Static, slow motion zombie passing

noodlehair

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Is it just me, or is anyone else not really a big fan of this new, ultra depressing method of football we seem to have invented since around the time of the Liverpool game at OT last season, and have worryingly carried into the pre-season with us?

Basically, all of our players stand perfectly still, except for the one who actually has the ball (and Danny Welbeck). Then the one with the ball just passes it sideways to the person next to him, who maybe moves a little bit, and then passes it sideways to the person next to him again, really slowly.

This then carries on for a bit until Scholes picks it up and spanks a diagonal pass to the person standing perfectly still on the wing, despite the fact they're marked, due to being stood completely still the whole time...then they either put an unthreatening ball into the box or just pass it back to the person inside them again.

At no point is this done at any kind of threatening pace or involving any form of off the ball movement at all.

What's the thinking behind it? Do we think it makes us look like Spain? Only, Spain constantly have three or four people moving and running off and around the ball. We just have Danny Welbeck or Kagawa, trying to create space for themselves, by themselves.
 

Snow

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There should definitely be some more crossing. If not only to disorganize the defense of the other team. Hard and low crosses. That's usually what United end up doing when nothing is working but they should start doing it a bit earlier, mix it up a bit. Valerenga weren't a big threat counter-attacking.
 

marjen

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Well, neither one of our two starting midfielders are excactly the most mobile. Sometimes I'd wish one of them would just burst forward on a run, or at least not stand in a straight line in CM, no matter how good they are at controlling the tempo of the game.

It's why a central midfield of Ando/Cleverley at the start of last season was so refreshing, even though it was suicidal at times. I secretly hope Fergie will adopt the same approach for a whole season, even though we got spanked by City at OT.
 

wr8_utd

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I don't want to see something like that Ando/Cleverley partnership for a whole season. We were overrun in midfield and were letting in far too many shots on target, even from inside the box.
 

Robbie Boy

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I don't want to see something like that Ando/Cleverley partnership for a whole season. We were overrun in midfield and were letting in far too many shots on target, even from inside the box.
That success was short lived.
 

KingEric7

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It feels weird saying it, but we're like this when we play through Rooney a lot of the time. Rooney needs to be up top as the main front man, and Nani and Kagawa need to be encouraged to do whatever the feck they want.

Unless Rooney is on top form, playing him through the middle can really slow us down and make us quite predictable. It's only become noticeable with the Kagawa signing just how much this has been the case.
 

DevilRed

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To a certain extent its down to us relying on wingers to provide the final ball. When Kagawa came on we definately showed a different dimension and went through the middle alot more.
 

gooDevil

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While I certainly don't have the tactical knowledge to really analyze out attack, it certainly seems to me that we're too static at times. It seems that there's usually only 1 player who will move toward the ball and look for a pass when we're playing from the back, and the other players do not move in response if he is played the ball.

We did score a ton of goals last season though, so we have to be doing something right. But there's always room for improvement, and I'd like to see several attackers making themselves available at all times, and I'd like to see a sense of synchronization in the movement, players need to react to each pass immediately to create new passing lanes and move into the space as the defense reacts.
 

noodlehair

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I don't want to see something like that Ando/Cleverley partnership for a whole season. We were overrun in midfield and were letting in far too many shots on target, even from inside the box.
I'd rather that than the complete shite we're serving up now instead.

Besides, the static football approach isn't exactly all conquering. As soon as teams push on to us, things like losing to Wigan and drawing 4-4 at home to Everton happen.

It's only really a viable tactic if every single team we play decides to worship us as gods and lay down and let us mope unenergetically all over them.
 

Godfather

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Our off the ball movement has been a bit shit for more than a year now. Nothing new tbh. And without movement and players making themselves available it's hard to play quickly.

Just watch the Kagawa highlights and take a look at other players and who is making himself available for a pass. It was only Kagawa, Nani and for a few moments Rooney.
 

noodlehair

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I agree, but it became noticably worse and worse towards the end of last season. It's a bit embarassing now.

