Our midfield....can it ever work?

bosnian_red

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Can't recall seeing McT/Bruno/Pogba
Good balance, top players so why not?
Mctominay isn't a defensive mid, so it wouldn't work. You need the positioning and holding ability behind Pogba and Bruno... McTominay is a box to box mid, he's never been good at being a defensive mid.
 

Devil may care

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Not if the plan is to win the big trophies, if we are content to just battle for top 4 every season then the midfielders we've got can do that but they aren't good enough on the ball for anything more.
 

Litch

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We seem to have a fixation on the midfield when in reality even if we brought in quality, what about the lack of quality up front or in defence? What's their excuse cause they both have cost us games which was nothing to do with midfield.....
 

lost7

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Can't recall seeing McT/Bruno/Pogba
Good balance, top players so why not?
That was the midfield against Liverpool in the FA cup and against Everton in the league (before Pogba got injured). Both times I thought we were actually looking good
 

EngimaMK

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The biggest problem is playing two players in the metre of the midfield who do not have the creative spark needed to link defence and attack. Fred, Mctominay and Matic - there should only ever be one of these playing.
 

Leftback99

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We seem to have a fixation on the midfield when in reality even if we brought in quality, what about the lack of quality up front or in defence? What's their excuse cause they both have cost us games which was nothing to do with midfield.....
The defence and attack don't operate in isolation. You are just focusing on goals. What scenario would you blame the midfield?
 

Champagne Football

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McFredinay only works in every game if we have 4 players in front of them firing on all cylinders. Last season we had that briefly when Greenwood, Martial, Rashford and Bruno were all on fire.
This season Martial has gone back into his shell, Greenwood is going through second season syndrome, Rashford and Bruno are burnt out from relying on them too much, Cavani has been brilliant but due to his age can only do the business maybe every one out of 3 games.

Scott McT has the desire to keep developing his game, so if he can add more assists to his game then he can nail down his box tobox role long term. Big things expected of VDB next season.

I think getting Raiola's influence out of the club in the summer would be best for everyone. Happy to see Pogba stay if he really wants it, but a move to Juventus I think might suit everyone. VDB deserves a chance next season.

Obviously our midfield can improve, but if you have breathtaking forwards in front then you don't need as much creativity from central mid as Liverpool have shown with Fabinho and Henderson.

Bringing in someone like Bale on loan for next season could be the injection of quality that the forwards need. I wouldn't say no to a Camavinga if we had a free run at him if Madrid decided they can't afford him, but I think we could go another season with McT, Fred and VDB as our central mid options, with Garner possibly playing a bit-part role as he continues to develop.
 

Steve Bruce

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Fred and McT are certainly better at their jobs than our practically non-existent CF and RW
Our CF doesn't get enough opportunities. Whether it's martial or cavani they get on average 1.6 chances per game. Harry kane in Mourinhos team gets 2.9 chances, nearly twice as much.

So the creativity outside of Bruno & Shaw is none existant. This is because mctominey & Fred can't pass.

The RW hasn't had a real RW since valencia moved to rb. So I agree with you their
 

amolbhatia50k

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I mean,
This.

Bring in a CF who can finish the chances Bruno, Pogba and VdB create and we can have a conversation about competing for the PL.
:lol:

Also I love how we must add a CF first give Mctominay and Fred to look just as pointless as the ball before even entertaining the thought of improving our midfield. What we should do is get rid of VDB if the manager doesn't have plans for him, an simultaneously improve multiple areas and midfield is definitely one of them. Better possession play would improve this team significantly. And a new CF wouldn't solve other issues as some think it will.
 

Zen86

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Our CF doesn't get enough opportunities. Whether it's martial or cavani they get on average 1.6 chances per game. Harry kane in Mourinhos team gets 2.9 chances, nearly twice as much.

So the creativity outside of Bruno & Shaw is none existant. This is because mctominey & Fred can't pass.

