Tackles by attacking players

Davie Moyes

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Not really, our defensive system is clearly based around pressing for a short period of time in order to regain shape and retreat. It's not to press and recover the ball in the last third, we don't have the players to do that effectively which is quite obvious when you look at the characteristics of the players that you listed for various teams.
Just to highlight the clear strategic differences, Liverpool and City are last in tackles in their defensive third, Liverpool are in the bottom third for tackles in the middle third. While United is average or slightly above average in all stats, we have a balanced system that relies on everyone doing something different while Liverpool are done if you bypass their press which is something that we have seen the last time we played them.
Great post JP. That's the most logical explanation.

Also if Pool or City forwards don't successfully tackle in their press, they end up tactically fouling to stop counter attacks. This will contribute to them making less tackles in the last third.
 

harms

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You’re really just demonstrating what we all know already and what this thread is about. Bruno works considerably harder than Rashford and Martial at closing down/tackling the opposition.
I'm simply demonstrating that you're wrong:

1. By unequivocally stating that Bruno is a midfielder and Rashford/Greenwood are forwards, while in fact we usually play with a front 4 (Rashford-Bruno-Greenwood behind Martial or Cavani, with Bruno often occupying positions further up the pitch than at least one and sometimes both of our wide forwards)
2. By literally saying that we didn't defend in a 4-4-2 last night, while we literally did, with Bruno, again, occupying a position further forward than any of our wide players — we don't always defend in 4-4-2, but we often do and we did last night

Bruno’s a midfielder, not a forward. This thread is specifically about the (lack of) defensive effort of our forwards.
Based on what metric? Last night we defended in a shape of a 4-4-2 with Bruno and Martial ahead of a midfield line of Rashford - Matic - Pogba - Greenwood.
Yeah that didn’t happen.
In fact, the "Bruno is a midfielder" is quite a telling argument — just like in the original post in this thread you're trying to fit players into more simplistic concepts to that it's easier for you to judge them. Bruno is an integral part of our front 4 and he is an attacking player — in fact, our best attacking player and our most hard-working attacking player, no one is going to argue that. But you can't dismiss his output, attacking or defensive one, from the output of our front 4, because tactically they all are a part of one unit.
 

Pogue Mahone

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I'm simply demonstrating that you're wrong:

1. By unequivocally stating that Bruno is a midfielder and Rashford/Greenwood are forwards, while in fact we usually play with a front 4 (Rashford-Bruno-Greenwood behind Martial or Cavani, with Bruno often occupying positions further up the pitch than at least one and sometimes both of our wide forwards)
2. By literally saying that we didn't defend in a 4-4-2 last night, while we literally did, with Bruno, again, occupying a position further forward than any of our wide players — we don't always defend in 4-4-2, but we often do and we did last night





In fact, the "Bruno is a midfielder" is quite a telling argument — just like in the original post in this thread you're trying to fit players into more simplistic concepts to that it's easier for you to judge them. Bruno is an integral part of our front 4 and he is an attacking player — in fact, our best attacking player and our most hard-working attacking player, no one is going to argue that. But you can't dismiss his output, attacking or defensive one, from the output of our front 4, because tactically they all are a part of one unit.
I can’t be arsed splitting hairs about this. It would be a very boring argument. Whatever position Bruno allegedly plays really only emphasises the pathetic defensive contribution of our other most advanced players (albeit with Greenwood and Cavani making an acceptable effort)
 

That'sHernandez

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Even by luck you should have made more than 1 paltry tackle by now.
Yeah true, somewhat astounding to be honest
 

Adam-Utd

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The worst thing is how badly coordinated it is. Bruno is often running round like a mad man while Rash/Martial are doing feck all. Which is reflected in the stats in the OP.
Yep very frustrating watching it, and that's usually worse because we just end up leaving a big hole in the centre of the pitch for them to easily escape from.

I'd rather none of them pressed in that situation, but I do want a full press in the future. I just don't think it's possible with our wide forwards at present unless they buy into it properly.

Ironically Dan James is probably our best presser in wide areas but awful on the ball.
 

SilentWitness

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Richarlison topped this list last season by a fair bit (only including attackers). He’s been poor for about two months now but his work rate is one of his best qualities.
 

