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Welcome back to the madness guys. And welcome the madness to you. The rage of forgetting that the deadine was on a Friday and realising later that night that you've missed it and then smashing the screen of your computer. the rage of missing out on the deadline because you leave it till the last minute leading you to hammering your phone to smithereens and the rage of seeing that the player you took the armband away from last minute going on to score a hattrick and that leading to you throwing your television off of the balcony. What? Pfft no, no, no, no, ....... no, no, no, no this is not at all "speaking from experience" no! Okay, so down to business. I am here to help you with the players best for FPL purposes from Manchester United.
THE INITIAL FIXTURES
West Ham United (H) Swansea City (A) Leicester City (H) Stoke City(A) Everton(H) Southampton(A) Crystal Palace(H) Liverpool(A) Huddersfield Town(A) Tottenham Hotspurs(H) Only 2 "big teams" in the first 10 fixtures. You guys are definitely in for an FPL treat. Especially with Lukaku. Now keep in mind that there is a UEFA Super Cup game against Real Madrid on the 9th of August, 3 days before the season begins.
PLAYERS TO AVOID AT THE START
Never taking Dave's spot unless he leaves.
Third choice. I think that says it all. DEFENDERS
He didn't really gain Mourinho's trust after catching up on the previous injury just after the start of the season when it really seemed to be taking off. At that price, he is really the cheapest reliable defender in the team. If he has a good pre-season and Jose is impressed with his performances, he definitely will a one to keep an eye on.
I'll include him in the mid-season guide. Don't worry about him till then.
Might play the first game of the season as United have a UEFA Super Cup game to play against Real Madrid 3 days before their first PL game and Mourinho will definitely field the strongest team in that. Other than that, don't really consider him unless one of Lindelof or Bailly get injured before Rojo returns.
He played less than half the season as Jose experimented with LBs but then settled for the Italian. He had a decent 9 CSs in around 14 games and 14.x PPM. I didn't really know where to put him after I completed the defenders' write-up but then for the price, you'd be better off getting someone else.
Same case as Daley Blind.
Same case as Phil Jones but this guy might just be sold before this transfer window ends. Afterall, he's just dead weight and dumb as a doorknob.
This young lad was a great punt for me for the last 3 GWs for the price. But not really an option now.
Don't. Just don't. The two footed tackles are bound to get two red cards in one game. MIDFIELDERS
First of all he plays as a DM which are always a no-go. And second, he'll just take up a ManUtd spot for not as much points.
Overpriced just like last season. Not enough PPM to justify getting him. Better options out there.
Avoid this tree. He mostly won't be playing regularly and is a card magnet because his elbows are independent of his brain. Also, he's a DM.
Although he is the team's new captain, he for sure won't be getting enough minutes. Also, another DM.
Again, won't get enough minutes as Mata and Mkhi will be chosen ahead of him and possibly another winger if Mou decides to get one.
Won't get minutes and even if he does, he'll play POO at LB.
Another young lad and another DM. FORWARD
He only played like half the season and that too as a POO player. Listed as a forward and played as a LM. And for that price, definitely don't get him. Even Josh King seems as a good option here.
THE MAIN PLAYERS TO WATCH
DAVID DE GEA
David De Gea(5.5m): Priced the same as last season, arguably the best keeper in the world, is your safest bet in the Man United defence. He has a great CB pairing in front of him and with the crazy saves he makes, you can definitely back him to fill the GK spot like over 35% of the players did last season. Pair him up with a 4m bench fodder and you're good to to for the first few GWs.
The tank was a decent choice at 5.5m last season but the guys behind the scenes apparently though that he was good enough to bump him up by a million to 6.5m. He had a decent 20.x PPM last season and got a goal and 3 assists, a lot less than expected but the CS points might've been enough. He earned himself 5 yellow cards and 12 clean sheets. He did miss out on a few matches later on in the season because of fatigue and an injury but did enough imo. A bit pricey this year with Spurs and Arsenal defenders being cheaper, ofcourse to be considered once the settle down at Wembley.
Played most of the last season, this beast and is reasonably priced at 6.0m. Delivered a good 13 CSs in around 22 games. With 19.x PPM last season, he was quite a popular pick when he sealed his spot alongside Rojo. He got 4 YCs so can't exactly be called a "card magnet" which is actually quite good for an aggressive CB.
The young Swede is the most interesting choice from the available options. Although new to the PL, Lindelof is a good deal at the price. He is tall so I do expect him to carry an aerial threat if the set-piece takers improve their delivery inside the box. He is also pretty good at taking direct FKs although I don't expect Pogba to give them up. In a Jose Mourinho defence, I would definitely count on this one. He also has a great partner with him in the CB position, Eric Bailly, so expect quite a few cleanies from the pair. MIDFIELDERS
The Frenchman has received a drop in the price, not the real, 89 million one, but the FPL price. He used to be available at 8.5m last season but you can get him at a discounted price of 8.0m. No I'm not marketing him. Shut your pie-holes. So, getting back, he earned around 4 points in a game on an average last season and had 14.x PPM. With a clinical finisher like Lukaku in front of him, he sure could be a great option to have in your teams. Plus, he comes with the dabs.
The Spaniard was ManUtd's second highest goal scorer last season, believe it or not. 6 goals and 3 assists in about half of the last season is just above average but for the price this season, I would go with him as there are really less options. But then again, United are aiming for a winger next in the transfer window which might see him lose his spot making him not really nailed on. He did have around 5.5 PP90 and if he somehow manages to keep that up for the entire season, he'll be a bargain. It's almost too easy.
Now to be honest he didn't really feature all that much in the PL. He didn't have the best start to the season and then when he did actually settle down, he got that injury. After when he came back had a brief spell, he picked up an injury again thanks to Danny Rose. And by the time he was up and ready again it was time to prove the team's worth in the Europa League, in which he was absolutely great. He mostly featured in the European games where he scored 6 goals in 10 appearances. Although the Finals wasn't his best game, he was great overall. Again, with Lukaku upfront, he is an interesting option considering Pogba is at the same price. FORWARD
Rooney Romelu Lukaku(11.5m)
With 221 points last season and a brilliant run of fixtures coming up, the Belgian is almost impossible to not own. At 11.5m he actually seems like a bargain although it will be a tough choice between the premiums this season like Kane, Jesus, Lacazette and ofcouse, you guys' FPL God, Aguero. Although with Costa very likely to leave, it makes the decision a bit easier dare I say. With 25 goals and 6 assists last season, he has cemented his spot in my team. A clinical finisher like him with playmakers like Pogba, Herrera, Mata and Mkhi behind him is, okay I'm running out of ways to avoid the words that are, or mean, "must have". Just get him okay. You'll be happy. TL;DR Best picks from the team are Valencia, Bailly, Lindelof, Mkhi, Pogba, Lukaku. And if you like to live dangerously, Mata. Notes
United are trying to sign an out and out winger this transfer window (mainly Perisic) and that might hamper the formation that I assumed while writing this. Mkhi may swap wings, since Perisic plays on the left and Mata coud be rotated. Or Pogba could be moved back to the Pivot role and Mkhi could move to CAM.
United are also after a proper DM so that could mean Herrera being given attacking freedom and Pogba's position at CAM could be cemented. Which could also mean Mata could be dropped to the bench instead of the second situation in the point above.
Feel free to let me know if something's wrong or I could format it better. Thank you for your time.