The RW hasn't had a real RW since valencia moved to rb. So I agree with you their
These stats you quote are completely and utterly meaningless here. One of those useless numbers without context.
 

lex talionis

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I mean,
:lol:

Also I love how we must add a CF first give Mctominay and Fred to look just as pointless as the ball before even entertaining the thought of improving our midfield. What we should do is get rid of VDB if the manager doesn't have plans for him, an simultaneously improve multiple areas and midfield is definitely one of them. Better possession play would improve this team significantly. And a new CF wouldn't solve other issues as some think it will.
I’d like to know exactly who you believe the clinical finisher on our squad is.
 

Steve Bruce

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These stats you quote are completely and utterly meaningless here. One of those useless numbers without context.
I literally give context by noting that we have no creativity from our midfield & backed it up with stats. I have also previously posted in this thread about how teams are freezing Bruno out of games as they know there's no creativity coming from anywhere else.
 

In Rainbows

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I would never expect our midfield to be what you described. It's been obvious that we still lack a player who can control the match through their constant passing, being a constant passing option, and generally being extremely great technically to the point where that player is the safest passing option.

None of our midfielders are that, and the closest we've had that in the past 7 years was Carrick. And prior to that Scholes. Until we have that kind of player we will always lack in that area and that's been obvious for a while.

We can potentially turn Mejbri in that as he's the best fit, looking at his traits as a midfielder. He's young however. If he can handle the step up when given the chance this season, he could be an option next season, but I wouldn't expect anything this season.
 

amolbhatia50k

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I’d like to know exactly who you believe the clinical finisher on our squad is.
I'd like to know who you believe among our midfielders A) is a quality holding midfielder, or B) is a gifted and consistent passer/playmaker of the ball. Pogba is creative and excellent on the ball but a hybrid midfielder/AM. Bruno nearly plays like a second striker or a 10 at the very least and not a midfielder.

Among our strikers, Martial used to be super clinical but has been trash this season. Rashford is a good goalscorer regardless of missed chances. Cavani is a fairly good finisher. Greenwood will hopefully soon be a monster in this regard.

The point being that we can do with a CF. But we can also do with a midfield capable of passing the fricking ball and allowing us to play some possession football and not merely being suited to chasing and harrying.

Btw we need a right winger more than either of the above. So you're supposed to improve multiple parts of your team together otherwise we aren't winning the title until 2050.
 

Jezpeza

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A) is a quality holding midfielder, or B) is a gifted and consistent passer/playmaker of the ball.

A) is a hole in the squad. Matic cant do it every week and isnt mobile enough, especially if lindelof and maguire are behind him, we concede lots with that combo. Mctominay and fred do it well as a unit but that deteacts elsewhere and leads to a lot of hassle and harry.

B) define this better? To me a consistent passer of the ball is a requirement of any professional footballer. Cant stand this praise for central midfield players who constantly pass the ball 10 metres sideways or backwards and are praised for ‘good passing and not giving the ball away’. Its a minimum requirement for any player on the pitch, not an accolade. For me Bruno is a playmaker, he plays the risky passes required to unlock defences and make oppurtunities, the ball from nowhere to Diallo on Thursday the best recent example.

problem is, no one else can score at the moment so he has almost been deployed as a second striker.

But agree with much of what you say. We need a CB, CDM, RW and CF. To me The cdm position is crucial - we need that all in one player who can shield the centre backs, zip out to the wings if needed to cove, tackle, block and also pass the ball forward. I think if we get that player lots of other stuff will fall into place in midfield
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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We need a ball carrier and metronome midfielder all in 1.

Not sure who's available that would fit this mold.
 

roseguy64

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I think all of us get nervous when Fred, McT and Matic (maybe a little less so for him but as said, no pace) get the ball in tight spaces. This says it all IMO. When I watch other matches I'm confident players like Kante, Fabinho, Veratti, Rice, Busquets are going to make good decisions and have the skill to execute.

