Why the reluctance to sign a defensive midfielder?

sherrinford

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And you won't find another top team outside of Bayern who still plays a 4-2-3-1, and I suspect that once Muller retires, they won't play it either. The #10 is a dying position.
So? Bayern's success shows it can be used, and effectively. The most popular formation or the most used one by the handful of best teams around at any time is not an indication that that is in some way the 'best' formation or that others are poor or in any way unsuitable as standard. Formations are neutral - their suitability is determined only by the particular group of players available to fit them. Your argument is ridiculous, and folk were proclaiming the #10 position dead a decade ago - it's just nonsense.
 

sherrinford

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I don’t think he can play as a single no6 in the prem. He would have to be one of two in a “double pivot” or one of two no8s in a 433. I think I would prefer the latter.
The league is irrelevant. De Jong should still be the deepest midfielder in a double pivot. Being deployed as the single no.6 in a 4-3-3 would be much more suitable than as one of the two no.8s - the latter is playing him out of position.
 

Thistlesoup

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If you think a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 are anywhere close to being the same then you should probably never make another post ever again. They are completely different in the way you attack and the way you defend...


So here I am saying no top team plays a 4-2-3-1 other than Bayern and you "prove me wrong" by talking about LVG at Ajax and Cruyff? Boy oh boy you really showed me up there :lol: :lol: :lol:

This isn't Fifa or Football Manager. You seem to believe that there's nothing more to tactics than the formation in which the team initially lines up.
 

OrcaFat

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The league is irrelevant. De Jong should still be the deepest midfielder in a double pivot. Being deployed as the single no.6 in a 4-3-3 would be much more suitable than as one of the two no.8s - the latter is playing him out of position.
The quality of teams you are playing against is not irrelevant, you know that.

It depends who he will be playing with in our midfield but, by and large, you can’t leave a guy like him on his own at 6 in the prem. Playing him at no8 is not out of position, it is CM. To me, his skillset is similar to Xavi and he can be effective further up the pitch as well as DLP which, frankly, is what we need. He won’t be forbidden to drop into number 6 area when appropriate. Declan Rice would be a good team mate for him because they are both clever enough to operate in a balanced manner. In that case, FDJ might sometimes be the deepest, especially against weaker opposition.

In the end it will be all about the blend. I said before, if we just drop into our team with the players we’ve got now, he won’t do too well.
 

didz

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Declan Rice would be a good team mate for him because they are both clever enough to operate in a balanced manner. In that case, FDJ might sometimes be the deepest, especially against weaker opposition.
Rice? Nah, this time next year the midfield will be Frenkie&Belli's!
 

Bobski

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This thread makes me think about how much easier the post Fergie years could have been if Hargreaves knees had not collapsed, Fletcher had not been affected by Crohns and Anderson had any impulse control when it came to eating.
 

OrcaFat

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This thread makes me think about how much easier the post Fergie years could have been if Hargreaves knees had not collapsed, Fletcher had not been affected by Crohns and Anderson had any impulse control when it came to eating.
Ha, yeah! Those guys at full fitness would have bossed it.
 

sherrinford

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The quality of teams you are playing against is not irrelevant, you know that.

It depends who he will be playing with in our midfield but, by and large, you can’t leave a guy like him on his own at 6 in the prem. Playing him at no8 is not out of position, it is CM. To me, his skillset is similar to Xavi and he can be effective further up the pitch as well as DLP which, frankly, is what we need. He won’t be forbidden to drop into number 6 area when appropriate. Declan Rice would be a good team mate for him because they are both clever enough to operate in a balanced manner. In that case, FDJ might sometimes be the deepest, especially against weaker opposition.

In the end it will be all about the blend. I said before, if we just drop into our team with the players we’ve got now, he won’t do too well.
It is with regards to the position(s) a player excels in - a no.6 is a no.6, Premier League or otherwise.