2017.04.06 20:14 entfyUnpopular Opinion on the team
This will be an unpopular opinion, but as I'm watching these games that as we get to the final 1/3 we have very few people that will take the initiative and go 1v1 with the defenders. As well as missing speed on the wings. Young and Valencia are now wing-backs. Zaha is roaring at Palace. Lingard wants to play as a 10 and keeps pushing inside. If he's on the wing he needs to stay there because he just crowds out the middle of the park and eliminates his availability as an outside outlet. Memphis is gone as well. We've also sold Nani, Welbeck, and Di Maria. All people who could play as an outside winger. That isn't to say even about selling Hernandez as a partner up top who played off a striker. Rashford and Martial could play well in a 4-3-3 but they need to be playing IMO as a pair off each other rather than adopted wide forwards. They also rarely ever play opposite each other in a game meaning they typically just replace one another as a sub. But the primary concern here is that because of LVG all risk taking has been taken away from the team. Players don't want to go 1v1 and we've lost the ability to play true wingers due to multiple causes. The thing I'm most frustrated about that Jose does is not playing real wingers in 4-4-2 or 4-1-4-1 setup. These are IMO the winning formations this team should be playing for defensive solidarity and attacking prowess. They also allow for the most interplay between players while also allowing the players to be rotated in the easiest. Combine this with the fact that we have 9 players who play center midfield means the center of the park is always full and congested. (Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Lingard, Miki, Rooney, Carrick, Pogba, Blind) I'm also tired of not seeing the youth players play. Sometimes you need that young kid who has the guts to make a play and know that he has experienced veterans behind him that can help him if he makes a mistake. Fosu isn't playing, Tuanzebe isn't playing, Matty Willock seems to be promising but he hasn't played either. We have a team that should have enough rotation so that players shouldn't be tired. This is Manchester United and playing 70+ games a year should not be a problem with a properly rotated (which is a massive failing of Jose's) squad. Carrick should be able to play once every 7-10 days with enough backup to contain if we need others. Shaw hasn't performed but I don't really blame him after what happened last season. When I saw him and Memphis roaring down the side it reminded me of Uncle Evra. As well when our best outside backs are converted wingers you see the problem. Darmian IMO needs to go. Finally playing the rotation. I rarely ever see a pass that goes from one side to the other. They almost always have a stop in the middle for either Carrick and/or Herrera before it makes it to the outside backs. By which time, the defense has already positioned itself against Utd. and we keep having to rotate back and forth once again not allowing for the quick cross and the 1v1 to create penetration. TLDR: We need to find a solution on the wings and the 4-3-3 isn't working because we don't have true wingers able to penetrate 1v1s on the wing or take advantage of overlapping runs to play into the middle. As well we never take a short cut bypassing the middle.
2017.04.01 22:26 Hugh-JasoleTalking Tactics - Why United Struggle Breaking Teams Down
One of the most interesting dynamics in football is how the tactical landscape changes frequently. SAF was known for 4-4-2 in the papers and such, but he was pretty adaptable, too. I think the shape we see in the papers / media is largely irrelevant though. What really matters is the system and how it plays out, rather than just the formation that the team lines up for the defensive phase. Historically speaking, United have played their best with 2 strikers. Whether that is 4-4-2, 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2, 4-4-1-1, etc. it doesn't matter. What matters isn't so much the placement of the players, but how they work together. The key here is having two strikers working together in a partnership. United's struggles with breaking down sides at home (and away, at times) is largely a tactical issue but I also think there is a squad building component to it as well. See below for a classic SAF lineup. The player names aren't all the important, I just threw together players I like. The thing to note is the partnerships created all over the pitch. Notice how in this system the strikers can work together, the center mids as well, plus the wide players and center backs. Everyone links nicely and it allows for fluid movement going forward. No one part of the pitch is overcrowded. When you go forward into the attacking phase, you can achieve easy overlapping play, or easy supporting play for quick crossing into the box. You can also hurt teams by going direct through the middle via long passes and quick interplay between the 2 strikers. The point here is that there are options other than just crowing the middle with talented midfielders, or pumping in crosses to the back post for Felliani to hit. Etc. http://imgur.com/Plc2uS8 You see, today, everyone wants to pack the midfield and play with attacking mids and false 9's and all this stuff. That's great. But you've got to have a truly fantastic striker to win consistently playing this way. OR if you are going to play with 2 wide forwards flanking a "false" striker, those two out wide better be fantastic at creating chances in isolation. OR you better have a player who protects the back 4 like a motherfucker. That way, if you've got a true "anchor" back there you can really allow your wide defenders to join the attack and overlap, thus creating overloads in the final third. Here's an example of a modern United lineup with Mourinho in charge: http://imgur.com/wyx3JVU On paper that looks nice and tidy but the reality is, going forward United are a disaster. You see, if you're going to play any system that packs 5 into midfield, any variant at all, that striker better be a player who can stretch the opposition defense. Otherwise, what happens is the middle of the park, just in front of the opposition's box, gets entirely crowded out. It becomes easier to defend against because teams sit deep and aren't forced to cover any extra space. If you've got a striker who stretches play, then the other team is forced to cover the space behind them, and thus, the space in front of their box becomes more easily exploitable. The other thing is the wide play. If you've got dynamic players with excellent dribbling and crossing, you CAN get away with having a striker who comes deep. I'm not really a fan of having a lone striker who drops deep in today's game, but if you have the right players to pull it off, it can be incredibly dangerous. Here's what happens to United's attack almost all the time these days: http://imgur.com/JnjZyn0 See how there's basically no space left in the final third? Everyone sort of ends up in this awkward line of 5-6 players and there's no way through the defense. The wide players have not been playing consistent quality crosses, far from it actually. For whatever reason, they also struggle to dribble past a man and play in any form of isolation. Everyone is drawn to the middle, including one of the holding players, who ends up sort of tucked inside behind the #10 position. It's a mess. Also note the spaces left behind the team that can be exploited for a counter-attack. There's acres of space for United's opponents to exploit. The spaces are mostly behind the wide defenders and also behind the advancing midfielders. This is a serious problem to have. Against lesser clubs United can get away with this form of "camping" in the other team's final third, but any club that has a decent standard of player should be able to defend against this / counter attack. http://imgur.com/LPyH1vK What you see above is how I would LOVE to see Mourinho line this team up. In this system, one that he has used before, like at Porto and Inter, you've got a striker partnership that takes some of the creative pressure off of the midfielders. The wingbacks are instructed to fly forward and provide width. They do not necessarily need to be incredible at crossing because they'll be another target in the box rather than just 1 striker. It's all about having more options and more ways to attack the other team. The midfield would need to be anchored by a massive player who can cover ground and play with discipline. I don't think Ander Herrera is that type of guy. I think he's much better suited going forward, as I've indicated in this lineup. Real Madrid's use of Casemiro has been a great example of this. Without him in their lineup, they're extremely vulnerable. Also, this would allow United to get the best out of Pogba. He has plenty of energy to help cover the left flank, but he also will have many passing options going forward, AND the stability of a holder behind him. Imagine the 1-2 passing he could play with Miki in the #10 spot, and then seeing him link up further with a faster striker like Martial or Rashford. Devastating! Finally I just want to touch on squad building. When SAF was reaching the end of his tenure, United were struggling in Europe, and for good reason. The midfield wasn't good enough. Cleverly, Anderson, etc. Just... not good. So United relied heavily on wing play and that was okay in the league, especially against slower defenders but, ultimately it was becoming a big problem. United had nobody that could cover the defense, and Carrick was sort of left on an island without a real partner. So then United recruit Kagawa, and Rooney begins to play deeper as a #10. I think SAF figured Rooney would be a good enough #10 to create the 5 in midfield that he wanted in order to "modernize" the squad and keep up with City, Chelsea, etc. Rooney is not a playmaker and so this hasn't really ever worked. Kagawa was outcast eventually, and the problems were mostly covered up by signing RVP and winning one last title. Moyes comes in and brings Fellaini with him. Great. Rather than deploy him in the attacking midfield role, as he did at Everton, he puts Fellaini in the middle of the park, or sometimes even using him as a striker late in games. United still lacked any real quality in the middle and now relied even more so on crossing and wide play. Juan Mata was bought in January, which nobody saw coming, and added yet another #10 to the mix (Rooney, Cleverley, Kagawa, Mata, etc.) without anyone who could hold in front of the defense or be a proper replacement for Carrick. LVG finally injected quality into the middle of the park with Herrera. I would argue Scheinderlin was a great buy at the time, and LVG just misused him, so that was a big let down. He could have been very useful going forward similar to how Herrera plays (sort of a hybrid ball winner / attacking mid). Ultimately, United ended up selling off their quicker strikers like Welbeck and Hernandez. So now, United no longer had any pace up top, and still relied on wide players to create the majority of their chances. That's not a good mix. Rashford and Martial helped immensely, but both were relegated (eventually) to roles out wide, for whatever reason. United took what should have been a huge strength, and just added it to their weaknesses. So Mourinho brings in Pogba and Ibra. Now we've got a truly world-class midfielder, but he's not a holder. And we've got a world class striker, but he doesn't make runs behind the defense. He's what we all hoped Rooney would be as he aged. Ibra is PHENOMENAL but he needs the right players around him to be truly effective. It's frustrating to see how much the team relies on his goals. Pogba has been very good this season, but imagine putting a striker up top who can actually run behind to connect with his passing? It would be glorious. So this is where United are at the moment. A lot of talented midfielders. A lot of wide players. But a complete lack of ability to break down stubborn defenses. The only way this situation will improve is if United begin to stretch teams using pace up top, combined with utilizing (finally) a true holding midfielder who can help protect while others support the attack.