I believe a good passing DM would jump us another level and allow us to compete with MC. Right now we can't.
I'm only nervous if Fred gets the ball in tight spaces. McTominay and Matic have shown that they have the skill to manoeuvre their way out of those spots.
 

roonster09

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Number 10's aren't dying, they're evolving. There isn't a place for a luxury fantasista who doesn't participate in pressing and in defensive part of the game anyone — but Fernandes is our hardest working attacker, he drops deeper when we need someone to bring the ball forward and often moves out wide. It's the same with the plethora of attacking midfielders at City (De Bruyne, Foden, Bernardo) and with many players of a similar profile excluding Messi.
Read a stat from opta, said Bruno covered highest distance in 15 out of our 28 games.
 

amolbhatia50k

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@Jezpeza
A consistently high quality passer/playmaker would be someone you can rely on to run football matches. The last one we had was Carrick. Now, with Fred and Mctominay, they simply don't have the necessary tools to consistently pull it off. For every decent pass/turn or two, there's panic, over/under hit passes, heavy touches, reckless decision making and panic. These aren't midfielders who are calm, assured and precise in possession. They are options you use to disrupt imo. If we're satisfied with that, then top 4 is the best we'll ever do.

Pogba and Bruno are creative outlets more than midfield playmakers for me. For example there's a big difference between Modric and James Rodrigez. The former will be the heart and soul of your midfield dictating how you play, while the latter can create a lot of chances (and score some goals too). Bruno is more of the latter for me but of course a far better player. He's a machine in terms of goals and assists but I don't think he's much of a midfielder and really more of an attacker/10. Pogba is closer to midfielder but still not quite a proper one. He has very little quality off the ball and didn't thrive in tight intense midfield situations nor do I think he's very good at controlling games. He's at his best creating chances and giving your team flair that few can.

So yes we have a lot of good qualities in our midfield - physicality, stamina, pressing, creativity and goals. But the specifically in terms of pure defending and playmaking/controlling the buildup/consistently good passing from deep, there's a huge gaping hole imo.
 

lex talionis

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I'd like to know who you believe among our midfielders A) is a quality holding midfielder, or B) is a gifted and consistent passer/playmaker of the ball. Pogba is creative and excellent on the ball but a hybrid midfielder/AM. Bruno nearly plays like a second striker or a 10 at the very least and not a midfielder.

Among our strikers, Martial used to be super clinical but has been trash this season. Rashford is a good goalscorer regardless of missed chances. Cavani is a fairly good finisher. Greenwood will hopefully soon be a monster in this regard.

The point being that we can do with a CF. But we can also do with a midfield capable of passing the fricking ball and allowing us to play some possession football and not merely being suited to chasing and harrying.

Btw we need a right winger more than either of the above. So you're supposed to improve multiple parts of your team together otherwise we aren't winning the title until 2050.
I believe Fernandes and Pogba are exceptional midfielders, both capable of supplying fantastic final balls for a proper striker to finish and can chip in some non-pk goals as well. Problem is, we don’t have a proper striker.

We do have three very solid forwards — Rashford, Martial and Greenwood — but none of them are clinical finishers, let alone being anywhere close to world class finishers. We’ll see what the future holds for Diallo. I like Dan James but I seriously doubt he’ll ever become a prolific goal scorer for us. Cavani probably won’t be back next season.

It’s not that “can do we do with” a CF. We badly need a CF. It’s unlikely we can afford Haaland, in which case we either need to find an alternative to Haaland or we need to start sacrificing animals to the football gods that Martial and Greenwood can hit a higher gear next season.
 

amolbhatia50k

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I believe Fernandes and Pogba are exceptional midfielders, both capable of supplying fantastic final balls for a proper striker to finish and can chip in some non-pk goals as well. Problem is, we don’t have a proper striker.

We do have three very solid forwards — Rashford, Martial and Greenwood — but none of them are clinical finishers, let alone being anywhere close to world class finishers. We’ll see what the future holds for Diallo. I like Dan James but I seriously doubt he’ll ever become a prolific goal scorer for us. Cavani probably won’t be back next season.

It’s not that “can do we do with” a CF. We badly need a CF. It’s unlikely we can afford Haaland, in which case we either need to find an alternative to Haaland or we need to start sacrificing animals to the football gods that Martial and Greenwood can hit a higher gear next season.
If only football was that simple and all you needed was chance creators and chance finishers.

I don't disagree that a great CF would be a fine additional but during KDBs injuries who has been City's top class high chance creators and top class prolific goalscorer in this period? Foden and Jesus respectively? Silva and Jesus? Every team would love a CF like Lewandowski, Suarez etc but it's hardly as though teams are incapable of working without them or don't need anything but them. There's never one e

And we also "badly" need other improvements too. Like our right wing problem. Also, this thread is about central midfield. We aren't winning the league with this midfield no matter who we have up top. They will suffer due to having this midfield behind them. Solution - focus on all your issues rather than one.
 

