Parked bus conundrum - Is Harry Maguire the answer?

Redguern

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Since the Chelsea win, a lot of poster are (fairly) pointing out that getting the first goal allowed us to play on the counter, which suits the style of play that Ole is developing.

Before the Rashford penalty, we certainly couldn't say we were dominant but playing on the break, with Pogba quarter-backing, the pace and directness of Martial and Rashford was a real threat and their final product also very encouraging.

The note of caution everyone seems to raise is that we won't always have the luxury of playing on the counter, with many teams in the Prem likely to be content to sit back against us in a 'low block'. The worry seems to be that we lack the creativity to break the deadlock in such matches. This in turn can lead to us becoming increasingly vulnerable ourselves on the break as we press forward ever more aggressively in search of a goal.

We all recognise how valuable Harry Maguire's natural defensive ability and ball distribution from the back should be to a team that demonstrated weakness in both areas last season. However, I believe that big Harry will also add an offensive dimension sorely lacking in this team too - a set piece threat. The following stats are taken from a recent BBC Sport piece on the Maguire transfer:

Since 2016 he has directly contributed to 13 goals for Leicester - seven goals and six assists. Of the players below, only Sergio Ramos (17) has managed more.

Goals, assists and total since 2016-17
Maguire G7 A6 T13
Van Dijk G5 A2 T7
Laporte G5 A4 T9
Ramos G17 A2 T19
Koulibaly G9 A3 T12
Hummels G3 A3 T6
Kompany G5 A1 T6
Pique G8 A2 T10
De Ligt G8 A3 T11

Considering Harry's performances are at Leicester, who are hardly likely to be creating as many set-piece opportunities as Real, Barca, Bayern, Liverpool or City, his offensive stats look even more impressive.

If we can make the most of his undoubted prowess in this department then the 'parked the bus' scenario should present much less of a problem than many fear. Harry Maguire could make the difference at both ends of the pitch this season for United. If he does and this translates to significantly more points won in the league then his transfer fee of £80m will start to look a lot more reasonable!
 

AshRK

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He will definitely score a few. Even then we need to improve our delivery from set pieces. Hopefully we are working on that in training.
 

ChaddyP

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A team with Dan James to win free kicks and Andreas to kick them could see Harry with a Hattrick :drool:
 

P-Nut

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From free kicks sure, from corners the slopes at OT will cause problems as always
 

mattsville

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Not just set pieces though folks, when teams are defending way deep against us, he has the calm and comfort on the ball to carry it forward like a midfielder drawing out a defender to create gaps, leave Wan Bissaka to cover him if he gets the momentum going on a run.
 

DWelbz19

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17 goals from Ramos in the past 3 seasons. What a monster.
 

DiseaseOfTheAge

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It seemed very clear that we're going to use Maguire as an attacking option, from the Chelsea game.
 

Andersons Dietician

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@Redguern I wouldn’t say that Chelsea performance was indicative of our style going forward and more Ole saw Chelsea were leaving so many gaps he decided to change things to a more traditional counter attacking style instead of pressing as high as we have been doing in ore season.

Pre season we’ve squeezed the space had our defenders beyond or on the half way line and harried people in to making mistakes and giving the ball away out of desperation. I’m not overly concerned about people playing a low block against us as I think now with the intensity, pressing and speed we’ve been moving the ball at we will cause these teams no end of problems. The reason we have struggled in recent years was a lack of a creative spark in LVG’s United to take the initiative or drive the ball forward and in Jose’s team we took so long to get it back to front and had our players hanging back we allowed teams to settle.

Hopefully that won’t be happening from here on out but yes Harry Maguire can pretty much be the new Fellaini in the box at set pieces which will help us without the draw back of having to have Fellaini in the team.
 

adexkola

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And no, a single central defender is not the answer to the conondrum of the parked bus. Your midfield needs to be really good at applying pressure on the other team without turning over the ball too much (looking at you Pogba).
 

RedCurry

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Of course not. Even if he gets us 4 goals this season, that's likely not the "answer" to parked buses. It will be a good alternative source of goals against any team but it cannot be our main weapon. The answer to parked bus is quick overlapping runs and accurate crosses from wide as well as measured passes centrally. Once in a while you will get a goal from set-piece or a long range shot but those are low probability goals.
 