2016.11.05 13:00 I_Almost_Signed_HimScholes and I are parallel. I have been depressed for year. But the things are different.
I remember 2009 CL final. We were one of the team in the world. We won CL last season and were participating in back-to-back CL final. Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Giggs, Rio, Scholes, Park, Evra, Tevez, Carrick van der Sar, Gary, Anderson(you might call me mad now but he was really promising). Our squad was more than enough to claim its rightful place being best club in the world not only biggest but the best. But we lost it against Barcelona. That was really sad moment. That scar was yet to mend and then this happened, Ronaldo went to Real Madrid. And the worse the way we let Tevez go to our noisy neighbor. And we failed to buy Benzema and we went for Owen. Brought Valencia to replace Cristiano. Valencia wasn't really that bad though but you know. I mean that was really weird. We lost CL again in 2011 against Barcelona. Won the league that season. Our club literally lacked ambition during that time. During 2011/12 we were dumped out of CL group stage(Benifica and Basel finished above us). And that infamous Title loss because of goal difference. Winning the 20th was great achievement. But then again our club showed no ambition. Our club went after Moyes instead of Klopp, Pep and of course Mourinho. We signed Fellaini and failed to sign any players whom we tried to sign(Alcântara/abit Bale and other some notable failure). And then the worse was the way we performed in the league. David Moyes was the man who asked Vidic to study Everton defender Phil Jagielka, taught Rio on how to partner with his CB player and the worse, told us to learn/inspire from our noisy neighbor. That was depressing. I will not mention about result of the next two years. Our club showed great ambition, we went to market to buy the best and promising players. Mata, Shaw, Falcao, DiMaria, Blind, Martial, Memphis, Schweinsteiger, Schniderlin and even brought some promising youngster like Boonen and TfM to strengthen our academy. Even after being out of CL we have brought some best players. We won alot during those time but our club(or maybe owners) never showed an ambition towards the club. That was depressing. I know things are getting really worse these days. We are surprisingly performing really bad and our player are not looking that impressive. But there is difference. Our club is the one with great ambition. We have hired one of the best manager, brought best players. We are rebuilding our academy by recruiting some promising young players. We still have some players whom we need to sell/loan. They are not helping our team. And we have to get rid of them. We would have been battling for mid table if we would have shown patience with Moyes. If you think spending would help then you are wrong. Mourinho won at once at Chelsea but Chelsea already had stable squad. It didn't really helped City after huge spending and it didn't really helped Real Madrid too. Yeah, result are bad but aleast we showed great ambition. We went to market to buy some best players without CL. We have strong financial support and we can still buy some best names. I know saying "We will win the league" would sound depressing as hell, but we should finish at least top 4 this season. This is my opinion. Comments and Downvote are accepted.
2016.09.21 07:45 FUThead2016Why the 5-3-2 can be a possible solution
I think everyone would agree that we are not where we want to be right now. Many people are inevitably questioning the manager, the players, the strategy, everything is up for scrutiny. Cutting through the anxiety however, the central issue seems to be the fact that we have not been able to deploy our resources usefully. In some positions we have a glut of players, in others we don't have enough experience. Given these limitations, I think that the 5-3-2 can be a good option for Mourinho to explore. Here's why. Defensive lapses: Eric Bailey and Smalling are both very good defenders. They are however, not great organisers. Daley Blind on the other hand, is great at organization and is a fairly good center back. With Blind holding the ball and dictating play at the back, I feel Bailey and Smalling can be more effectively utilised. Attacking down the flanks: Let's face it, we don't have quality wingers. Luke Shaw and Valencia are however quite an effective option as attacking full backs. Having three central defenders frees them up, alleviating their defensive responsibilities somewhat, though they both must make the efforts to track back. Pogba and the midfield: In my opinion, the number 10 role is best suited to Pogba, allowing him to get up front and join the attack. As long as he is flanked by two engines who can overlap, Pogba can do wonders. In my opinion, Pogba in the central role, flanked by Mata and Herrera, or possibly even Fellaini or Carrick, would help get the best out of Pogba. Attack: I know that Ibra is used to being the lone attacker, but his lack of pace in front of a slow midfield slows down the entire attack. I think Ibra should be paired up with Rashford up front. Ibra's ball holding gameplay coupled with Rashford's pace would be a deadly combination up front. I feel like we are forcibly converting strikers to wingers and that is not working well. Rashford and Martial can be swapped to partner with Ibra. Now of course, this leaves he question of Rooney. I love the guy, he's a club legend, but it may be time for him to play a lesser role now. Maybe as an inspiring sub in midfield when leadership is needed. He should definitely be around, mentoring the younger players, but maybe as a sub. Well, there you have it. Let me know what you all think. Maybe you won't agree with it, but it comes from a place that is all red, all the way through
2016.09.20 21:08 WergleTheProudHas Mourinho ever played 3-5-2?
I was thinking about this as our formations (4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3) haven't been all that successful so far. Our problems seem to be primarily getting dominated in the midfield, and so to counter this, a 3-5-2 I think would allow our midfielders to play more narrow with a lot less area to cover defensively. Of course this relies on the wingers being beasts - but luckily we have a couple of those in Valencia and Shaw. A line up looking something like this -------------------De Gea------------- -------Bailly---Smalling---Blind------- Valencia--Pogba--Fellaini--Herrera--Shaw ------------Rooney---Zlatan---------- Our back 3 there I think is solid - yes Blind is not the fastest, but his positional play is good. Potentially we could swap him out for Shaw and play Martial on the left, but Shaw is quite short for a back 3 I feel. The worry of course, is if one of the payers gets injured we're kind of fucked as we don't necessarily have a lot of depth at CB. The positioning of Pogba on the right is crucial - this allows him to get forward as Valencia is good cover for him, and Fellaini can defend the center of the midfield physically. Although Fellaini's passing is not the best, it should suffice for that role, with Herrera also available. What it means is that while Pogba still has to defend, it's not quite as critical when he misses out an assignment. I know the Zlatan-Rooney pairing is slow. Ideally I'd like to see Mkhi partnered with Zlatan or Rooney with Rashford - one with pace, the other can drop a little deeper (almost as a false 10) and supply through balls. Circumstances dictate though that both of them play. If teams play a high line, that provides lots of space for Valencia and Shaw to run into. I know the 3 at the back is tough to execute well - which is why I'm asking if Mourinho has ever played it. If he has it could be an option for us to provide more cover in our midfield while still involving our attacking players in a meaningful way. Be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this, I feel like I'm overlooking a glaring weak spot somewhere but can't spot it.
