Playing against low-block teams

DRJosh

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A low block coupled with AWB as the attacking full back is not a good mix
AWB looks jittery every time he ventures forward. He has always been more comfortable in his own half. We really need to sort the full back issue if counter-attacking is going to be a vital part of our game.

I was particularly amazed at how many times AWB decided to cut back rather than take on a player. It’s almost as if the rest of the team are resigned to his lack of attacking prowess and typically opt to go through the left with Rashford, Telles and Shaw.

Just imagine if we had a prime-Evra type of player bombing forward at every opportunity.
 

NoPace

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AWB looks jittery every time he ventures forward. He has always been more comfortable in his own half. We really need to sort the full back issue if counter-attacking is going to be a vital part of our game.

I was particularly amazed at how many times AWB decided to cut back rather than take on a player. It’s almost as if the rest of the team are resigned to his lack of attacking prowess and typically opt to go through the left with Rashford, Telles and Shaw.

Just imagine if we had a prime-Evra type of player bombing forward at every opportunity.
The other big problem here is that good teams (we saw this in the CL) will force the ball from left to right when they defend from the front when they're behind the ball and allow Wan-Bissaka the freedom to look up and hit a pass forward and he's not up to it.
 

morbidsaint

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Imagine if we had fullbacks like those two Liverpool got. Todays game would be over at half-time. And it seems clear to me by Ole's half-time sub today that he is fully aware of this problem. I think we might need to invest in at least 1 right-side fullback before we invest in midfielders or wingers.
 

Red-17

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Imagine if we had fullbacks like those two Liverpool got. Todays game would be over at half-time. And it seems clear to me by Ole's half-time sub today that he is fully aware of this problem. I think we might need to invest in at least 1 right-side fullback before we invest in midfielders or wingers.
Agreed. I think Shaw has stepped up his game with the competition from Telles, and I think AWB could benefit the same. He's played nearly every game for us which by itself isn't ideal, and he also doesn't really have any competition for his place. I think we'd certainly benefit from getting an attack minded right back to at least push him to step up his game. It would also be nice to be able to bring on an attacking fullback in games we need a goal just to give us a different option off the bench apart from swapping one forward for another.
 

justsomebloke

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You know I completely forgot about the City game because they're not a park the bus side, but that's another game to add to the list we've not threatened enough.

As for whether they're exceptions, that's 6 out of 15 league games where we've attacked really, really poorly - Palace, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Brom, City and Wolves.

Does 6/15 count as outliers? Maybe it's a normal ratio for top teams, I'm not sure. I do think if we want to ascend seriously I'd want to us improve our "bottom level". We can't be having games where we don't look a threat as often as we are surely? It's not just that 6 out of 15 we were below our usual level, that's 6 out of 15 games where it didn't look like we had any idea how to create a chance. You can have an off game but still have some goal threat, in our off games we're shockingly impotent going forward.
Of course they're outliers. We're second in the league in goals scored. We are demonstrably not a team that has trouble creating goals. Though it may look that way if you focus only on a handful of games where we've struggled to do so.

Also, you exaggerate a great deal. We scored in 3 of those games and won two of them, so obviously we were not entirely bereft of offense. I actually thought we had a fairly good game against Chelsea, and were unlucky not to win. Other than that, everyone have games where the machine isn't clicking. And these games are also not a coherent group of games, different factors apply. Against Arsenal we used an ineffective formation. Against Palace we'd had a week of pre-season and no one was anywhere near 100%. I agree there's a point there about struggling to break down strong teams that defend low, which are three of those games. Maybe Arsenal too, if you're feeling charitable enough to consider them a strong team.
 

Godfather

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Imagine if we had fullbacks like those two Liverpool got. Todays game would be over at half-time. And it seems clear to me by Ole's half-time sub today that he is fully aware of this problem. I think we might need to invest in at least 1 right-side fullback before we invest in midfielders or wingers.
It wouldn't. Our movement isn't half as good in the box as Pool's. And although I agree that our delivery wasnt very good yesterday, the biggest problem is that er have absolutely no targets in the box apart from Cavani
 

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Everything, absolutely everything starts with our pressing which is shocking for some 10 years now, if we don´t play players who will want to win the ball quickly we will never build attacks quick enough and to open defense. I struggle to see why management can´t move forward with this. Today was the game when Ole decided to play more "creative midfield" at the expense of running power and we simply couldn´t press well as a unit. It is a pattern which is here for a long time, only a couple of players are able to do that but some are too lazy, inactive or not dynamic enough, so they re always a fraction behind the ball is played. Granted wolves kept the ball we still reacted very slow.