TRUERED89

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We’ll find out against Wolves next game. They will certainly park up and play on the counter!
 

SaintMuppet

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Jesus ‘Harry’ Christ to the rescue again.

The answer to parked buses is having creativity along the front line, move the defense around, sucking teams out of shape etc. freekicks etc should be a part but not the whole of our plan.

Having to hit teams with the ‘Slabhammer’ for 90 minutes is not very evolved and probably not very entertaining. I really hope we have a better plan than that. An injury to the hammer and we are fooked.

I fear United will be playing first goal wins all season, in that if we go ahead teams come out and we profit. We go down and teams camp we will lose a lot of points...
 

11101

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You don't rely on a central defender to get you goals, to combat teams that sit back against us we need a creative and technical front line. Last year anything we did there was quickly broken down by the likes of Lukaku. We should be much better this year.
 

nainaisson

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You don't rely on a central defender to get you goals, to combat teams that sit back against us we need a creative and technical front line. Last year anything we did there was quickly broken down by the likes of Lukaku. We should be much better this year.
Inevitably, we'll have days where our link up play in the final third is garbage (like the last time we played at Wolves), which is why I wanted us to keep Lukaku or acquire someone similar as a Plan B. When our only hope is the direct route, it'd be nice to have Lukaku or Fellaini around. But now it's Plan A or bust, it seems.
 

Brwned

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Pique has been "involved with" only 3 fewer goals over the past 3 seasons and I wouldn't remotely consider him a decisive player. A few goals a season will be nice, and set piece goals have decided many big games, but it's not going to have a remotely transformative effect.
 

wolvored

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Inevitably, we'll have days where our link up play in the final third is garbage (like the last time we played at Wolves), which is why I wanted us to keep Lukaku or acquire someone similar as a Plan B. When our only hope is the direct route, it'd be nice to have Lukaku or Fellaini around. But now it's Plan A or bust, it seems.
Lukaku wouldnt have stopped here to sit on the bench anyhow. Its best to have players who can play more than one type of attack and Rashford Martial and even James can chase a route 1 ball
 

wolvored

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We’ll find out against Wolves next game. They will certainly park up and play on the counter!
Couldnt pick a better opponent really to see how far we have come. They have bested us a few times, so we owe them one.
 

Dread Devil

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I agree with the OP and have mentioned it in the Solskjaer thread. I think that is exactly why we were so adamant about Maguire. We could have gone for cheaper younger options but he is so good with his head defensively and offensively.

When things are tight and we are trying to break teams down, a free kick or corner from Perreira who can actually pick out his head for a knock down or goal attempt will make a huge difference.

Defensively we conceded from crosses when the other “smaller”teams counter attacked, they knew that was a weakness of ours.

He will make a huge difference for us, especially as De Gea isn’t great from crosses.
 

Eckers99

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Not only can he run the ball out of tight areas but he can switch play with long diagonal balls out wide. Could be devastatingly effective with the likes of Rashford and James running the channels.
 

11101

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Inevitably, we'll have days where our link up play in the final third is garbage (like the last time we played at Wolves), which is why I wanted us to keep Lukaku or acquire someone similar as a Plan B. When our only hope is the direct route, it'd be nice to have Lukaku or Fellaini around. But now it's Plan A or bust, it seems.
The Lukaku we had last season isn't capable of doing any route. His hold up play was non existent and if we simply want someone to run at defenders we have plenty of other options.
 

Amerifan

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Why would teams park the bus against us when the past few years our defense has been suspect and we haven’t scored a lot of goals. Until we demonstrate we have indeed addressed those issues, which I fully believe we have, I expect we will park the bus more often than teams will park it against us.
 

NoPace

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I think the way this should work is that if we're battering a team AND they're sitting deep but we can't score, you throw Maguire up top, take off one of Martial, Lingard or James or Pereira or whoever is tiring, and AWB goes to CB (where he'd be great snuffing out counter attacks like Pep bought Kyle Walker to do basically) and Dalot comes on to play RB very high up the pitch.