Unfortunately, we are in a very awkward situation with the psychological commitments we have in starting both Rooney and Pogba. Both are extremely skilled players, but because of their statuses are being started in unnatural roles.
When Ibrahimović needs to beat men one on one from a static position, or run off the opposition's defensive line to get in behind, he just doesn't have the natural acceleration to do so.
With Rashford being more influential and preferred in the striker’s position, there is a strong argument for Rooney to be started in a reinvigorated deeper role or not to be started at all.
Without getting the basics right, and controlling the game as he did against Southampton, it could be argued that Pogba should be given a more forward role or started on the bench.
My preferred choice would be Fellaini as he offers an aerial presence which can be utilised in both set pieces and as a cover for our defensive line.
Unlike Smalling, Blind possesses very accurate, long and short passing abilities, and with his understanding of the game can instigate attacks and bring greater fluidity into the overall game.
Fundamentally, if Rooney, Pogba and Ibra continue to appear in the starting eleven together, I will worry about Mourinho’s vision.
Unfortunately, we are in a very awkward situation with the psychological commitments we have in starting both Rooney and Pogba. Both are extremely skilled players, but because of their statuses are being started in unnatural roles. Rooney’s captaincy and loyalty, and Pogba's high price tag, mean too often than not they are going to be given the benefit of the doubt. Even after Mourinho contradictory talked about playing specialists in roles. Pogba is really too undecided to earn such a title in any particular midfield role and with the competition at the front, outside of a striker, Rooney lacks the experience to receive such a title in any other position. Under Mourinho, Rooney has started in a central attacking midfield (CAM) role. In such a role, a successful individual must hold up the ball, play piercing passes and dictate play in the final third. Occasionally, given the space should even take shots on goal. Outside of their traits and with more certainty, it can be said that a CAM will find themselves with the ball central to the goal, behind the striker and just outside of the box. On many occasions, Rooney found himself in this position for Van Gaal, even when starting on paper, in a deeper central midfield (CM) position. When there, Rooney often decided to switch the play out to the wings, instead of choosing more direct options. This meant play became very static and recycled for United. From ten appearances in midfield, Rooney scored once and assisted twice. This is obviously not as influential as necessary to be labelled as a success in this position under Van Gaal. Now with a different system and colleagues, so far this season, after six games, Rooney has scored one goal and made three assists. On the face of it, this may seem to be an improvement and more of a justification to keeping him in this role, but looking more closely at the positioning of Rooney’s contributions it is clear he is still not suited for the CAM’s role. The goal he scored against Bournemouth came from a striker’s position, the assists he made against Southampton and Hull, both came from out wide, and the assist he created in the Leicester game came from deep in midfield. It is therefore inefficient and wasteful to start Rooney in a CAM position. For me, from this inefficiency, it is time to try Ibrahimović there instead, with Rashford starting as ST. When Ibrahimović needs to beat men one on one from a static position, or run off the opposition's defensive line to get in behind, he just doesn't have the natural acceleration to do so. Today, he showed this on several occasions with Prödl catching him after he had broken the line and had a head start. Without that option in attack, opposing teams will not need to continuously worry about holding their defensive line deeply. It would be silly to keep losing that fear. The CAM role would therefore be more efficient by allowing Ibra to be more of a feeder. His efforts towards Rashford's goal today showed this perfectly (https://streamable.com/jxs0). He wasn't the final man in the box needing to beat a player one of one, but instead was deeper and was able to beat them using Rashford. It was a lot more fluid and piercing, and allowed us to run at their back line with greater pace. This would obviously lead to a question over where Rooney and Pogba should start. With Rashford being more influential and preferred in the striker’s position, there is a strong argument for Rooney to be started in a reinvigorated deeper role or not to be started at all. Although Mourinho is sceptical from Rooney’s previous ventures in such a role, under his system he could force Rooney to be far more disciplined and defensive. Finding himself too far forward was a downfall under Van Gaal’s system, but taking away from this, when picking the ball up deeply, Rooney singlehandedly instigated attacks and controlled possession. His choices to switch play were more necessary and effective. We played far wider in that system and at stages greatly utilised Martial’s and Lingard’s width. This width has been thoroughly missed so far this season, with the average positioning of Martial, Mata and Mkhitaryan (When he was fit) being very narrow and instead, with greater risk, pushing our full backs forward. With that said, it was clear from Rooney’s performances against Iceland and Watford that with pressure and from not being on the ball often Rooney’s confidence dents heavily. This mainly leads to misplaced passes and bad touches, which would remove the main reasons justifying his placement in that role in the first place. Nevertheless, these blips do not come often, and Rooney’s strengths stay consistent when he was played more consistently in the same role. This was shown under Van Gaals system. Finding a partner for Rooney in midfield is a fundamental decision and more speculative. At the start of the season with Southampton, Pogba’s inclusion looked promising. He was influential in possession and our play was more direct and threatening. Ultimately though, his forward movement was shielded in midfield by Fellaini, Herrera and Mata. With personnel changes around him and ever-growing defensive duties, Pogba has lacked. Against Watford, Pogba was partly to blame for two goals after failing to track men on both occasions. Without an assist or goal to his name, and gaining more critics each game, it is certainly, not how Pogba wanted to start his United career. Pogba is learning the hard way, but there is only so many chances he can be given in a CM role. Without getting the basics right, and controlling the game as he did against Southampton, it could be argued that Pogba should be given a more forward role or started on the bench. This would leave the choice of Herrera, Fellaini, Blind, Schneiderlin, Carrick and Schweinsteiger to join Rooney. Rooney had several of these partners under Van Gaal, all of which were far more defensive. He did help defensively where necessary, in some games truly displaying a captain’s heart. Although, fundamentally, he would need a player with great acceleration and intercepting ability to balance midfield. One who would not always seek to move forward, but would be aware enough to move the ball directly forward when necessary. They would need to be more defensively experienced and minded to help balance midfield. Carrick, Blind and Schweinsteiger, like Ibra have lost the acceleration they once had. They all possess great touching, passing and dribbling ability, but cannot be as effective as they once were without the change in pace. Herrera on his birthday this year showed his maturity and loyalty, putting in a fantastically, defensively disciplined performance against Bournemouth. He himself though is far more experienced further forward, so may not have the motivation to be this disciplined as this season long. That would leave Schneiderlin and Fellaini, both possessing similar defensive experience, decent intercepting ability and accurate short distant passing. Unfortunately, they have also shown times of lapse in recent games when forgetting to track the running of individuals. This may be down to lack of game time, but is something that has been punished so far this season. My preferred choice would be Fellaini as he offers an aerial presence which can be utilised in both set pieces and as a cover for our defensive line. With such a cover, this would also create an option for brining Blind back into our defensive line. Blind’s understanding of the game is remarkable. He is an extremely intelligent player which has led to him being playable in several positions. Unlike Smalling, Blind possesses very accurate, long and short passing abilities, and with his understanding of the game can instigate attacks and bring greater fluidity into the overall game. He can also help to dictate the movement of Shaw moving forward. Another less important difference is Blind’s lack of giving away cheap fouls. Smalling is notorious for his shirt pulling and mischief when defending set pieces, which is becoming more punishable under new rules. Without removing this from his game, it could lead to Smalling becoming a liability at the back. There are definitely problems in our team and a strong need to bring in an excellent CM. It was shame Kanté felt he would perform better with Chelsea, as his presence would be invaluable. Although not on the same level, both Everton and Sunderland have shown that there are similar players available, in Gueye and Ndong. It will be interesting to see how Mourinho tries to bring the best out of our players. In my opinion, there are some crucial changes that are needed to make this happen, so it will be interesting to see whether any are considered. Fundamentally, if Rooney, Pogba and Ibra continue to appear in the starting eleven together, I will worry about Mourinho’s vision.
2016.09.18 19:54 Scarred_ShadowUtilising Paul Pogba?