Jezpeza

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@Jezpeza
A consistently high quality passer/playmaker would be someone you can rely on to run football matches. The last one we had was Carrick. Now, with Fred and Mctominay, they simply don't have the necessary tools to consistently pull it off. For every decent pass/turn or two, there's panic, over/under hit passes, heavy touches, reckless decision making and panic. These aren't midfielders who are calm, assured and precise in possession. They are options you use to disrupt imo. If we're satisfied with that, then top 4 is the best we'll ever do.

Pogba and Bruno are creative outlets more than midfield playmakers for me. For example there's a big difference between Modric and James Rodrigez. The former will be the heart and soul of your midfield dictating how you play, while the latter can create a lot of chances (and score some goals too). Bruno is more of the latter for me but of course a far better player. He's a machine in terms of goals and assists but I don't think he's much of a midfielder and really more of an attacker/10. Pogba is closer to midfielder but still not quite a proper one. He has very little quality off the ball and didn't thrive in tight intense midfield situations nor do I think he's very good at controlling games. He's at his best creating chances and giving your team flair that few can.

So yes we have a lot of good qualities in our midfield - physicality, stamina, pressing, creativity and goals. But the specifically in terms of pure defending and playmaking/controlling the buildup/consistently good passing from deep, there's a huge gaping hole imo.
i understand what you mean now. A type of player who when the opposition are pressing high gets the ball in a tight space and plays a one touch pass that takes 3 opposition players out of the game. Or always finds the most dangerous man in space. A pirlo or modric. Used to dread playing against then when they dropped back and started spraying passes everywhere.

and in regards mctominay and fred, i also agree, but i actually think they are a useful pairing against teams of higher quality. But then against lower quality teams they almost become a couple of bodies on the pitch who have no input to the game. Its like playing with 9 men when attacking.
 

Zen86

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I literally give context by noting that we have no creativity from our midfield & backed it up with stats. I have also previously posted in this thread about how teams are freezing Bruno out of games as they know there's no creativity coming from anywhere else.
You throw in a chances per game stat for strikers in 2 completely different teams and finger point to the midfield as the culprit. It’s the very definition of cherry picking stats to suit your agenda :rolleyes:
 

Litch

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The defence and attack don't operate in isolation. You are just focusing on goals. What scenario would you blame the midfield?
Was focusing on anything. My view was the system is a sum of all the parts so fixing the midfield achieves nothing if the other parts aren't working. If Pogs weren't here, I'm pretty sure most would say he would be the perfect person in midfield yet the system hasn't allowed that to work. Fred and Scott are there to not create or score goals, their primary role is to help stop them, that's how the team overly defensively sets up.
 

Leftback99

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@Jezpeza
A consistently high quality passer/playmaker would be someone you can rely on to run football matches. The last one we had was Carrick. Now, with Fred and Mctominay, they simply don't have the necessary tools to consistently pull it off. For every decent pass/turn or two, there's panic, over/under hit passes, heavy touches, reckless decision making and panic. These aren't midfielders who are calm, assured and precise in possession. They are options you use to disrupt imo. If we're satisfied with that, then top 4 is the best we'll ever do.

Pogba and Bruno are creative outlets more than midfield playmakers for me. For example there's a big difference between Modric and James Rodrigez. The former will be the heart and soul of your midfield dictating how you play, while the latter can create a lot of chances (and score some goals too). Bruno is more of the latter for me but of course a far better player. He's a machine in terms of goals and assists but I don't think he's much of a midfielder and really more of an attacker/10. Pogba is closer to midfielder but still not quite a proper one. He has very little quality off the ball and didn't thrive in tight intense midfield situations nor do I think he's very good at controlling games. He's at his best creating chances and giving your team flair that few can.

So yes we have a lot of good qualities in our midfield - physicality, stamina, pressing, creativity and goals. But the specifically in terms of pure defending and playmaking/controlling the buildup/consistently good passing from deep, there's a huge gaping hole imo.
I agree. Getting a better CB as a higher priority would be just improving how we deal with issue rather than preventing the cause.
 