This is supposed to be one of the best groups of players in the world, and it's basic stuff that you'd expect from any group of half decent footballers. They just seem to think they can stand there and knock the ball around aimlessly, and the space will create itself.

Last season CLeverley lifted the team up a level just by actualy moving off the ball. If that has to happen again whoever he replaces just shouldn't get their place back at all this time.

Younger players come in and show you up - no reaction
Other teams significantly and obviously better than you at playing through midfield - no reaction
Lose league title on goal difference whilst spending games pissing around with the ball - apparently no reaction.

I'm a fan of Carrick but really if him and Scholes being in the same midfield means no movement at all from anyone (same as when he's partnered with Fletcher), they simply shouldn't be playing together. Because if it's a kick up the arse thing there's been more than enough warnings to get the message now.
 

JakeC

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I agree, but it became noticably worse and worse towards the end of last season. It's a bit embarassing now.

This is supposed to be one of the best groups of players in the world, and it's basic stuff that you'd expect from any group of half decent footballers. They just seem to think they can stand there and knock the ball around aimlessly, and the space will create itself.

Last season CLeverley lifted the team up a level just by actualy moving off the ball. If that has to happen again whoever he replaces just shouldn't get their place back at all.
Ando moves off the ball a fair bit, so does Welbz
 

noodlehair

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Ando moves off the ball a fair bit, so does Welbz
Anderson does it really well when he's playing well, and not really at all when he's playing badly. Welbeck never stops running to be fair to him, but that just shows the others up even more.

Kagawa looks like the most talented footballer in our midfield already, and he's not really done anything other than pass the ball to the person right next to him and then actually move somewhere useful to get it back. It's not anything amazing. It's the fecking standard thing you'd expect any player in that area of the pitch to do.

Cleverley's also really good at it...but then that's it. There's not even an attempt from anyone else.

I'd do what we did at the start of last season and shove them all in the team together, and not take them out again until the players they replace actually react.

Last season as soon as we brought other players back in, we went back to being static, and then even kicked it into underdrive. It's like Darron Gibson has infected everyone.
 

Godfather

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It was a pre-season friendly after all, let's wait and see how we approach the new season.
 

noodlehair

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It was a pre-season friendly after all, let's wait and see how we approach the new season.
It's been four pre-season games now (albeit only one with the full squad)...and the fact it's pre-season doesn't seem to stop Welbeck or Kagawa from doing the basics, and it didn't stop Ando or Cleverley last year either. Nor does it seem to stop players at other clubs.

It just seems to be the standard way of playing we've slipped into...do nothing for a bit, give the ball to Scholes, expect him to create an opening despite no one making a run. (result = Scholes repeatedly spanking pointless balls out wide to the wingers)
 

::sonny::

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Terrible game, lack of quality everywhere.
I save only Vidic, Scholes, Powell.
 

Ash_G

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At the end of games we do seems to sit back and slow the game down a bit ott, but then that's probably tied up in us virtually going down a gear or two as soon as we get a goal.

On the issue of scholes and carrick, if scholes is playing you're simply not going to get that sort of style because he doesn't have the energy or pace for it. Now and again he'll do little bursts but he can't and shouldn't be expected to do it on a regular basis. Another impact of his lack of speed/energy is that he can't be trusted to hold the fort on a regular basis so that means his partner has to stay deep as well. If you took out carrick and put in clev and clev tried to play as he usually does we'd probably end up with scholes getting sent off in most games, we'd be on the back foot more than we should at the very least.

On the flip side though today was a classic example of how much scholes brings against certain teams. Easily our best player and had the front four been better with their end product we'd have scored for fun. Scholes's ability to switch the ball gave our wingers and full backs plenty of time and opportunities to take their man on. It's something no one else can do anywhere near as well as him and as I said against certain teams it's a massive weapon.
 

Randall Flagg

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So, I fell asleep after about 10 mins and missed the entire game.

Is there anything in it worth watching again?
 