I felt that this is a topic that a lot of us are wondering about, and I felt that perhaps we can have a discussion as to how he can best be utilised. I had initially posted the text below here: https://www.reddit.com/reddevils/comments/53c8wa/jose_we_have_to_improve_individually_and/d7rvk33 Here's my take on it: To get the best out of Paul, I don't think we should play a 10 or we should play Paul at the 10. Something like Carrick behind Herrera and Pogba would enable him to dominate so much more than being stuck behind a 10 (whoever it may be). Even someone like KdB being there would alter Pogba's role. The investment we've made means that we have to let Pogba dictate the midfield, and putting a 10 in means we're stifling him from doing that. It's self-harm, basically. Stretch the defence with two wingers, let Ibra play alone up front, let Pogba and Herrera run forward into the gap between the opposition midfield and defence and let them dictate play there. The formula for success is simple in theory: a breaker, a playmaker, and a box-to-box. We have our box-to-box in Pogba. We need someone to dictate the tempo (playmaker) and someone to break up plays and recycle possession (breaker). Now the person who's breaking up plays doesn't necessarily need to double as our playmaker in a 4-3-3, which is the beauty of it. We can diversify roles in midfield without putting too much burden on any one player. When we let Paul go about his job influencing both ends, we'll see his true potential. We've invested in Schneiderlin just last summer, so it would make sense to give him and Blind both a shot at being the breaker. Breakers don't have to be physically menacing, but they need to play the full 90 regularly and keep sweeping in front of the defence. It gives them that insurance policy that we're lacking right now. Break up the play, immediately find our playmaker or box-to-box. Simple role in theory, but much harder to execute. Need a good footballing brain at the helm, hence why I suggested Blind. Short-term though, Carrick fits this mould the best. For the playmaker role, someone who dictates the tempo of the game is so rare. The likes of Verratti, Modric, Kroos, Rakitic, etc. are these players. They can bring the ball further up the field, they can find that splitting pass while staying back, they can find incisive openings when on the move, and they generally make the right pass at all times. If in trouble, they'll find a way to switch the play into an opening. Rare breed, these players. Ander Herrera does a lot of these things, but not with the consistency of an elite playmaker. Wayne tries to do a lot of these things, but he's not quick enough. You see these best midfielders have that timing down and Wayne unfortunately does not. Now we can't just go shopping for these players as they'll cost an absurd amount. Kroos was our best bet when he was available, but that time is gone and we have to look elsewhere. One that was available this summer was Ilkay Gundogan, who I've admired for a long time. It hurts me to see where he is now. For now, our best bet would be giving a chance to Herrera and seeing if he can do it on a consistent basis. Give Pogba the tools to succeed. Rooney takes up a lot of the space that Pogba wants to drive into, he's been given duties that don't play to his strengths (midfield 2 with Fellaini, distributing possession), and hasn't had the chance to have a reliable partner in possession of the ball. I'm very confident that all we need is a tweak, not an overhaul. The quality is there, and I'm hoping our wingers pick it up soon. They need to stretch the defence and it's a shame that Lingard started the derby so poorly. He does so many things right and he runs all day; I hope he gets another chance to prove himself as he can be quite an asset in opening up the middle. It's all strategy, and every piece plays a part. Long-term, we'll want a striker who doesn't always fancy dropping deep because that's where Pogba will be operating. We'll want someone who can make runs in behind the defence and stretch that defensive line. Luckily we've got someone who shows promise in doing that. I'd be interested in hearing your takes on what you feel is missing right now in Pogba's role and as to where he should be playing. Is it a team tweak, is it a signing we need to make, or is it just that he's out of form? It obviously isn't just limited to those options and could be a variety of factors too. I've generally found that in discussion topics we have some very neat theories posed that open a few eyes as to what the exact nature of the problem is.
2016.08.08 09:58 SupaaFastA Post-Preseason Guide to Buying Manchester United Players
I made this post last year but I jumped the gun slightly and did it midway through preseason and it resulted in a tonne of the predictions being wrong (except the United defence living up to expectations). Hopefully this year will be better with our squad more figured out. Opening Fixtures
Hull City (A)
Man City (H)
UNITED'S DEFENSIVE RECORD - United were remarkably solid in defence last season, with the joint least goals conceded along with Tottenham and big Dave came second in the Golden Glove race despite not playing every game last season. Goalkeepers
David De Gea (5.5) - Exactly the same as last season. King Dave is going to start every game this season and will likely keep ~13 clean sheets in my humble opinion. At 5.5, he's one of the more expensive 'keepers, but he's as nailed on as a player could be and he's fantastic. He's a great option if you favour having one expensive goalkeeper play every game and have the other be bench-fodder. He's a contender for the Golden Glove again this season.
Verdict: Take him if you want to play one expensive goalkeeper with a 4.0, otherwise, go for two cheaper goalkeepers.
Sergio Romero (5.0) - Romero won't play much during the year unless something happens to De Gea and will most likely be getting run-outs in cup games.
Verdict: If De Gea doesn't play, you're getting a Top 4 goalkeeper for mid-table price but he's not a starter for now. Defenders
Chris Smalling (6.0) - Chris Smalling was United's top scoring defender in Fantasy last year, not that that's saying much. He didn't score at all last year and has never really been known for his goalscoring prowess. He also won't be available for GW1 due to his red-card in the FA Cup Final. He is definitely nailed on though so if you don't want to worry about a United defender, I guess take him, but I don't recommend it.
Verdict: Too expensive when there are other great options.
Daley Blind (5.5) - He's been partnering Bailly in pre-season and he looks good and is excellent at reading the game, unfortunately he won't play in our first-choice defence so he's definitely not worth it.
Verdict: He won't start so not worth it.
Eric Bailly (5.5) - He looks like he'll be the other CB partnering with Smalling. He's aggressive and fast and actually reads the game quite well but he looks like he'll pick up quite a few yellow cards. Also, of the two CBs he's likely the one that will be rotated. He isn't known for his attacking prowess and didn't score much in Spain. Nothing suggests that will change in England.
Verdict: The cheaper CB in the United starting defence. I'd still take a fullback though.
Jones/Fosu-Mensah/Borthwick-Jackson/Rojo/Darmian (5.5-4.5) - Avoid. They'll pick up a few minutes here and there but definitely not worth it for their respective prices. Darmian will be the one to move into the starting lineup, if any, but for now Valencia is looking undroppable.
Luke Shaw and Valencia (5.5) - This is where the United defence starts to get interesting. Shaw didn't play for half of last season due to being out for injury, but when he did, he impressed. He was always solid at the back and his ability to bombard down the wing and swing in crosses and get involved in the attack are reminiscent is extremely promising. If he can stay fit, he'll start every game and is a good shout for picking up points. He's been subbed off after 70' in the last few United preseason games, but I think that's just to keep him fresh and ease him back after his brutal injury. Valencia on the other hand is playing some of his best football since 2011. The winger-turned-defender is solid at the back, puts in a tremendous shift, and has been racking up assists left, right, and centre during preseason. He's looking nailed on for the first few games of the season at least with Darmian being dropped to the bench for now. They're both at somewhat equal levels of nailed-on-ness so it's up to you if you want to go with youth and pace or experience and pace.
Verdict: At 5.5, they're both the ones to watch in the United defence (unless you have De Gea). UNITED'S ATTACKING POTENTIAL - Last season was a massively conservative season for United, scoring only 49 goals all season. That's atrocious. We've signed Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan (who scored and assisted 50+ each last season in all competitions) so we should hopefully be a lot better this year. We also have our second season of Anthony Martial and he's looked as bright as ever in preseason. Midfielders -
Juan Mata (7.5) - When Mata plays, he almost always performs and is USUALLY nailed for 140+ points a season. Unfortunately, the number of games he plays this season will drop substantially due to our new signings and the fact that he's competing with Rooney for the #10 spot and Mkhitaryan for the wing. He'll be used but mostly as rotation and isn't nailed. I wouldn't choose him in United's packed midfield.