Only luckily won it in the dying minutes we managed to scrap the win in overal a very dull game instead of dominating the game from minute one. We should be less pragmatic and go for it. Wolves are good but not that good to adapt to their tactics..
 

Bilbo

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AWB looks jittery every time he ventures forward. He has always been more comfortable in his own half. We really need to sort the full back issue if counter-attacking is going to be a vital part of our game.

I was particularly amazed at how many times AWB decided to cut back rather than take on a player. It’s almost as if the rest of the team are resigned to his lack of attacking prowess and typically opt to go through the left with Rashford, Telles and Shaw.

Just imagine if we had a prime-Evra type of player bombing forward at every opportunity.
The funny thing about AWB is that, when he is in a spot where there is no pass on and he has to do something himself, more often than not he beats his man
 

wolvored

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It wouldn't. Our movement isn't half as good in the box as Pool's. And although I agree that our delivery wasnt very good yesterday, the biggest problem is that er have absolutely no targets in the box apart from Cavani
Exactly. I was watching some Utd from the 90s on YouTube and one of the differences was how many bodies we got into the box compared with the team now. If you only getting one or two in for a cross against 4-5 defenders and goalie you are going to have to be very lucky to score
 

DRJosh

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The funny thing about AWB is that, when he is in a spot where there is no pass on and he has to do something himself, more often than not he beats his man
I’ve noticed that a couple of times too. Maybe it’s a confidence issue rather than a lack of skill? If he adopts a more entrepreneurial approach to his attacking play, I’m sure we would be more effective and unpredictable against low-block team. I’d like to see him cut inside more often and link up with Greenwood in the box.
 

Bilbo

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I’ve noticed that a couple of times too. Maybe it’s a confidence issue rather than a lack of skill? If he adopts a more entrepreneurial approach to his attacking play, I’m sure we would be more effective and unpredictable against low-block team. I’d like to see him cut inside more often and link up with Greenwood in the box.
I think hes playing the toughest position in our team currently, so while he has obvious limitations I think some fans can be unfair with criticism.

So much of our play goes down the left. We are basically asking him to run his entire side of the pitch - be solid at the back and enterprising in attack. What he gains in having a lot of space he loses in often having very few options available to him. We rarely have a lot of presence in the box, its just not the way this team plays, so whipping in those early balls is often pointless.

He always plays better when McTominay is in the team, as Scott tends to play on his side so he can play off of him. Last night we did him no favours until Marcus moved over to that side late on.
 

Inigo Montoya

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Imagine if we had fullbacks like those two Liverpool got. Todays game would be over at half-time. And it seems clear to me by Ole's half-time sub today that he is fully aware of this problem. I think we might need to invest in at least 1 right-side fullback before we invest in midfielders or wingers.
They're both defensively not as good but oh boy on the front foot, they are something else.
 

Djemba-Djemba

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It can be very very tough to break down a well organised team parking the bus, especially when we seem to be playing a game every 48 hours at the minute and everyone is knackered.

Look at Liverpool last night, in fact look at Liverpool all season against the teams in the bottom half. They're dropped a lot of points because they've struggled to break down low block teams.

Makes the win over Wolves the other night all the sweeter.
 

Dominos

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Well, I think that was better than usual?

The 2nd half up until the goal is more like how we should be approaching breaking teams down, it actually looked like we had an idea as to how we'd create a chance and it felt like the breakthrough was likely to come at some point. Burnley were not interested in leaving their box 2nd half at 0-0 so this could very easily have turned into Istanbul away type game where we just had no clue what to do with the ball.

Tonight we used the wide areas better and created some 2v1 and overlaps out wide. We also tried some cut backs rather than lumping aimless high balls to contest.