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Fred-McTominay is a midtable midfield. It badly needs upgrading on.

Pogba & Bruno should play next to each other as 8s, with a specialist DM behind. Bruno doing his false 9 thing just leaves a massive hole in our midfield.
 

RedIan

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Everyone loves Fred? Speak for yourself. He couldnt hit a barn door at 10 yds.
Everyone loves a grafter and Fred is that but his ability to pass and shoot with a modicum of accuracy seems to be missing from his game. Simply not good enough at this level. £47m was fraud.
 

Steve Bruce

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You throw in a chances per game stat for strikers in 2 completely different teams and finger point to the midfield as the culprit. It’s the very definition of cherry picking stats to suit your agenda :rolleyes:
You know, this is the thing. My agenda is I want United to be the best team in Europe.

I have no other agenda. But it seems if anyone has an opinion & people like you don't like it, it gets branded as an 'agenda'

Get over yourself & wise up. If you disagree with me that's fine, state why you disagree rather than come off with stupid comments like 'agenda'

I have given you the reason why I think our no. 9 doesn't score goals. If you think differently that's fine.

I would just like to know why you think Fred & mctominey are good enough & are they players you'd expect to see at Chelsea, city, real Madrid, bayarn Munich, juventus etc?
 

James35

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Two of Fred, McTominay and Matic will never be good enough to win a title or CL.

Pogba next to a top DM is my dream but I doubt we will buy one and Pogba will be gone this or next summer anyway.
 

gerdm07

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I'm only nervous if Fred gets the ball in tight spaces. McTominay and Matic have shown that they have the skill to manoeuvre their way out of those spots.
In the last match McT got the ball at the top of our box and thought he could drive past a player and get to space. He couldn't and lost the ball and probably should have received a 2nd yellow and then red. He had two decent options to his right for a pass. It's just one play and it has happened over and over with McT. I love his drive, effort and heart, I just wish he were more talented.
 

lex talionis

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If only football was that simple and all you needed was chance creators and chance finishers.

I don't disagree that a great CF would be a fine additional but during KDBs injuries who has been City's top class high chance creators and top class prolific goalscorer in this period? Foden and Jesus respectively? Silva and Jesus? Every team would love a CF like Lewandowski, Suarez etc but it's hardly as though teams are incapable of working without them or don't need anything but them. There's never one e

And we also "badly" need other improvements too. Like our right wing problem. Also, this thread is about central midfield. We aren't winning the league with this midfield no matter who we have up top. They will suffer due to having this midfield behind them. Solution - focus on all your issues rather than one.
If we the budget to address all our needs of course we should address all our needs. But we don’t, so we can’t.

I agree that we could upgrade at CB, but we literally have CBs in Lindelof, Bailly and Tuanzebe.

I agree we could do with a backup RB for AWB, but it’s not our highest priority.

I agree bringing in top DM to replace Matic is urgent, but it’s not as though McFred have disgraced the club. There’s a problem with using two players to do the job of one player and for me at least bringing in a top DM is our second highest priority.

I agree we could do with a RW and I’m on board with bringing in Sancho, but not if it meant (which it may not) we miss out on a proper CF from the same club who looks sure to be available this summer. And it’s not as though there’s no future for Greenwood and Diallo at United. Both are very promising prospects for us. Despite the dropoff in scoring this season, Greenwood has done a very solid for us this season and last season at RW. As for Diallo, it seems to me he should be given a chance.

But let’s say I’m wrong about all that, that we have huge holes at all of CB, RB, DM and RW.

Where there can be no doubt whatsoever is that we have a huge hole at CF. We know that Rashford and Martial are not built for that job. They prefer playing on the left and cutting in, creating chances and do a very nice job of it. We’re sorted at LW. That leaves us with Greenwood (Cavani is old, injury prone and is at best a backup, if he even remains), who could grow into the job of CF but I don’t think anyone would argue that he’s a nailed on world class finisher.

