back from the dead ball line. Running with the ball he would take a shorter route, a direct left to right or right to left diagonal across the 18 yard line, recently Pogba and Fred have tried both, but gave up after one try... must keep trying otherwise a waste of time trying to move central defenders with either false nine /DLCF.

Its not just the players its the tactics!
 
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arnie_ni

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I'd consider matic Fred and Bruno. Give Fred the comfort of having matic behind him and allow him to try and when the ball high with Bruno, but the front 3 has to press as a unit as well or we'll be killed.

All I know is we have to get rashford in behind TAA and I think pogba might be required to get him the ball or Bruno really has to play deeper.
 
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NZT-One

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If we’re playing a 4-3-3 Pogba has to be in it surely…I’ve been saying for months the only way to get both bruno and Pogba centrally is to play Bruno as a false 9. I stick by it.
My first thoughts were exactly the same.

This is the voice of people. Ole will never move to 3 in midfield because that would be extremely unpopular decision. We will continue playing 4 forwards and keep wondering why no midfield pair is able to control games and make us solid defensively.


Exactly.
But the reality is, we need to improve our defensive game first. If that means dropping one forward then so be it. I'd take that if it means we're not getting dominated in the first 60'.
Thats definitely true. We created a very top-heavy squad but now this causes us issues because we have a bad feeling about leaving some of them on the bench even if it seems to hurt the team as a whole.

Which is exactly what I think we could achieve with the midfield suggested in this thread. Because in every other variation we frequently look far too easy to play through. Liverpool are a great example of a team that scores loads of goals without any playmakers in central midfield.

You’re right about that increasing the pressure on the fullbacks to get forwards into the attack but it’s much easier for them to do that with three hard working, disciplined CMs filling in gaps behind them.
Liverpool is indeed a good example of how a team can set up. What we have to say though is, that they are blessed with great fullbacks (great at chance creation and involvement) which we can't say about us. And for all of Fred's enthusiasm and McToms playing them as 8's might even increase their woes because it is difficult to decide, when to roam forward and when to stay compact. And all that depending on the positioning of your team mates. I think, both players could struggle with that - but I would definitely give it a try.

The timing of the thread has given a few people the impression I’m planning specifically for the Liverpool game. To be honest, I think we lose that one regardless. They’re a better team, with a better manager, who seem to be getting back into record league points total form. I was more thinking about the bigger picture. And recent results. For example, I think the Leicester and Villa could have turned out differently if we’d taken a proper stranglehold on central midfield.
I totally agree. Unfortunately I think, this is one of Ole's constants throughout his tenure: he doesn't seem to care about midfield dominance. And you can see somewhat of a logic behind there too, if he wants to release balls to the strikers as soon as possible and if he wants to attack fast and in numbers, that doesn't work along with patient builtup. For me personally, I think, that sort of football is outdated these days but who am I to know if there is a definitive answer to it.

I definitely would go down the route of adding a midfielder to our formation. If that is Matic slightly behind McFred or Matic slightly behind Pogba and Fred. Or even McFred and Van de Beek in a somewhat flat 3 in midfield. Or go with 3 at the back and let one of the CBs take the space of a CB or, as I think we tried in the last two games, have Shaw tuck in pretty much to provide another midfielder.

We should be thinking about creative solution and try stuff. Why not? We aren't great at defending, we aren't great at chance creation, it isn't like we have that much to lose with an experiment like that. Plus it can be reverted back in the blink of an eye. A pragmatic and proactive manager should do that, probably should have done that 1.5 years ago...
For all the promises such a formation might hold - I don't expect us to become great soon after. Other teams move as units, the whole team shifts in unison, the distances between the players are smaller, there is more little movement to make yourself available for a pass and even if players attack the space, it is synched that it is always secured to have passing options. They are also better at decision making, knowing when to keep possession and when to release the strikers. This is stuff we have to implement as well as it has way deeper effects than the formation itself. Look at Bayern, they are using a 4-2-3-1 and it works brilliantly, granted they have better individuals in midfield but first and foremost, they play together as a team.
 

finneh

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I think it's a good idea. The formation would actually put every player in their preferred position which for me is a good start (Fred and McT are better 8's than 6's and Bruno seems to be naturally more of a false 9 than a 10). Add in that the midfield would actually be a solid basis to build from and it would give particularly Shaw more freedom and I'm pretty much sold.

A huge call for a manager though as assuming you'd use this in most of the trickiest games you're leaving out three of Rashford, Martial, Ronaldo, Pogba, Greenwood, Cavani, Sancho, Bruno & Lingard.

I suppose on the flip side a bench of Martial, Pogba, Cavani, Lingard, Greenwood & Sancho would be enough firepower to change any game.
 

Waynne

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I am honestly surprised at the constant belittling of peoples opinions on this forum. Where is the respect? The OP has had an idea, put in some justification for it, and rather than debate it there's a little bit too much instant negativity.

