Wednesday, 1 August 2007

United's Tactical Lineup

Seeing as there is not much news around this week, I thought I'd have a look at Man United's possible tactical lineups for this season.
Fergie has been known over the years for his spectacular tactical blunders, especially in Europe, but the influence of Carlos Quieroz has given United some much needed fluidity, allowing them to outplay all bar the best in England and Europe.

Note: this assumes Tevez will arrive this month

Home formation possibilities:
(assuming a back 5 of Van Der Sar, Evra, Vidic, Rio, The Nev)
Left wing - Giggs or Nani
Right Wing - RonaldoCentre Mid - Hargreaves/Carrick & Scholes/Anderson
Forward - Rooney & Saha/Tevez

The regulation Ferguson tactic, Hargreaves/Carrick to collect the ball from defense, play the ball to the wings and allow the attacking midfielder to advance. Rooney can drift deep and left to pick up passes. A fit Saha will provide a better aerial presence than Tevez and will not be as inclined to drop deep. Tevez will like to drop deep, and I assume, slightly to the right. Fergie has suggested that he sees Rooney as a traditional centre forward, but I expect some indiscipline if he is paired with Tevez. It may be the case on occasion, that both forwards will be deep, with no one in the box, allowing the defense a comfortable time

Centre Mid - Hargreaves, Scholes/Anderson & Carrick
Left of 3 - Giggs/Rooney/Nani
Right of 3 - Ronaldo/Tevez
Forward - Rooney/Saha/Tevez

A favourite last year, the 4-3-3 played to United's strengths. The downpoint was that Rooney was often deployed on the left of the front 3, causing some very disappointing performances. Saha was excellent as the focal point in the early part of the season but this season Tevez or Rooney will be expected to succeed there. With Giggs on the left, we should see him come inside more to play behind the strikers. Ronaldo will switch left and Rooney to the right during the game. Nani on the left should provide more pace, though occasional switches with Ronaldo are likely.
Away formation possibilities:
4-5-1Left Wing - Nani/Giggs
Right Wing - Ronaldo
Centre Mid - Carrick/Scholes/Anderson, Hargreaves, Fletcher/O'Shea
Forward - Rooney/Tevez/Saha

A slight variation on 4-3-3 and will probably be used in tough away games. Room for the 2 squad players, Fletcher & O'Shea to come in to help Hargreaves kick some people if United are under pressure. An ease in pressure will see United quickly transform on the counter to 4-3-3.
At this early stage, it difficult to tell the impact of Nani & Anderson, I haven't watched either live yet. It wouldn't surprise me for Nani to make a better impact, if only for the reason that him and Giggs will be in rotation. Anderson, for the first few months at least, will get few chances to shine in a very competitve midfield, but either way, a la Ronaldo, it could be 2-3 seasons down the line before we see the best of them.


It was confirmed last night that Giuseppe Rossi is off to Spain. Ferguson, I think, should have given him more of a chance, but it points to confidence that Tevez will arrive, so he will not be needed. The departure of Smith is necessary, he passion and commitment are admirable but he is similarly surplus to requirements. I now forsee and injury crisis upfront this season....



JJ said...

While the logic says that Nani and Anderson will have to accept reduced roles as it’s their first year; the main problem could be centre of midfield with Scholes, Carrick and Hargreaves. Carrick is a confidence player and won’t get much of that sitting on the bench. Hargreaves offers good tackling but no distribution. And will Scholes mind playing only half of the team’s games this season? Anderson, as well, has to play some games if not all.

This, however, is all worst case scenario and it would be stupid to think that Ferguson has not already thought of this. Unlike clubs in Spain or Italy the manager still runs things in England, not the players – they will do what they’re told or be shown his trophy cabinet and told, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off. Any player who doesn’t make a good go of getting in the side isn’t worth keeping anyway.

United will crush all the smaller sides and most likely have pretty even battles with the rest of the top four. It’s up to Chelsea, Pool and Arsenal to do the same and make a decent title race.

Mark said...

yes, well there will have be rotation in the centre, I certainly don't think Giggs and Scholes will mind only playing 20-30 games this season. They're on big contracts and I don't see them heading off to Sunderland any time soon.
I think Carrick & Hargreaves will play a lot together, the poor man's Pirlo & Gattuso. I'm sure Anderson is primed for a season on the bench but (providing he is a decent player) with sub appearances and cup run outs, he could easily hit 30 appearances.

I agree, I can see a similar pattern as last season, crushing the weaker teams, strugling against Pool, Chelsea and the Arse, what with Ronaldo being a bottler, and more spohisticated defenses coping better with the old switcheroo of left and right wing

tyduffy said...

I still think that their formation is fundamentally flawed in that they don't truly have a striker to put in the whole and stretch the defense. Tevez and Rooney are very similar and would both be better served working in behind someone. That said, like last year, they have so much talent and scoring ability coming forward from midfield that it won't matter one bit.

JJ said...

I think the main difference between United last year as opposed to the season before was that they regained the authority of menace that used to frighten the shit out of teams all over England.

Last year they looked like they could score at any minute which they didn’t have for the previous season, maybe even the previous three seasons. Pre 06/07 teams no longer went out against United and felt already beaten; most fancied their chances and average teams raised their games getting a few decent results.

The perfect example is Blackburn – ahead 1-0 at Old Trafford in 05/06, they win after recovering from a United equaliser. Then come 06/07 and while ahead at half time 1-0, they eventually lose 4-1 to a United side that didn’t look worried for a minute. For 16 months during the ‘invincibles’ era Arsenal had this aura, Chelsea have had it for most of the last three years and Pool… well Pool will never have that as long as they keep losing to Bolton and at least one of the promoted sides every bloody year.

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