Verdict: Unfortunately, avoid.
Martial/Mkhitaryan/Lingard (9.5/9.5/6.0) - Our first-choice left and right-wingers are both stars in the United offence. In pre-season the front four, whomever it was, rotate all game and float across the final third. Martial shows up in the box, the right wing, at the #10 position, and back where he started on the left in the space of 5 minutes. Expect both to be heavily involved in United's attack, although Martial is more nailed on. Mkhitaryan has to deal with competition from Jesse Lingard, who isn't flashy, but is playing great football to try and claim a starting place in the team. Lingard went down with an injury and had to be subbed off in the Community Shield so he's a doubt until we get news, but if you want one of these three, I'd recommend Martial.
Verdict: Martial > Lingard/Mkhitaryan. Martial is the most nailed on player in the United midfield in an attacking position.
Herrera/Fellaini/Carrick/Memphis/Schneiderlin (7.5-4.5) - While they're all very good players that will get quite a few minutes this season, the midfield is too fierce to guarantee solid playing time. Even Memphis, who's quite attacking, will probably be limited in opportunities this season.
Young/Januzaj/Pereira/Schweinsteiger (6.0-4.5) - Either used as rotation or on the way out. Avoid.
PAUL POGBA (8.5-10) - #POGBACK. He's a great player and we all have immense hopes for him, and he'll almost certainly be nailed on in central midfield, he'll be too expensive and play too deep for him to be worth it fantasy-wise. I'm willing to eat my words but he's not going to be playing an attacking midfield role so I don't think his price will be worth it, especially because his name carries so much weight and will likely bump it up a few millions more how much it should be.
Verdict: I wouldn't choose him but if he comes in cheaper and happens to play an attacking role he might be a good pick.
SUMMARY - Martial is the one to watch. He's expensive but he'll be very attacking and will likely be worth it. Mkhitaryan would be a good look as well depending on if he secures playing time. Watch out for Pogba's price and position.
Wayne Rooney (9.0) - Rooney put up his worst fantasy season in his career last year and still put up around 120 points. He's good when he hits form but that's becoming all too infrequent lately. Mourinho won't be afraid to bench him if he isn't playing up to standard and we have Mata and many more as more than capable #10 replacements. Mourinho says he wants Rooney to play as a striker but I think he'll continue to play the #10 role and not #9. I don't think he's the United forward to get this season, even with his price dropping below double digits for the first time in years.
Verdict: I don't think so.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (11.5) - He's the second most expensive player in the game and, in my opinion, for good reason. He scored 50 goals in all competitions last year, as much as some football teams, and he's started on fine form with two goals in two games in preseason (a bicycle kick and a header over Wes Morgan). If you can afford to have him in your team alongside Aguero, then go for it, but it's definitely a challenge.
Verdict: Aguero is the expensive forward everyone needs to have but if you can afford to get both and be happy with your team, then go for it. You might be having the last laugh while the rest of us are taking -8 point hits to get him in when he scores a hat trick on opening day.
Marcus Rashford (7.0) - Way too expensive for the limited game-time he'll be getting. He'll be involved, but he's still super young and won't be starting many games. Avoid unless everyone goes down injured.
James Wilson (5.0) - Another striker whose playing time will be severely limited.
Verdict: Avoid, unless everyone is injured. Which is a possibility knowing our team.
SUMMARY: Ibrahimovic. Duh.
OVERALL SUMMARY - De Gea, Shaw or Valencia, Martial in the midfield, Pogba if he's cheap enough and attacking enough, Ibrahimovic up top are the players that stand out for me from United right now. MY TEAM:I currently have De Gea in goal (only because you can get a 4.5 Arsenal defender in Chambers right now so the Arsenal+United defence combo costs 10.0 as opposed to 11+), and Martial in midfield. There are too many good, cheap, strikers to pair with Aguero imo to have both him and Ibra. I could be wrong though. I'm probably wrong. Disclaimer: If we sign Bale, put him in first, second, and third. Pls Bale. OR Ronaldo come home. Fuck it, throw in Messi too.
2016.04.24 01:49 hooperk25What should the summer bring for United? (+ My thoughts if you care enough to read.)
The intelligence we have been displaying in some of the last three games has been very positive. In my opinion, the score line against Tottenham was very unfair. In the first half of that game and especially the first 19 mins, we played our best football of the season. Since then we have been consistently showing glimmers of that standard and its promising. The summer will be so important for the next three years. In my opinion we need 4/5 first team players, as well as a few for the bench. The right CB, RW/RM, CM, LB/LWB and (though hopefully unnecessary) LW would create a highly formidable side. Regarding the LB/LWB position, I know we have Shaw on the horizon, but we need to get Rojo out, and we need a more competitive back up for Shaw. Also, having a more solid LB/LWB to compete with Shaw would allow us to play Blind in a holding midfield role or continue to utilise his experience and wisdom at CB. Borthwick showed some great pace, work rate, strength and passing, but I feel he is a few years away from his best. Although to a degree, he has the ability to be playing first team football, I think he would benefit more from a loan spell at a large English club. Van Gaal has shown he believes in the youth, but Shaw needs an older more fearful rival for the role over the next few years. The LW role is one of the harder transfers to justify. Martial is beyond his years and possesses world class ball control. He has shown that against an array of RB's, CDM's and CB's and has been deadly coming in from the left. With that said, though it may sound like setting Rashford up for failure, it will take another season to see whether he is as irreplaceable as he has been and without a deadly LW we would lack the depth in our squad to be a truly exciting side. If he doesn't continue to play to the heights he has, it would force us to bring Martial over to the centre. Doing so would open up the problems we faced throughout the start of the season, when both Young and Depay regularly started in the team. For English and European dominance we need much higher quality LW's than Young and Depay. Alongside Rojo, I feel Young is one of our worst players. In my opinion, the contract we offered to Young last year is going to come back to bite us in the future. We are going to be stuck with Young for a long time, and will at most be able to get £4 million for him. I have been glad to see him thrown far from the sight of the first team. Before his arrival, Depay looked like he was more capable than he has shown. Though skilful he looks like a highly inexperienced and naive player. In comparison to Lingard, Martial and Rashford, Depay looks like he hasn't faced true hardship or competition. It's for these reasons I feel we need a more trustworthy, creative and wise LW (I should say at this point, of course I don't want this to be the case, I want to see Rashford surpass everyone's expectations and give us a 'Kane' like response, which would allow Martial to continue to cause havoc from the left). The RW role is a high necessity. Di Maria wasn't mature or disciplined enough to be truly impactful. People may mention that he has the most assists in our team in the year he played, and that he did that without ever really settling at the squad. On top of that, since his departure he has become a dominant force in the French league, but in my opinion he was far from having the work ethic, heart or discipline to be a truly historic player. He may have the right to have turned the United challenge down, but I never want to see another player like that brought into our team. Lindgard seems to have the self awareness and gratitude for his place in the team, which is very positive, but he needs competition! Mata has been forced into this hole, and he is indeed a stark contrast to Di Maria. Mata is a man with loyalty, respect for the game, and maturity. Throughout this season and last, he has selflessly done what was needed for the team. With that said though, RM/RW is no place for Mata. He undeniably can read the game, but he doesn't have the strength or pace for a threatening RM/RW. Properly refilling this position would give Mata a chance to get into a more central role, and would ensure we don't become so dependant on Lindgard. This leads onto the need for the right CM, and (although I have the most upmost respect for him) why Mata, will struggle to get into the team. This may be shocking for some and it may be early doors to say for sure, but maybe Mourinho is right in saying we should sell Mata. I just can't see how he would fit into the team moving forward. Mata will always be a handful at CAM but as Van Gaal pushes towards his preferred 433, Mata may never get into the team. I will always have a bias towards Rooney, but he is just better suited to a CM role. This newer position will only amplify his skill and allows him to show us his experience and vision. He has the legs and the strength to get back to defend when necessary, and with his knowledge of the forwards movements, he has the awareness to develop more fruitful attacks. On top of this, as Carrick nears retirement at the end of this or next season, we need to find a replacement to trust in CM. Fellaini is definitely not one of our worst players, but his rash behaviour at times makes him quite dubious in the CM role. Herrera is exciting and is a solid substitute. He can produce some magic against the right teams, but could never be a first team starter for me. Schneiderlin and Blind should also be mentioned here. Both can play in a CM, yet it's not a role they can completely flourish in. They will have much more of an impact sitting in a CDM role offering a defensive layer to the CB's and calming play where necessary. A CDM role would also give Blind the space and time he craves for the piercing long balls he can deliver. Instead, for the CM role, I feel we need someone with an exceptional eye for interceptions, and someone with the pace we always lacked with Carrick. Kante is a prime example of someone with such a skill set. Such a player would take our counter attacking play to the next level, and alongside Rooney, Blind and Schneiderlin would create a concrete midfield. As usual a CB has been needed for years. Smalling is one of the best in the world for his age. He like Martial is above his years and will be our first choice CB for years to come. Obviously he needs a partner, and someone who is as physical, young and talented as he is. We need someone who over the years will create a forceful union with Smalling. With De Gea so close to leaving last summer, we are kidding ourselves in thinking he will be staying for many more years. He will never truly be replaced. De Gea is a once in a lifetime keeper, and alongside Mata has set a precedence for professionalism in football. However, without him in our side, the true lack of depth in our CB positions would have been properly highlighted. De Gea has been a sensationally influential. Without gaining a long term CB upon his departure, we will be conceding far more goals. If I remember correctly at the time we were going for a swap with Varane. Varane is the type of CB this club needs. A long term partner for Smalling, who in some areas is a far more developed defender. Both are very quick for CB's which would be invaluable at times. I look forward to what this summer brings. I just hope Rojo and Young are sold immediately. What do you guys think we need for the team?