I don't think for one second it's the most exciting midfield in the world, but even with each players limitations, it has the hallmarks of a functioning unit. It would require Fred and Mctominay to be a little bit more attack minded to occupy the other teams midfielders, which would allow Matic a little more time on the ball where he can pick out our wide men at ease. So long as our wide players stay high and wide, it would allow Ronaldo to mix it up between dropping deep or leading the line and keeping their centre backs honest.

The only sticking point, and it's a huge ask, is Fred and Mct have shown to be suspect positionally and when receiving the ball facing their own goal, so if either one of them has an off day they could get eaten alive and we would get countered on for fun. But this doesn't take away from the idea that with the right gameplan, that midfield 3 has a fair amount of potential.
It's the reason why I don't post very often here and just rather lurk to read comments.

Saying something or having an opinion is like painting a target on your back around here.
 

NZT-One

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It's the reason why I don't post very often here and just rather lurk to read comments.

Saying something or having an opinion is like painting a target on your back around here.
Without wanting you to have an impression of me wanting to attack I just want to formulate a well meant and constructive answer. This is an online football forum. Expecting it to be some sort of safe space will only lead to disappointment. Maybe you can rethink your perception of this place as a place where people work with painted targets. If you go public with your opinion, people will react to it. It is like that since forever. But your opinion are yours, they are never wrong, nobody gets actually attacked for an opinion as long as it isn't crass or very vile one. Just try it out, post your opinion and you will find out, that way more often than being attacked for it, your opinion will be "ignored", no one will react in this ocean of opinions. Plus: I'd say your opinions probably aren't ones you have exclusively to you, everything has been heard or seen before.

So if you want to share opinions, share it. And have fun arguing the pro's and con's. And if you find an individual who isn't able to argue in a civil way, just move on. You have to take a decision, do you want to be part of a community where opinions are discussed or do you only want to be surrounded by people who have the same opinion as you.
 

::sonny::

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With Bruno you’re forced to play with a 4231 which is outdated tactic since 20 years
 

Gazza

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Experimenting with formations and trying different combinations of players is just lipstick on a pig. Neither will solve our underlying issues.
 

lost7

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I think adding an extra body to sacrifice a striker would be an absolutely embarrassing move. We're Manchester United, not Stoke. If Ole resorts to that after spending 75 mil in the transfer market on a winger, just goes to show how clueless he is.

The thing we need is for Bruno to become a midfielder and share defensive responsibilities with McFred. Then in January we absolutely need a new DM to allow us to drop at least one between Scott or Fred, if not both
 

Highfather_24

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He/she is probably talking about me. :lol:

I suggested it in the "how-will-solskjær-line-up-against-liverpool" thread.




Bare in mind this was after the Leicester game but I'd probably still go with something similar. Maybe Bruno in for Cavani, as you suggested.
Liverpool get most of their creativity from fullbacks. Problem with this is, our fullbacks are not that creative.
 

Jeppers7

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The absolute state of that midfield :lol:. To think also it would mean losing one of Bruno, Pogba, Sancho, Rashford, Greenwood (or two depending) to accommodate it. Ridiculous.

If the manager can only get a tune out of those types then the issues with him.
 

SoCross

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I think adding an extra body to sacrifice a striker would be an absolutely embarrassing move. We're Manchester United, not Stoke. If Ole resorts to that after spending 75 mil in the transfer market on a winger, just goes to show how clueless he is.

The thing we need is for Bruno to become a midfielder and share defensive responsibilities with McFred. Then in January we absolutely need a new DM to allow us to drop at least one between Scott or Fred, if not both
SAF did it in most of the big games though. Agree with Bruno playing more of a midfielder role.
 

Waynne

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Without wanting you to have an impression of me wanting to attack I just want to formulate a well meant and constructive answer. This is an online football forum. Expecting it to be some sort of safe space will only lead to disappointment. Maybe you can rethink your perception of this place as a place where people work with painted targets. If you go public with your opinion, people will react to it. It is like that since forever. But your opinion are yours, they are never wrong, nobody gets actually attacked for an opinion as long as it isn't crass or very vile one. Just try it out, post your opinion and you will find out, that way more often than being attacked for it, your opinion will be "ignored", no one will react in this ocean of opinions. Plus: I'd say your opinions probably aren't ones you have exclusively to you, everything has been heard or seen before.

So if you want to share opinions, share it. And have fun arguing the pro's and con's. And if you find an individual who isn't able to argue in a civil way, just move on. You have to take a decision, do you want to be part of a community where opinions are discussed or do you only want to be surrounded by people who have the same opinion as you.
You've made really good points and I appreciate your post. I need to rethink my outlook on this forum and this United team. I've been feeling very frustrated recently but I imagine its the same for most people.
I do enjoy my time here and its the only football forum I'm part of really but I do appreciate everyone here. I have no ill feeling towards anyone.