Playing him at no.8 or with another player as the deepest midfielder is indeed out of position, and yes that is obviously determined by who he would be playing with. I think he is similar to Xavi in that he is a playmaker/ controller, but one is a no.6 and one is a no.8. Some players can excel in both roles, but for me De Jong's not one of them and he is significantly less effective when played further up the pitch.
 

OrcaFat

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It is with regards to the position(s) a player excels in - a no.6 is a no.6, Premier League or otherwise.

Playing him at no.8 or with another player as the deepest midfielder is indeed out of position, and yes that is obviously determined by who he would be playing with. I think he is similar to Xavi in that he is a playmaker/ controller, but one is a no.6 and one is a no.8. Some players can excel in both roles, but for me De Jong's not one of them and he is significantly less effective when played further up the pitch.
If that is true and will always be true then he’s probably not right for us or at least he won’t play at his best for us. It’s a case of what’s best for FDJ probably ain’t best for us.

Our midfield is totally unfit for purpose. We need players with strength, mobility and technique in all three spots, or, failing that, the blend of these attributes has to be right. If not, you get done 4-0 by Brighton and those guys.

However, I do trust ETH to go after players who will get closer to what’s needed and to play them in the best position for the team to win.
 

SadlerMUFC

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So? Bayern's success shows it can be used, and effectively. The most popular formation or the most used one by the handful of best teams around at any time is not an indication that that is in some way the 'best' formation or that others are poor or in any way unsuitable as standard. Formations are neutral - their suitability is determined only by the particular group of players available to fit them. Your argument is ridiculous, and folk were proclaiming the #10 position dead a decade ago - it's just nonsense.
My main argument is that we need a proper DM. My second argument is that if we go through another year with Bruno in the #10 we are going nowhere. He is NOT a midfielder and will continue to cost us in that position. This is why I want a proper DM in so we can play a 4-3-3 and Bruno can play in the front 3 or be on the bench...
 

sherrinford

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If that is true and will always be true then he’s probably not right for us or at least he won’t play at his best for us. It’s a case of what’s best for FDJ probably ain’t best for us.

Our midfield is totally unfit for purpose. We need players with strength, mobility and technique in all three spots, or, failing that, the blend of these attributes has to be right. If not, you get done 4-0 by Brighton and those guys.

However, I do trust ETH to go after players who will get closer to what’s needed and to play them in the best position for the team to win.
Why? There is no reason at all to think that what’s best for De Jong wouldn't be best for us - we are missing a player like him, in terms of both the natural position he occupies and the attributes he brings to a team.

My main argument is that we need a proper DM. My second argument is that if we go through another year with Bruno in the #10 we are going nowhere. He is NOT a midfielder and will continue to cost us in that position. This is why I want a proper DM in so we can play a 4-3-3 and Bruno can play in the front 3 or be on the bench...
Needing and wanting a proper DM in, and not wanting to see Fernandes in midfield again, does not require a 4-3-3 or rule out a 4-2-3-1. Do you have a good reason for wanting a 4-3-3?
 

OrcaFat

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Why? There is no reason at all to think that what’s best for De Jong wouldn't be best for us - we are missing a player like him, in terms of both the natural position he occupies and the attributes he brings to a team.



Needing and wanting a proper DM in, and not wanting to see Fernandes in midfield again, does not require a 4-3-3 or rule out a 4-2-3-1. Do you have a good reason for wanting a 4-3-3?
I don’t like the idea of him as a no6 on his own whether that is his best position or not.
 

SadlerMUFC

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Why? There is no reason at all to think that what’s best for De Jong wouldn't be best for us - we are missing a player like him, in terms of both the natural position he occupies and the attributes he brings to a team.



Needing and wanting a proper DM in, and not wanting to see Fernandes in midfield again, does not require a 4-3-3 or rule out a 4-2-3-1. Do you have a good reason for wanting a 4-3-3?
I want a 4-3-3 because that's how top teams play. They play with a proper DM and two midfielders who can retain possession (that is the opposite of Bruno). As it stands, we don't have a proper #6 in our squad even if we sign Frankie. And by the way...he doesn't even want to play for UNited. Haven't we learned our lesson yet?
 