2016.02.18 22:51 Cromwell_A critical no bullshit squad analysis
Rojo - bang average, injury prone (28 appearances in 2 seasons wtf)
Darmian - injury prone
Jones - injury prone, bang average
Schweinsteiger - old (he will be 32 this year ffs), slow, past his prime
Schneiderlin - bang average midfielder, not excellent at passing, not creative, not dominant. [For the furious Schneiderlin masturbators - No he will not be a "world class" midfielder in a few years, there is no evidence to believe that based on his performances the whole season. He is not young, he will be 27 this year]
Hererra - Bang average
Valencia - old, past his prime
Fellaini - need I elaborate?
Carrick - old, past his prime
Lingard - somewhat overrated because of somewhat positive recent performances. He's fast, but needs to improve general kicking skills.
Love and McNair - ugh
Rooney - will be 32 this year, not wise to be heavily dependent on one aging striker.
The ones with real potential who can make MU a creative and threatening force again are the following:
Martial- Obv, but he needs a skilled enough midfield to support him.
Shaw - Was performing excellent before being cut short by injury
Mata - Yes Mata was bad defensively today, but overall has shown more good than bad this season, and is technically gifted.
CBJ - Has potential to be "world class", has actually shown evidence, excellent passes, crosses, calmness under pressure to justify this feeling unlike Schneiderlin.
Blind - Work ethic speaks for itself.
Memphis - His body language implies confidence problems rather than lack of skill, awareness or competency issues.
Smalling - Being stretched at the moment without skilled defensive partners.
Young - Good squad member
Januzaj, Pereira, Varela, Keane - Best of the youth
Some of them need to played in their correct position and some just need some real goddamn playing time. Injuries, general lack of talent and age are holding back the ones with potential. We need no nonsense bite your head off cuntasaurus rex fullbacks, a fast creative midfield that can actually stay calm under counterattacks, and two more strikers. OBVIOUSLY this is all opinion - let's debate, have a discussion, raise counterarguments rather than just downvote. Edit: forgot a player. Edit2: Apologies if "analysis" isn't the right word and stretching it. English isn't my first language.
With the loss to Southampton, many of you may think of this as a rant, Van Gaal aside, I'd like to talk about the footballers we have at Manchester United, and what I think needs to change in the future. I will not be talking about the manager, as that will change the topic of discussion about this post, and this will turn into an LVG out parade, and that is not at all my intention. Let's start with the ground up, because that is how you build a squad. Goalkeeper: We have two keepers at the club, one is the best in the world, and the other is exactly what you'd expect as a back up. I have no issue with the depth in that position, however, it would be foolish to not think of the future when De Gea is constantly linked with a return to Madrid. Although I am more hopeful of keeping him now than I was last season, but, I am still skeptical that he will be the #1 next season, so, three keepers I would like to see come into the club if we were to lose him would be, Oblak of Atletico Madrid, Lloris of Spurs, and Butland of Stoke. Butland and Oblak would be options for the future, as they are both relatively young. They are not finished articles, but are making names for themselves to be top 5 keepers in the future. Lloris would be the closest possible thing we have to De Gea, as he is a top keeper. He is worse in the box, about the same when it comes to reaction saves, and is not as good with his feet as De Gea, he would be a drop-off in talent, but would still save us many points a season. I'd take the younger options, as I believe they would cost about the same, and they have more potential than a man who is in his prime as a keeper. Goalkeeper, is the position that I have the least worries about in the squad as we are moving forward. Fullback: We have two first quality fullbacks, Darmian and Shaw. Injuries aside, they are the clear frontrunners for the positions in the future. We have cover in those positions in Valencia, Young, Blind, Rojo, Borthwick, McNair and more. However, they are not all first team quality. Valencia, Young, and Rojo could come into those positions with limited fall off in the team, however a nice option off the bench, especially with almost every single player I mentioned earlier being injured. A fullback would be necessary for this season for sure, and I wouldn't mind signing a 25 year old who we know is decent enough to play in the first team. Options I have identified, that would hopefully be able to be brought in for less than 15 million quid would be, Inigo Martinez of Real Sociedad, Cristian Ansaldi of Genoa, and Kalidou Koulibaly of Marseille. I would prefer Koulibaly, as I've seen him a couple times. He is relatively young, and has potential to emulate another French fullback. However, with him it could hamper the development of Luke Shaw, but Shaw may have the potential to even play more advanced, as he is excellent going forward, as well as defending. We will have to wait and see. I believe the position needs strengthening for the short term, and we could get Ansaldi for cheap, he is a defender first, and we could throw him right into the fray. Center Half: Now, this is a predicament. Smalling is the man, we just need to find his partner now don't we. He may very well be at the club, as Jones is full of talent, Rojo is also an incredible defender, who has not been appreciated enough in his performances for the club. Both are defensive liabilities but so was Smalling in the past. They need runs of games, where they can build confidence, and make a great partnership with Mike, but that seems to be a hard thing to do. Jones is clearly, made of glass, and Rojo is also injured for the much of the season. Some may consider Rojo rash, and he may be, but he is a great defender who reads the game properly, and there's a reason he's considered the best left back in all of the Argentinian stock, he's good. I rate him higher than Jones, but again, Jones could still turn into one of the best defensive players in the world, as he is still relatively young, although it seems as if he's been at the club forever. McNair, Borthwick, and Blind can all slot in if need be, so I believe the position is fine. However, if by the end of next season, Rojo or Jones has not solidified himself as Smalling's partner, it is clearly time to look into the market. Let's wait for the European Championship to be over, and then maybe we can identify top talent for that position, for now I'll have to take a raincheck on naming any potential replacements, as I hope they are both currently already at the club. Center Midfield: How do you solve a problem like the midfield? Quite simply, we need to buy. Herrera is good, not great, wonderful squad player, who may flourish under a different manager, who knows. Carrick is 34, and I hope he retires as a legend or goes to the MLS. I can't praise Carrick highly enough, but he's not the long term option. Truly, one of the unsung heroes of the 2000's under Ferguson, Mr. Reliable as he was called by Sir Alex. Schweinsteiger, similarly is also getting there. I parallel him to Rooney, as he has also been playing since he was a teenager. Football years add up, and he may only be 31, but he is also, clearly not a long term option. Schneiderlin has been great so far, I strike him similarly to Carrick, he will never be a world class player, but what he does is invaluable for the current situation. I highly rate him, and compare him to Busquets, even though he is not as good on the ball, he sniffs out danger like a drug sniffing dog, and that is invaluable. Fellaini, for all the hate he gets, is an okay footballer. He does a job, he's a nuisance, I still don't want him in the team, but for now I understand why Van Gaal plays him, he's a presence, who does a job. Not good going forward, or going back, and is the product of Moyes' stupidity. He wouldn't be in the team had it not been for a panic buy from David. He shouldn't be in the long term plans of the club, but I don't mind what he's done. He's not first team quality for Man United, and I pity him for being thrown into this team. He