I'll add that from everything I've seen in preseason, Mata and Greenwood should probably be out there too since Mata can still pick a pass and knows how to move off the ball and Greenwood's movement in the box is already much better than Martial's and probably at least as good as Rashford's.

Basically, 10-15 minutes of this if it's 0-0 against Burnley at home and we've got them pegged deep:

---------Maguire-
--------Greenwood--
Rashford----------Mata
----Pogba-McTominay-Dalot
Shaw---Lindelof---AWB

The Black are the subs if you assume that Martial and 2 of Lingard/James/Gomes/Pereira are starting in the 4-2-3-1 we've played all preseason and against Chelsea.
 

BigBebe

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The 'parked bus' scenario is why I would like to see Gomes either in the first team or at least on the bench.

With his quick movement and dribbling ability, he has our best chance of breaking down stubborn defences (more so than say, Martial whose dribbling style is a bit too predictable).
 

Vissy

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We have creative players. Mata central, Rashford LW, Martial up top and probably Pereira RW. We can then sub Gomes in for probably Pereira. I think Mata, Gomes and Pereira are our best chances at unlocking packed and well-organized defences as they all bring different stuff to the table. Pereira has a great long-range shot on him as well so if he manages to find a bit of flow during the game it might just be bang bang bang from distance.
 

AgentP

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Maguire can get us a few goals for sure but he's no answer to our lack of creativity on the pitch. To break down stubborn teams, what we need is proper training drills and creative players on the pitch.

Players like Gomes, Greenwood, Chong and Sanchez(hopefully) should be used when facing 2 walls of defenders as they can add that bit of unpredictability to our attack.
 

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If a team drops off the only aspect that will get us to win games is coaching. You cannot ask for players to use their intuition when playing against structured opposition with three or so players covering a specific area.

The biggest issue we have at this club is no wide players, when city are playing against low blocks it's not their midfield who unlocks the spaces it's always either Sterling, Mahrez or Bernardo Silva. The same for Liverpool, Mane / Salah break defensive lines and stretch the pattern of play. Liverpool are considerably more fortunate because they have Trent outwide who offers much dynamism with his passing range. We are going to struggle the entirety of the season in these situations if Solskjaer hasn't come up with a solution to get the team to play through compressed defences. It's why im not optimistic against Wolves, they play exactly the way we intend out of possession but they are also better than us in possession too.
 

adexkola

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If a team drops off the only aspect that will get us to win games is coaching. You cannot ask for players to use their intuition when playing against structured opposition with three or so players covering a specific area.

The biggest issue we have at this club is no wide players, when city are playing against low blocks it's not their midfield who unlocks the spaces it's always either Sterling, Mahrez or Bernardo Silva. The same for Liverpool, Mane / Salah break defensive lines and stretch the pattern of play. Liverpool are considerably more fortunate because they have Trent outwide who offers much dynamism with his passing range. We are going to struggle the entirety of the season in these situations if Solskjaer hasn't come up with a solution to get the team to play through compressed defences. It's why im not optimistic against Wolves, they play exactly the way we intend out of possession but they are also better than us in possession too.
I agree with everything you've said except the bolded.

From switching the flank to pinning opposition players to threading the needle, City's midfield is integral in breaking down parked buses. Of course, the wide players are also key in stretching the field.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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He certainly adds an aerial threat, and as you said, in certain games, especially when we're up against teams we're struggling to break down, set pieces could prove to be the difference. Only thing is, we haven't really got a set piece specialist, but i'm sure we're working on strategies in training. You could see from the game against Chelsea that we tried to specifically target Maguire.
 

KanieKaned

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He will definitely score a few. Even then we need to improve our delivery from set pieces. Hopefully we are working on that in training.
This has been a huge issue for us for a number of years. The first phase from set pieces in particular corners is poison. We’ve relied heavily on the second phase for getting goals. If we have better delivery this season Maguire should get goals and become a nuisance for opposition defences.

I will hold my breath for the moment though as I am not sure who is gonna be that guy to offer up a great delivery for him.
 

Nikelesh Reddy

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Having a top class ball playing CB will unquestionably give us another avenue to play against teams that park the bus.Maguire will make a huge difference....