The quality wasn't up to scratch still. A left footed right winger who can run at players would make a big difference in this team. Rashford, Martial, Greenwood and Cavani need to step it up because I don't think you can really win the league when your 4 main attacking players have been as underwhelming as these lot collectively.
 

MyOnlySolskjaer

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Well, I think that was better than usual?

The 2nd half up until the goal is more like how we should be approaching breaking teams down, it actually looked like we had an idea as to how we'd create a chance and it felt like the breakthrough was likely to come at some point. Burnley were not interested in leaving their box 2nd half at 0-0 so this could very easily have turned into Istanbul away type game where we just had no clue what to do with the ball.

Tonight we used the wide areas better and created some 2v1 and overlaps out wide. We also tried some cut backs rather than lumping aimless high balls to contest.

The quality wasn't up to scratch still. A left footed right winger who can run at players would make a big difference in this team. Rashford, Martial, Greenwood and Cavani need to step it up because I don't think you can really win the league when your 4 main attacking players have been as underwhelming as these lot collectively.
Definitely, the lineup was a big factor too. Unfortunately it only really clicked in the second half but this was clearly a game where we didn't need runners and needed more precision and Matic and Pogba were fantastic because of that.
 
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Points wise, we're probably the best team in the league at getting results against deep blocks this season, even if many of them have felt like a struggle. We've at least gotten our heads around the fact that we don't have the players to walk the ball in against these sides like City do, or bombard them with crosses like Liverpool do. Our strength is shooting, we've got a lot of players very good at creating their own shot and striking cleanly. Have to buy a ticket and all that. We've made our own luck at times.

Pogba and Matic playing the way they did today is big for us in terms of getting into good positions, both very good linebreakers when we have the majority of possession. AWB will never give us quality end-product but at the very minimum he needs to be releasing the ball quickly and making runs in games like these, today was a good game for him in that regard.
 

RedDevilCanuck

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A little better but Burnley were taking the game to us for thenfirst 15 minutes.

We need more ball carriers and players or a system to keep the ball. Cough cough Grealish.
 

The United

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A little better but Burnley were taking the game to us for thenfirst 15 minutes.

We need more ball carriers and players or a system to keep the ball. Cough cough Grealish.
They will foul the feck out of him and we would not be able to build up the play most of the time. What we need is players who can control and pass the ball better.
 

ManUArfa

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....and Solskjaer has won it!
Well, I think that was better than usual?

The 2nd half up until the goal is more like how we should be approaching breaking teams down, it actually looked like we had an idea as to how we'd create a chance and it felt like the breakthrough was likely to come at some point. Burnley were not interested in leaving their box 2nd half at 0-0 so this could very easily have turned into Istanbul away type game where we just had no clue what to do with the ball.

Tonight we used the wide areas better and created some 2v1 and overlaps out wide. We also tried some cut backs rather than lumping aimless high balls to contest.

The quality wasn't up to scratch still. A left footed right winger who can run at players would make a big difference in this team. Rashford, Martial, Greenwood and Cavani need to step it up because I don't think you can really win the league when your 4 main attacking players have been as underwhelming as these lot collectively.
Yep, those low crosses in front of their defence was a deliberate tactic against a team that thrives off heading crosses away; and it was one of these that eventually led to Pogba's goal.

While the first half wasn't as entertaining it played a vital role in our win because the switching of play across flanks eventually started to pay dividends as Burnley started tiring in the second half.
 

EvilChuck

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A little better but Burnley were taking the game to us for thenfirst 15 minutes.

We need more ball carriers and players or a system to keep the ball. Cough cough Grealish.
I think first half hour or so we played exactly how they'd expected us to, and had set up accordingly. We kept looking wide to the fullback, and giving them a chance to restructure in defence. We obviously had a plan to cross more to the edge of the box rather than let the Burnley defenders could just clear everything, but were getting to crossing positions so slowly that Burnley would have 8 players in position to deal with crosses by the time we got near their box.

From the moment of the VAR red card moment we played with a bit more directness, and went straight forward. Any time Pogba/Matic got the ball from defence first move was look forward and pass through the lines to Bruno/Martial/Rashford. That bit of extra intention in the passing gave Burnley less lime to organise themselves, and ultimately led to them leaving gaps as they chased back that Pogba was able to come into for the goal.