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Agreed. People seem to have forgotten he came through as a center defender. Before bring moved up yo midfield. He is far better defensively than he is given credit for
This isn’t the case in LaLiga. He’s been pretty bad at Barca defensively. There is basically a full article dedicated to this:
https://www.espn.com/sports/soccer/...renkie-de-jong-man-united-interested-big-deal

At Ajax, he was good defensively, but for some reason, he has been poor at Barca. And when you compare him to other deep lying playmakers — Veratti, Kante (more a DM) and Thiago (this one shocked me), he is abysmal. 3rd percentile in pressures, 8th in tackles, 10th in interceptions.

Either the level-up from Eredivise to La Liga was physically too much for him, or his responsibilities changed, but he’s been pretty poor. Maybe Ten Hag can re-ignite that passion for defense, or alter his responsibilities to mimic his Ajax role? But he is not a DM and I really wish people would realize this. He would come to United for his ball progression abilities, passing and movement, not to hack down 9s and 10s.
 

DSG

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I want a 4-3-3 because that's how top teams play. They play with a proper DM and two midfielders who can retain possession (that is the opposite of Bruno). As it stands, we don't have a proper #6 in our squad even if we sign Frankie. And by the way...he doesn't even want to play for UNited. Haven't we learned our lesson yet?
You mean teams like Real Madrid who just won the CL with a 4-4-2? Or Chelsea, who won last year with 3-4-2-1?

Every formation has its weaknesses, it how you adjust tactically and how the personnel can mitigate those weaknesses.

I do agree that we should buy a proper 6 though.
 

NoPace

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It makes sense to wait because if we get De Jong my guess is we play 4-2-3-1 and we don't need a 6 who just shields the defence and probably want a better passer, basically a CM, but if we don't get De Jong, maybe we get a #6 who shields the defence (like Edson Alvarez) and play 4-3-3 with 2 of Eriksen, Bruno and Van Der Beek playing in front of that proper DM.

This is under the assumption that Ten Hag will be trying to replicate either his Ajax team that beat Madrid, or his most recent one, though really who the hell knows.
 

OpenIntrovert

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Regarding formations, it is strongly dependent on the type of players you have. Every formation has its strength and weaknesses, so sticking to one formation is never a good idea. Without digressing on the formation topic, ETH's coaching team should (high chances since ETH has tried different formations with his previous clubs) focus on training the players in different formations with a preferred formation for most games. For this to happen, the attack, midfield and defence must be well-balanced where our midfield is the most unbalanced. Maybe that's why the midfield is being prioritized for new signings.

On the topic of defensive midfielder, it is a must to have regardless of the formation you are going to use. Defensive midfielders are the first layer of defence, where they read the game in terms of where the opponents are attacking and attempt to intercept before they can progress the balls further. Based on the DM's position, the main defence (center backs and full backs) mark the rest of the areas where the opposition can possibly progress into. The DM's position during defense does not just aid the main defense, but also the central midfielders or wingers who are tracking back. If a DM covers his area well, the central midfielder and wingers can track back to create more pressure on the opposition or cover areas where the opponent can pass to.

There are very few formations where a DM is not required.
  1. 4-3-3 where you have 3 central midfielders who bomb up and down the pitch to recover, hold and forward possession of the ball
  2. flat 4-4-2 where you have 2 central midfielders performing similar roles as the 4-3-3 and 2 wingers who can track back and defend very well.
 
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This isn’t the case in LaLiga. He’s been pretty bad at Barca defensively. There is basically a full article dedicated to this:
https://www.espn.com/sports/soccer/...renkie-de-jong-man-united-interested-big-deal

At Ajax, he was good defensively, but for some reason, he has been poor at Barca. And when you compare him to other deep lying playmakers — Veratti, Kante (more a DM) and Thiago (this one shocked me), he is abysmal. 3rd percentile in pressures, 8th in tackles, 10th in interceptions.