Eriku

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I disagree... I thought we looked quite playful at times, and with so many people fresh back from their rest I wouldn't expect things to click properly just yet.

That plus Vålerenga do have more about them than our previous opponents, and are in the middle of their domestic season. I see no reason to be gloomy, I'm sure we'll be up to scratch by the time the season starts.
 

Ash_G

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I didn't think we were that bad, there were moments off poor play but that was more to do with rustiness than lack of quality. We created some good stuff and were mostly missing that little bit of luck. Not to mention that they defended well and in large numbers.
 

Sonny Feehan

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Rooney seems to have got it into his head or he is following orders that he is some form of midfield maestro. Well he isn't. His passing isn't good enough and his movement too predictable.
Whatever happened to the Rooney we used to know and love? Fastening on to long balls, harassing defenders and refs, shooting on sight, and above all, scoring goals.Almost like he has had the footballing equivalent of a lobotomy
.
Not knocking his effort but why the hell should he be clearing a ball off our goal line. Stick him up front where he belongs
 

noodlehair

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It was the same for most of last season. I'm saying more it's a worry that it's STILL not been addressed rather than it's something that's cropped up in pre-season. Although our form in pre-season does seem to carry over into the season itself more often than not too.

I find it a chore watching us play these days to be honest. No one moves and we pass the ball much slower and less purposefully than any other side at a similar level to us. It only seems to change when we get two or three of the younger players in the side and linking up in the middle third of the pitch....or when we start panicking.

Otherwise the game is a complete deadzone whenever we have the ball. We pass it with literally zero purpose other than for passing's sake, then just lump it out wide and let Valencia, Nani or Young try and beat their men on their own. It's nearly always Scholes that lumps it out wide too. Pretty much all you have to do is mark him (which is pretty easy when none of our players are moving anywhere), or just stand someone near our wingers to cut out the passes, and we just seem to fall apart.

I've been impressed by Kagawa, but he shouldn't be able to look like a fecking god just by moving into useful positions to receive the ball. All of our players should be doing this. It's a fecking basic requirement for any team that doesn't want to play like Stoke or England.
 

Plechazunga

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I think AshG gets to the nub of the matter. It's about Scholes, and it comes down to these things:

1) He's not that mobile anymore

so

2) He plays from deep

but

3) He can't defend

but

4) He's still easily our best midfielder and quite often our best player

Added to which, Carrick will tend to defer to him, and is deep-lying himself, so when they play together there's a lot of flat passing between them. What we could really do with is Carrick pushing up, or a centre-half stepping out, but they can't because 3).

I don't think the rest of the side's a problem... Nani, Rooney and Welbeck move, Hernandez moves, Giggs moves, Evra moves too much. Young and Valencia can be a bit static in the positions they take up I guess, though both show good movement once they're actually involved in a move.
 

ghaliboy

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Lol I still think it's a bit arrogant to dismiss pre-season as pointless.

The results, yes but these games are for new signings to get familiar and for the team to get cohesive and move their fitness through the early part of the seasons.

Plech I don't think Carrick can play further up the field. He just doesn't have the ball skills or the confidence on the ball to work under pressure. With Scholes lack of mobility it makes our offence get a bit 'spread' at times.

I'd enjoy someone with the mobility of Cleverley and Carrick. Anderson is somewhat the same but does not have the positional discipline that Cleverley has.

Noodle, I can only describe it how I think it is; We're creative as a team but when it comes down to it we don't have very many single players that are creative as a player or 'make something happen'.

I do notice a lot of dishing off and 'you do it' in some of the play. It's infuriating at times.
 

VeevaVee

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Wrote a post out. Pressed backspace, page went back. Lost the post. Twat.
Everyone assume it was brilliant and agree/green smiley.
 

Sonny Feehan

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There's no point in over-analysing pointless friendlies.
You may be right but last year we carried our pre-season form into the regular season. I just hope we don't do it this season. Irrespective of results, it's shite to watch
 

Rowem

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Hopefully by the end of pre-season we'll be scoring goals and looking good. Not bothered about the first few games.