A world class finisher can push us forward from the dismal 0-0 results in matches where we created chances but couldn’t finish. Of course we’d like to bring in 3 or 4 players to fill the holes, but there’s no doubt our most gaping hole is at CF. Martial isn’t it. Greenwood isn’t it. Hugill is very promising, if there’s a chance to bring in Haaland you don’t pass up on him because we have Martial, Greenwood or Hugill. You don’t pass up on Haaland if it’s a choice between Haaland or Rice, or Haaland. But we may have no shot at Haaland, in which case I endorse bringing in Rice over a CB and over cover at RB. And probably over Sancho too, although I could be persuaded otherwise.
 

Poborsky's hair

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I still think we should look at the bigger picture. We as a unit are not good enough because of poor coaching simply put. We could make our team of inconsistent players look much better in a better organized system which is not applied now. Our off the ball movement is shambolic and it starts from the front, not even Rashford can press lately, not talking about lazy-ass Martial and not exactly full of running and dynamism Greenwood. And that starts from the front, we as a unit play just shite football based on individual brilliance of certain players who are decent when in possession but hardly you can blame just midfield for some players shy of wanting to ever win the ball back. You can't have 11 full of "headless" chickens but only Fred and Fernandes are willing to put the work in while off the ball, really. Cavani looked fitter than the front three we have now and he's 33 and won't last long anyway. Then you have players like Lindelof who dislike defending and are unable to defend on the front foot.

Football has moved on and simply having players with attacking talent is not good enough. The best teams in the world are full of running, grit and determination, they don't exactly have Xavi's Inesta's or Scholeses in midfield. It's about the whole unit, not just midfield. I think while our midfield could be upgraded with less slow, intelligent and technically much better passers over the likes of McTominay and Matic who really should be 5th, 6th choice for a team of our ambition, it's still not that bad at times and what I find really shocking is our front 4,5 this year. Our numbers are pretty good but the amount of chances we missed the number of runs not made, the shambolic off the ball movement and wastfulnes in possession.

If you look at the midfield which made Liverpool and City dominate Premier league and Champions league, it's hardly something extra on the paper and question marks should be asked elsewhere.
 

croadyman

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We do need any more midfielders. We need a balanced starting center back pair and a right winger. That is where all our problems lie.
Are you actually joking we are garbage on the ball when Pogba isn't there and we simply have to stop playing 2 holding mids after this season because so many times it leaves Bruno totally isolated due to no connect
 

Poborsky's hair

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I'm only nervous if Fred gets the ball in tight spaces. McTominay and Matic have shown that they have the skill to manoeuvre their way out of those spots.
What a BS, it's the latter two which lost the ball many more times wither driving forward or with their shambolic passing and inability to defend despite being considered as "DMs" rather than Fred manouevering out of midfield. When did that happen for the last time? Are you 80 years old senile senior who remembers 5 first games of a player in the league or what?

This stereotype must end. Same as Matic being DM and some sort of creative force he can't cover the ground to save his life, players glides past him, he often loses his player and takes ages to make anything with the ball which hardly makes him any sort of DLP either, he's just a CM who should play in a midtable club in Italy to match his tempo really.

McTominay on the other hand is praised for who knows what. He's considered good at taking the ball forward yet his first touch is very inconsistent, and he's getting disposessed very often too but hardly anyone blames him because of extreme bias towards some players.

Fernandes himself is absolutely wasteful and starts many dangerous counter attacks we have to defend but everyone easily forget when he scores his penalty but if we took him from the duty he would produce absolute average numbers too for the most risky taking and creative player in the biggest attacking force in the country, you expect him to do that simply.
 

Rilz

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Fred and mctominay arent good enough technically, simple as that..
 

Zen86

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You know, this is the thing. My agenda is I want United to be the best team in Europe.

I have no other agenda. But it seems if anyone has an opinion & people like you don't like it, it gets branded as an 'agenda'

Get over yourself & wise up. If you disagree with me that's fine, state why you disagree rather than come off with stupid comments like 'agenda'

I have given you the reason why I think our no. 9 doesn't score goals. If you think differently that's fine.

I would just like to know why you think Fred & mctominey are good enough & are they players you'd expect to see at Chelsea, city, real Madrid, bayarn Munich, juventus etc?
Pulling up Harry Kane’s chances per game metric as a way to point a finger at Fred and McTominay is twisting stats to fit your agenda. Either that or complete idiotic. Pick one.