Either the level-up from Eredivise to La Liga was physically too much for him, or his responsibilities changed, but he’s been pretty poor. Maybe Ten Hag can re-ignite that passion for defense, or alter his responsibilities to mimic his Ajax role? But he is not a DM and I really wish people would realize this. He would come to United for his ball progression abilities, passing and movement, not to hack down 9s and 10s.
That's the problem right there. You think in positional play the job of the 6 is just to hack down 9s and 10's. That' why you think he is not a 6 nor can't do the job. And as I told you. His stay at Barcelona is a dreadful barometer for judging his defensive ability because in their system its the 6 who does all the blocking and intercepting. A position he NEVER plays there. The other 2 midfielders in their 4-3-3 concentrate on ball progression and aid pressing. His figures at AJax that even included the UCL show exactly what he offers playing the deep 6 role. Where it was his job to win the ball and protect his defence.
 

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You mean teams like Real Madrid who just won the CL with a 4-4-2? Or Chelsea, who won last year with 3-4-2-1?

Every formation has its weaknesses, it how you adjust tactically and how the personnel can mitigate those weaknesses.

I do agree that we should buy a proper 6 though.
Chelsea may have won a couple years ago but they are NOT a top team. And since when is this a 4-4-2

Junior------------------------Benzema--------------------Valverde
---------------Kroos-----------------------------Modric------------------
----------------------------------Casemrio--------------------------------
Mendy--------------Alaba-------------Militao------------Carvajal
---------------------------------Courtois-----------------------------------

This is a 4-3-3 with a proper #6 anchoring the midfield
 

OpenIntrovert

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Chelsea may have won a couple years ago but they are NOT a top team. And since when is this a 4-4-2

Junior------------------------Benzema--------------------Valverde
---------------Kroos-----------------------------Modric------------------
----------------------------------Casemrio--------------------------------
Mendy--------------Alaba-------------Militao------------Carvajal
---------------------------------Courtois-----------------------------------

This is a 4-3-3 with a proper #6 anchoring the midfield
Its actually a 4-1-4-1 with Valverde and Vinicius Junior playing as wingers who cut in during offense, but due to Junior being more attacking minded, it became a 4-1-3-2. Valverde has very good defensive attributes where he helped to cover the runs of Robertson and Mane together with Carvajal while Mendy and Kroos helped to cover at the left wing. Ancelotti knew that their attacks will come through the wings, so he made the team cover the runs of both the fullbacks.
 

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Chelsea may have won a couple years ago but they are NOT a top team. And since when is this a 4-4-2

Junior------------------------Benzema--------------------Valverde
---------------Kroos-----------------------------Modric------------------
----------------------------------Casemrio--------------------------------
Mendy--------------Alaba-------------Militao------------Carvajal
---------------------------------Courtois-----------------------------------

This is a 4-3-3 with a proper #6 anchoring the midfield
If you watched the game, you would have noticed that Valverde, defensively, was a RM, tracking back to help Carvajal with Diaz, defending super deep. He also supported centrally when needed. Not only this, the pundits / commentators mentioned several times that Valverde was there to do a job defensively. In a normal 4-3-3, the help comes from Modric on that side, but Modric was central and Valverde was left to do that job.

Vinicius was also doing some tracking back, but generally was higher on the pitch to serve as an outlet and to break the high line of Liverpool.

When the manager writes the team sheet, they just list the players… The studio guesses the formation. It isn’t necessarily how they will end up playing.
 

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Its actually a 4-1-4-1 with Valverde and Vinicius Junior playing as wingers who cut in during offense, but due to Junior being more attacking minded, it became a 4-1-3-2. Valverde has very good defensive attributes where he helped to cover the runs of Robertson and Mane together with Carvajal while Mendy and Kroos helped to cover at the left wing. Ancelotti knew that their attacks will come through the wings, so he made the team cover the runs of both the fullbacks.
Yes, I agree with this. Casemiro was back a bit and Vini further forward. Close to a 4-4-2, but not quite. The point is that Valverde was not a RW. I felt Vinicius was looking to stretch the defense high and wide. The only reason he came central was to maintain ball possession after a turnover. Didn’t Diaz start at LW and Mane was central?
 