BusbyMalone

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The worst thing is how badly coordinated it is. Bruno is often running round like a mad man while Rash/Martial are doing feck all. Which is reflected in the stats in the OP.
Yeah, this is what I don't get when people are arguing that it's a tactical thing that we don't press in the final third. I mean, we don't press in the final third - that much is true. But then, why the feck is Bruno going like a headless chicken at the opposition back four on his own. Or sometimes Rashford does it, again, on his own. Or Dan James when he plays. If it's tactical not to press, are they just defying the mangers wishes? Because it's certainly not helpful pressing alone as they do.
 

bsCallout

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This is a huge part of it. I'm baffled when people think we actually press under Ole. We don't. We have one or two players chasing shadows. That's not how a press works.

Martial's one whopping tackle is still astounding though.

BTW: Mane is an absolute beast isn't he. Still pissed we missed out on him back then.
We press when it reaches our half, this is so that there is space to get in behind when we break. By that point the ball is usually beyond our front line and they don't need to press/tackle, they just occupy spaces to break.
 

Ali Dia

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WILLIAN HAS MADE MORE TACKLES THAN ANY OF OUR FORWARDS!!!
you could see it very clearly in the two Liverpool matches which set of players had a better attitude when it came to pressing and work off the ball. It’s sickening watch our lads do the bare minimum token press and then Cavani comes on and makes a mockery of them. How can a super highly paid 25 year old watch a 33 year old free transfer blatantly out work him in every game? It’s not like there’s nothing to play for either. It’s so annoying! Surely even martial can see at this stage that we’d be fecked without Cavani this season and he’s here to help. Dude is playing like he doesn’t want to be here anymore since Cavani started getting in the team
 
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Pogue Mahone

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Yeah, this is what I don't get when people are arguing that it's a tactical thing that we don't press in the final third. I mean, we don't press in the final third - that much is true. But then, why the feck is Bruno going like a headless chicken at the opposition back four on his own. Or sometimes Rashford does it, again, on his own. Or Dan James when he plays. If it's tactical not to press, are they just defying the mangers wishes? Because it's certainly not helpful pressing alone as they do.
It’s so depressing to watch because that sort of lack of coordination and organisation points to problems that go much deeper than individual tackle stats.
 

Bastian

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Not merely on tackles, but generally on working for the team: Are there stats for sprints when tracking back, by forward players? Could call it the Rooney-stat.

Bruno and Cavani are both very hard workers, especially the latter. I'd be a lot less harsh with Rashford than Martial as he's carried knocks (some of which pretty bad) for the most part of Ole's tenure I suspect. Maybe Pogue is right (said similar elsewhere) that Rashford is a bit fragile, but I do remember Henderson targeting him and doing his ankle and the playing through the pain barrier with a fractured back is just negligent. And I think he offers a lot more defensively and in terms of teamwork generally. He makes many runs, most of which do not get rewarded but they do create space and unpredictability (which we sorely lack). Martial has gotten away with a very poor work ethic and offering nothing defensively for a long while now - punctured by his purple patch last spring (where he developed the now lost ability of shielding the ball). Similarly, our most talented player, Pogba, has spent the majority of his United career not working hard enough, though he has been outstanding of late. I guess the less talented you are the more obvious your lack of effort becomes.

Pogba called it "cheating" in his interview with Rio, when someone is taking it easy at the expense of their teammates. And it's great they're openly talking about it. No surprise to see Martial in the spotlight the following day for a super disinterested performance.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Total tackles in PL so far this season

Greenwood 8
Cavani 6
Rashford 6
Martial 1

Sterling 15
Mahrez 8
Jesus 6

Mane 30
Firmino 19
Salah 13

Son 12
Kane 11
Bergwijn 10

Perez 20
Vardy 8

Richarlison 28
Iwobi 17
DCL 9

- Our forwards who have made the fewest appearances have made the most tackles.

- Our forwards who have made the most tackles would have made the least tackles in 4 out of 5 of the other top 6 clubs (5 out of 5 if you consider regular starters only).

- Two forwards at other clubs have each made more tackles than all our forwards combined. Three, if you only include three of ours (and we only ever play three at a time)

- Every single club in the top 6 has a forward who has made twice as many tackles as 3 out of our 4 forwards. Three clubs have forwards who have made either five or six times as many tackles.

A lot of talk about our forwards lack of goals and the whole team’s workrate and fitness under Ole. To me one our biggest problems is a whole sector of our team who seem to think tackling other players is beneath them.

