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2020-21 Performances


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Rozay

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I don't see Hannibal as being that player. For me, he's a Pogba-lite though not as complete (though who is?).

Any three of Garner, Levitt or Galbraith could do that job but I think it depends on how they progress beyond the loan spells in the case of the first two, and into next season in the case of the latter. An experienced head in that position would be the best purchase, but after Matic's contract last year, I think we're going to push through until he's in the last year of his contract.

Who knows, maybe our long-term plan isn't a 4-3-3, but instead a 4-2-3-1 with a mobile, high energy pivot with quality on and off the ball?
I don’t see him as a Carrick or Pirlo, no - but I don’t see him as a 10. I see him as an 8 who will get involved on the ball all over the pitch and have the quality to pop a pass off long or short or skip around one or two when he gets it. This keeps us moving all the time. This is what Pogba offers us that the others don’t. I see Hannibal as that type potentially, but no, not the same profile as say, Garner.

I want a midfielder who will have the highest amount of touches/passes in the team most games. This is Pogba typically. He is trusted to receive it and share it all over the pitch. Would anyone be comfortable if we came out of most games with Fred or McTominay having the most touches in our team? It isn’t the recipe for a high quality team for me.
 

rotherham_red

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I don’t see him as a Carrick or Pirlo, no - but I don’t see him as a 10. I see him as an 8 who will get involved on the ball all over the pitch and have the quality to pop a pass off long or short or skip around one or two when he gets it. This keeps us moving all the time. This is what Pogba offers us that the others don’t. I see Hannibal as that type potentially, but no, not the same profile as say, Garner.

I want a midfielder who will have the highest amount of touches/passes in the team most games. This is Pogba typically. He is trusted to receive it and share it all over the pitch. Would anyone be comfortable if we came out of most games with Fred or McTominay having the most touches in our team? It isn’t the recipe for a high quality team for me.
Yeah, I agree, but Pogba in a pivot isn't as strong as he would be as a purer 8 in a 3 man midfield. Like you say, Hannibal is of that ilk but I wouldn't necessarily have him as a player to play in a pivot either. Or at least not yet.

I agree that we want someone who is dominant there, but if, as I suspect, we're going to be going down the route of a double pivot, then we'd need that player to have the requisite quality off the ball as well as on it. Pogba, for me is too up and down in his application off the ball for it to be anything more than a sticking plaster. I'd say Saul would be the perfect fit for that position.
 

Handré1990

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Tbh, I do worry whether we are actually looking for this type. We’re rarely said to be interested in this type of player. It’s either a hard running defensive type or a number 10 who can make a difference - but very rarely are we said to be simply looking for a midfielder who can do some darn ‘midfielding’. Except the occasional links to Saúl perhaps.

I just want someone who occupies the considerable midfield space behind Bruno who is comfortable on the ball, happy to be the person who has the most touches of the ball in our team in all areas who can manipulate it 5 yards and not just 40. We need a midfielder who can play the short game I think, someone with intricacy who can evade the press.

What I’d give for Frenkie De Jong! Or a Verratti who can stay fit. Or if we’re dreaming - Paul Scholes! I think our midfield options bar Pogba are more about moments to decide a game rather than control it.
Excellent post! It has been and still is detrimental to our ability to really dominate and control games. On all levels. Against any team. All the best teams have this imo.
 
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Rozay

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Yeah, I agree, but Pogba in a pivot isn't as strong as he would be as a purer 8 in a 3 man midfield. Like you say, Hannibal is of that ilk but I wouldn't necessarily have him as a player to play in a pivot either. Or at least not yet.

I agree that we want someone who is dominant there, but if, as I suspect, we're going to be going down the route of a double pivot, then we'd need that player to have the requisite quality off the ball as well as on it. Pogba, for me is too up and down in his application off the ball for it to be anything more than a sticking plaster. I'd say Saul would be the perfect fit for that position.
Agree with every word of that, including your shout for Saúl. I still prefer the 433 to the 4231 personally, although I can’t see that happening now with Bruno here. I feel it is a contributing factor to out lack of control over a football match. Bruno is a nominal midfielder, and we don’t have enough players close enough to each other in the middle of the park to make keeping the ball easier. As a result, all of our passes seem to be 15-20 yards in midfield, which of course makes them more likely to be intercepted or simply be inaccurate than a 7 yard pass.

We could still play with the orthodox 10 and retain control if we were looking to do what Pep does and bring a full back inside when in possession. This would suit Luke Shaw perfectly I think.
 

laughtersassassin

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Thinking of challenging for the title with a midfield of McTominay/Fred next year is delusional. A Pogba replacement is as important as a dominant CB or a top striker
Someone with sense on here.

A Pogba replacement is vital.

But if we can get a DM with a really good passing ability that can be the Pogba replacement.
 

rotherham_red

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Agree with every word of that, including your shout for Saúl. I still prefer the 433 to the 4231 personally, although I can’t see that happening now with Bruno here. I feel it is a contributing factor to out lack of control over a football match. Bruno is a nominal midfielder, and we don’t have enough players close enough to each other in the middle of the park to make keeping the ball easier. As a result, all of our passes seem to be 15-20 yards in midfield, which of course makes them more likely to be intercepted or simply be inaccurate than a 7 yard pass.

We could still play with the orthodox 10 and retain control if we were looking to do what Pep does and bring a full back inside when in possession. This would suit Luke Shaw perfectly I think.
Definitely, and likewise I agree with what you've just said as well, particularly on the formation and the potential of Shaw being an inverted fullback with a 10. The 4-3-3 is the perfect system for us, but for one reason or another Ole has shied away from playing it ever since Herrera intimated he was off to pastures new.

I was hoping that we would start to change that this season, but it hasn't happened. For me, I still have hope that Garner is the long-term replacement for Matic (though probably still a year or so away from really staking a claim), as I think he has it within him to have a near enough complete skillset as the 6/8 hybrid in either a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. I think a midfield pivot of Garner-Mejbri in the long-term would cover pretty much every base and every tactical setup we could want to play.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Thinking of challenging for the title with a midfield of McTominay/Fred next year is delusional. A Pogba replacement is as important as a dominant CB or a top striker
Whatever happens with Pogba, we need to prepare for a future without Matic. Who has been just as influential as Pogba at times these last couple of seasons.
 

MadDogg

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Who knows, maybe our long-term plan isn't a 4-3-3, but instead a 4-2-3-1 with a mobile, high energy pivot with quality on and off the ball?
I think that's quite clearly the case. Bruno is perfectly suited to #10 and it's obviously working, so we're not going to change that aspect of the team. That means that the other two midfielders will both sit deeper and should be both solid defensively (which we normally get with McFred although they can be caught out positionally at times) and solid on the ball. The latter is obviously where McFred struggles - we can probably fit one of them in the midfield if they are partnered by somebody who has more ability on the ball but both of them together obviously has a weakness. McTominay in particular, although he has shown recent improvements and I hope that it continues.
 

Rozay

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Whatever happens with Pogba, we need to prepare for a future without Matic. Who has been just as influential as Pogba at times these last couple of seasons.
Think it’s more of a present without Matic than a future. He’s not been a serious option this season really.