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It was absolutely embarrassing seeing us field Matic who´s feet had already left the building long ago.
Even Klopp felt sorry for us as Liverpool ran over us at Anfield, it was really strange knowing that we haven´t had a DCM since Schneiderlin.
It´s baffling really that we weren´t in for Bissuma for example.
 

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That's the problem right there. You think in positional play the job of the 6 is just to hack down 9s and 10's. That' why you think he is not a 6 nor can't do the job. And as I told you. His stay at Barcelona is a dreadful barometer for judging his defensive ability because in their system its the 6 who does all the blocking and intercepting. A position he NEVER plays there. The other 2 midfielders in their 4-3-3 concentrate on ball progression and aid pressing. His figures at AJax that even included the UCL show exactly what he offers playing the deep 6 role. Where it was his job to win the ball and protect his defence.
I’m saying he was poor defensively at Barca. This is backed up by the stats. Whether he’s further forward, playing as an 8, or as a 6, he was bad defensively. I agree that Busquets was the 6 and Frenkie played further forward.

There are two schools of thought for that 6 in a 4-3-3. I’m simplifying for the purposes of the discussion. One, a destroyer type that hacks down 9s and 10s with two possession and ball progressers. The second is a deep lying playmaker 6 (think Jorginho or Pirlo) with two ball winning 8s ahead of him. That type of deep lying playmaker still needs to cover the back 4, especially on the counter, and they still need to take tactical fouls at times — we see Jorginho do this all the time.

In my opinion, we still need a DM, even if Frenkie plays at the 6. He would play the role of Kante, further forward / Kovacic. Fred might be able to do this job, but who plays that 2nd 8? Bruno? Scotty? We run into the same problems we’ve had for years — neither Fred nor Scotty are good enough to be a vital piece in a trophy winning side.
 

AFC NimbleThumb

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Buy midfielders that can actually hold onto possession of the ball & it will have as big an impact as any DM signed in solitude. The best DM in the world can’t protect a back line when his midfield/attack lose the ball so regularly.
 

SadlerMUFC

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If you watched the game, you would have noticed that Valverde, defensively, was a RM, tracking back to help Carvajal with Diaz, defending super deep. He also supported centrally when needed. Not only this, the pundits / commentators mentioned several times that Valverde was there to do a job defensively. In a normal 4-3-3, the help comes from Modric on that side, but Modric was central and Valverde was left to do that job.

Vinicius was also doing some tracking back, but generally was higher on the pitch to serve as an outlet and to break the high line of Liverpool.

When the manager writes the team sheet, they just list the players… The studio guesses the formation. It isn’t necessarily how they will end up playing.
I watched...it was a 4-3-3. Valverde wasn't back defensively because of Diaz. He was back because of Robertson. And no...in a 4-3-3 Modrid will be marking their left sided #8 but also playing a bit zonal and will help out wide if he needs to. Either way, I didn't mean to interrupt. Go on...tell me more about how Real Madrid wasn't playing a 4-3-3
 

SadlerMUFC

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Its actually a 4-1-4-1 with Valverde and Vinicius Junior playing as wingers who cut in during offense, but due to Junior being more attacking minded, it became a 4-1-3-2. Valverde has very good defensive attributes where he helped to cover the runs of Robertson and Mane together with Carvajal while Mendy and Kroos helped to cover at the left wing. Ancelotti knew that their attacks will come through the wings, so he made the team cover the runs of both the fullbacks.
You are really over thinking it and trying to be smart. It was a 4-3-3. Of course formations can shift from time to time through out the game, but it was a 4-3-3. Not sure why I even have to defend this
 

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If you think a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 are anywhere close to being the same then you should probably never make another post ever again. They are completely different in the way you attack and the way you defend...
They are not the same but they are, in fact, variations of similar formations. Football is not static, a player starting in a 10 (depending on their role) may not be free roaming but drop deep into a 3 or even into a 5 man midfield when defending. Which in turn could result in a 4-1-4-1 if you drop deep enough.