Discuss.
Bumping an old thread but worth it to see if the problem in the OP is still an issue.

Total tackles in PL so far this season by forwards.

Greenwood 5
Jadon Sancho 1

Lucas Moura 9
Harry Kane 3
Steven Bergwijn 1
Son Heung-Min 1

Werner 2
Lukaku 1
Hudson Odoi 1

Saka 9
Aubameyang 5
Pepe 4
Balogun 1

Jota 9
Mané 7
Salah 5
Firmino 4

Jesus 6
Sterling 3
Mahrez 2
Torres 2

Gray 8
Richarlison 7
Iwobi 5
Gordon 4
Rondon 3

Chelsea are interesting. Maybe they make less tackles because they have more control? Dunno. Haven’t watched them much. Also possible Lukaku’s well known lack of intensity out of possession is contagious?

Watching City vs Liverpool yesterday it really stood out how aggressive and hard working their forwards were whenever the opposition had the ball. The exact opposite is painfully obvious whenever we play. A glorious CL cameo from Cavani aside. Although that cameo perfectly demonstrated how effective it can be when your forwards do dig deep and do some dirty work.

And no, signing a CDM won’t improve these stats.

I guess we can add this to the long list of problems that need fixing before this team becomes a legitimate force. Although judging by date of OP (and the fact we’ve since signed Ronaldo) we probably shouldn’t hold our breath…
 

Deery

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Mind you, adding Bruno as a forward (7 tackles) makes us look less bad.
Greenwood doesn’t track back and Ronaldo isn’t or hasn’t ever done any tackling anyway but one is very surprising to say the least.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Side note. Manchester United have made fewer tackles than any other PL club so far this season.

19th place for interceptions. Chelsea are in 5th place. All the other big teams are bottom half (which you’d expect) but that might explain why Chelsea forwards making relatively few tackles.
 

OnlyTwoDaSilvas

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Mind you, adding Bruno as a forward (7 tackles) makes us look less bad.
Probably fair to include him, considering how high up the pitch he plays, almost as a second striker. He's definitely the guy who presses high the most.

Pogba has mostly played on the left wing too and has made 8 tackle in PL games, though don't know now many of those came from when he has played LW or the couple of times he's been in midfield.


Still, it's bad. I'm sure Rashford will add to those numbers when he's back, more so than Martial or Sancho will in the same positions.
 

JPRouve

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United being at the bottom of the tackles chart is normal, they have the second highest possession rate in the league at 60%, City are top of the possession chart and also at the bottom of the tackle stat. In terms of tackles attempted it's pretty close United attempted 22.1 tackles, City 22.7 and Liverpool 23.1.
 

TrustInJanuzaj

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Mind you, adding Bruno as a forward (7 tackles) makes us look less bad.

Although then we’d have to add the likes of Silva (12) or Grealish (9) to City and Mount (5) and Havertz (3) to Chelsea.
I'm amazed by the Grealish tackles, he seems awful out of possession.
 

Idxomer

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Probably fair to include him, considering how high up the pitch he plays, almost as a second striker. He's definitely the guy who presses high the most.

Pogba has mostly played on the left wing too and has made 8 tackle in PL games, though don't know now many of those came from when he has played LW or the couple of times he's been in midfield.


Still, it's bad. I'm sure Rashford will add to those numbers when he's back, more so than Martial or Sancho will in the same positions.
Just looking at some stats, Rashford doesn't seem to tackle or do more defensive work than Sancho.
 

OnlyTwoDaSilvas

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Just looking at some stats, Rashford doesn't seem to tackle or do more defensive work than Sancho.
That is surprising. I guess the pressing and running is deceptive. He definitely moves out of possession more than Martial, but I would've thought it results in more ball-winning, particularly as he does track back quite a lot.
 

golden_blunder

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The crazy thing is Ole must be aware of those stats. Do you think he’s been taking Martial aside before our last dozen games or so and saying “I believe in you Antony, today’s the day when you will make your second tackle of the season!”?
Well at least his goals are now equal with his tackles
 

TMDaines

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Mind you, adding Bruno as a forward (7 tackles) makes us look less bad.

Although then we’d have to add the likes of Silva (12) or Grealish (9) to City and Mount (5) and Havertz (3) to Chelsea.
Bruno's pretty much a Rooney-esque centre forward nowadays, which I'm not a big fan of.
 