If you think a slight difference in midfield starting positions equals an entirely different formation, you are the one who is dead wrong.
 

SadlerMUFC

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They are not the same but they are, in fact, variations of similar formations. Football is not static, a player starting in a 10 (depending on their role) may not be free roaming but drop deep into a 3 or even into a 5 man midfield when defending. Which in turn could result in a 4-1-4-1 if you drop deep enough.

If you think a slight difference in midfield starting positions equals an entirely different formation, you are the one who is dead wrong.
I love when people are wrong so they try and sound smart by stating things that are obvious
 

marktan

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I love when people are wrong so they try and sound smart by stating things that are obvious
In this case you've had about five different people try and explain it to you, and they're right. Madrid didn't play a true 4-3-3 in the final. I do agree with your point on playing a 4-3-3 and having a DM though.
 

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Do we really need a 'DM' though? What do we even mean by a 'DM'?

It seems to me that what many posters want when they talk about 'DMs' is a player like Bissouma or Ndidi, but these two are miles off being good enough on the ball to really take us to the level we aspire.

I'm not sure we need a 'DM'....we just need some good midfield players!
 

AFC NimbleThumb

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Do we really need a 'DM' though? What do we even mean by a 'DM'?

It seems to me that what many posters want when they talk about 'DMs' is a player like Bissouma or Ndidi, but these two are miles off being good enough on the ball to really take us to the level we aspire.

I'm not sure we need a 'DM'....we just need some good midfield players!
Exactly. Midfielders who can keep possession between them will improve us as much as any DM you’d put in a 3 alongside McFred who often gift the ball away too easily.

The idea a DM would solve our issues is nonsensical if unaccompanied by other midfielders who don’t give the ball away, even Bruno is a huge culprit. You could have Fabinho in front of our back 4 & he’d struggle with the workload.
 

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I watched...it was a 4-3-3. Valverde wasn't back defensively because of Diaz. He was back because of Robertson. And no...in a 4-3-3 Modrid will be marking their left sided #8 but also playing a bit zonal and will help out wide if he needs to. Either way, I didn't mean to interrupt. Go on...tell me more about how Real Madrid wasn't playing a 4-3-3
Okay there Tiger… The pundits mentioned it, the commentators mentioned it, we’ve said it here. Not sure what your footballing background is, but anyone with two eyes could see that Valverde was playing as a RM.

Back to your original point, “the best teams play a 4-3-3”, which is the cousin of “the best teams play possession football”, it’s not really true. I gave you an example of other formations that work, Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1, Bayern played a 4-2-3-1 with Muller behind the striker, and if you look back over the last 20 years, there are two sides who have won the CL with a classic 4-3-3, Liverpool and Barcelona. You may argue that Real Madrid used a 4-3-3, but actually Isco frequently played at the tip of a midfield diamond with Ronaldo and Benzema as the strikers during their CL runs. When utilizing Bale, they did morph into a conservative 4-3-3 and were deadly on the counter. But if you go down the list, Chelsea, United, Inter, Milan, Bayern, Porto… none of them played a classic 4-3-3.

I’m not criticizing the formation of 4-3-3, I’m merely saying the formation is not a determining factor on whether you are a “great” team. SAF bounced between a 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 and won his fair share of trophies and played really entertaining football.
 

VP89

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I'm going to go absolutely nuts and say Fred will shine under ETH in that Alverez role
 

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In this case you've had about five different people try and explain it to you, and they're right. Madrid didn't play a true 4-3-3 in the final. I do agree with your point on playing a 4-3-3 and having a DM though.
I just want the best formation for the talent we have on hand and that we (hopefully) buy. I’d be delighted with a well-drilled 4-3-3, but I agree with you that we really don’t have the personnel for it at this moment.
 

RedRonaldo

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I'm going to go absolutely nuts and say Fred will shine under ETH in that Alverez role
Do you think Fred+Garner midfield may work? I feel Garner is a good passer and maybe good option for us, if we failed to land our midfield targets this summer.