Dante

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It's almost as though McFred are a counterbalance to a frontline that's poorly suited to high pressing.
 

Dante

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What does “poorly suited” mean? Is a lack of effort genetic? Obviously Ronaldo’s a special case but this issue predates him. Signing him will make it a lot worse though.
There's only so much a manager can do about turning a player into an intense presser. In the case of Cavani and Ronaldo, it's an age thing. In the case of Martial, it's an innate mentality which I don't think anyone can change. With Rashford, I think his athleticism is better suited to brief attacking sprints rather than constant pressing chases. Then you've got Pogba and Sancho, neither of whom seem to have the requisite stamina (though it's still early days for the latter).

It's a strategy that only really works if everyone is doing it across the width of the pitch at the same time. I reckon Bruno, Greenwood and Lingard might be able to pull it off. But Ole would never be allowed to get away with that selection.

Could Bielsa get more of a tune out of them as individuals in this regard? Possibly. But how much would we sacrifice in the process? Rashford is probably still young enough to change. But it's debatable whether that would add more to the team than he already currently offers by conserving his energy for counterattacks. As a I say, I don't believe our group of attackers are suited to it. You only need to watch them in comparison to City and Liverpool's lot to see that they're a different style of forward. Not necessarily worse, mind you. Just different.
 

Pogue Mahone

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There's only so much a manager can do about turning a player into an intense presser. In the case of Cavani and Ronaldo, it's an age thing. In the case of Martial, it's an innate mentality which I don't think anyone can change. With Rashford, I think his athleticism is better suited to brief attacking sprints rather than constant pressing chases. Then you've got Pogba and Sancho, neither of whom seem to have the requisite stamina (though it's still early days for the latter).

It's a strategy that only really works if everyone is doing it across the width of the pitch at the same time. I reckon Bruno, Greenwood and Lingard might be able to pull it off. But Ole would never be allowed to get away with that selection.

Could Bielsa get more of a tune out of them as individuals in this regard? Possibly. But how much would we sacrifice in the process? Rashford is probably still young enough to change. But it's debatable whether that would add more to the team than he already currently offers by conserving his energy for counterattacks. As a I say, I don't believe our group of attackers are suited to it. You only need to watch them in comparison to City and Liverpool's lot to see that they're a different style of forward. Not necessarily worse, mind you. Just different.
What do you make of Grealish’s 9 tackles? Didn’t he go to City with a reputation as a player who makes zero defensive effort? Surely that’s proof that coaching can change the way footballers play?

Not that proof should be needed. It seems obvious and we’ve seen it happen loads of times before when a new manager takes over a team and changes the way they play.
 

Brexit_Brigade

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What do you make of Grealish’s 9 tackles? Didn’t he go to City with a reputation as a player who makes zero defensive effort? Surely that’s proof that coaching can change the way footballers play?
Yes he did, and yes it is.

There's no reason for our forwards' chronic lack of pressing and tackles (for years now, under multiple managers) except that the managers haven't wanted them to play that way.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Yes he did, and yes it is.

There's no reason for our forwards' chronic lack of pressing and tackles (for years now, under multiple managers) except that the managers haven't wanted them to play that way.
We know Mourinho prefers to play that way. Park the bus and counter. It’s what he does. Van Gaal was all about death by a million passes but it was never clear (to me anyway) how he wanted us to win the ball back when we lost it.

Ole talks a good game about effort and fitness etc. We’re seeing very little evidence of this on the pitch though.
 

Brexit_Brigade

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Ole talks a good game about effort and fitness etc. We’re seeing very little evidence of this on the pitch though.
It's hard to say for sure because there's really nothing coordinated about the way we press under Ole, but if I had to guess I'd say the general idea is to leave the wide forwards high up (which is why Rashford and Greenwood when they play those positions are essentially doing nothing off the ball) and draw the other team up the pitch so we can release them as soon as possible when we win the ball.

I'm not sure how Fernandes and his efforts to be a one-man press fit into that - doesn't seem like he accomplishes anything apart from tiring himself out - but maybe the idea is, again, that if he does win the ball or force a bad pass he'll have a couple of immediate outlets. And if they pass around him with ease, the two behind him will make sure our shape is intact - which hasn't worked too well so far this season \M/