should move to a mid table team where he belongs in the Summer. I disapprove of the abuse, and I hope that we will remember him for what good he has done, as he has done good things for the club, that in my opinion, have overshadowed the bad. Mata is another player I pity. He was another stupid panic buy from Moyes, and he has never been able to live up to his potential at United. If we ever start playing with a number 10, he'd be excellent, but I don't see that happening. We all know how good he can be, and he is a shadow of himself on the wing. I don't think he's a long term option, but boy do I love him to death. Hopefully he can emulate Santi Cazorla and shift into a Xavi or Iniesta type player. Start running a bit more, put on 10 pounds and boss the midfield. I wonder if that can happen, but by god, I would love that. Maybe with that we don't even need to buy, but we should still invest. Pereira is another player, who is a number 10, but United have never really played with a number 10. He is highly talented, and should go out on loan to a decent side. I'd love to see him stay and become a great for the club, but he needs to play at his age. Blind and Schneiderlin can rotate their position, and we still need that creative force in the midfield. This all being said, we need someone who can slot into the team next Fall, someone world class, who can boss a game. We should break the bank for a midfielder, and I've identified a couple targets who I think we desperately need. Pogba, break the fucking bank. (I should make it clear I think it's very very hard to attract someone like Pogba, but it's not totally impossible) Pay him what he wants, the lad is class. He should come back to United for the right fee, and hopefully he will, but we need a backup option. I've identified the following players. Pjanic of Roma, the lad is great. He can do it all, pass, dribble, shoot. A less expensive option, a little older than Pogba, but he could slot in to the side, and hopefully do what Rakitic did for Barcelona. Excellent player, who I would love to see in the United Red. We should not have any issues attracting him, as United is a massive step up from Roma, Champions League football or not. Verratti of PSG. He reminds me of Clasie from Southampton today, only better at everything. A workhorse, who can pass, dribble, shoot. He would be much harder to attract from PSG but I think we can do it. Pay some good money for him, but he's younger than Pjanic, and I think he would be a massive upgrade to what we have now. Dele Alli would be the second most expensive option to Pogba. We know he's also got potential, but he's also young. I'd like to see another year or two out of him before we break the bank for him. We also desperately need this issue fixed this summer, and I think the afore mentioned targets would do the job we need better than Alli would. He'd need time to adjust and that is not a luxury we really have. I also rate Saul, but he's younger, more unproven, but I wouldn't mind seeing him. I'd rather have a ready made talent than have to invest in more raw talent. We need to sign one of these players in the Summer, and we should pull out the stops to sign any one of these players. Wingers: Boy oh boy, too much potential for me to handle. Pereira can turn into a winger, Memphis can be a world beater, Januzaj can also be a world beater, and Martial does the job there for now. Let's not be hasty and say we need another one, but we'd be foolish to turn down a world class talent if they become available. If Neymar wants to leave, break the fucking bank, if Bale wants to leave, break the fucking bank, I don't want Ronaldo back, as I don't think he'd be what we need, but I would never be opposed to it. All in all, no need to really invest into the position quite yet, unless these mentioned talents come into the picture. Striker: Will Keane, sad to see you go mate, but you're just not good enough. James Wilson on the other hand is younger, and has the potential to become a great striker for the club. Hopefully next season will be his real break through. Rooney is who we need there right now, an aging leader, who we absolutely desperately need. Do not sell Rooney, unless we can get at least 50 million quid for him. Rooney's contribution off the pitch is much more important than on the pitch, and that is really why we have stuck with him this whole season. Don't sell Rooney, I don't care how shite he is, but if we can partner him with someone right, then we will see the best of Rooney. Martial can be a future Ballon D'or winner, and he'll do great things for the club hopefully. He is special, and even if he wants to leave after a while, we'll get so much money from him, it's absurd. Now, I've made it clear, we're lacking options up front. All these players are quite small and all are more or less, the same type of player. I've identified certain players who I think would be that other option for the attack, who could partner Martial in the future. Harry Kane, What more needs to be said about him. The next Wayne Rooney in my opinion. If he has a good European Championship, break the fucking bank. He's a bigger option, more of a target man, who has great link up play, and can score that goal. He's British which is always a plus, a proven Premier League goalscorer, who I would love to see at United. Cavan would be a short term option. On the older side, he fits a similar mould to Kane, and could slot straight into the team. Almost like a Van Nistelrooy of sorts, a huge nuisance up front, and can put the ball in the back of the net. A short term option, but we'd get 3 good years out of him, and if we can get him for less than 50 million quid, I think he'd be worth it. I don't rate Lukaku, and I know I'll get some abuse for it, and he could be one of the best players in the world soon. I don't know what it is, but he seems limited to me. He can shoot, he's a target man, but I'm still not overly impressed with him. He keeps scoring like this for two more years, then yea, maybe we should buy him. But I think Kane has more potential than him. Aubameyang is another longer term option, and he'd also be harder to attract. He's big, and can fit the mould of a target man, but he's also got that blistering pace. We absolutely need any one of these options, and I'd break the bank for either one of these. We need another option in the strike force, and it's quite clear that we don't have that target man in the side. Break the fucking bank for ANY one of these players. Thanks for reading if you did, and this is what I've identified in my analysis of the squad. My TLDR will be about the targets that we need to get, but it's hard to condense what I've written. Please try and have a civil discussion about this, and I really think everyone should read the whole thing, as we can have a long discussion about this. TLDR: GK: Try and keep De Gea. Potential targets: Lloris, Oblak, Butland. (Read the post for context) Fullback: Bring in a short term option for the season, we have cover in the position, but literally everyone is injured. Potential Targets: Ansaldi, Koulibaly, Inigo Martinez. Center Half: No need to panic buy in the position. If Rojo or Jones have not identified themselves as Smalling's partner by the end of the season, break the bank for 2017-18. Midfield: Biggest issue in the side, desperately need class in this position. We have good holding midfielders, but no #8 who can split the side open. Potential targets: Pogba, Pjanic, Verratti, Alli (next summer if he keeps it up). All these players, bar Pogba, can be brought in if we break the bank. We need to break it in order to succeed, and we desperately need real quality, spend more than 50 million quid for someone. Striker: Relatively content with who we have at our disposal. I think Rooney's off the pitch contribution is massive, and should never be under-looked. I'd keep him, as Wilson and Martial aren't fully ready. Those players all fit the pacy mould, but we need a target man option. Potential targets: Kane, Cavani, Aubameyang. Bank again, needs to be broken in order to buy one of these players, but they are a Plan B, which we desperately need. Please, please, please, if you have the time, read this full post, as there is meaningful discussion in there for everyone. I have purposefully left out the manager, as that will kill the discussion, which is meant to be about the squad, and not the management. Edit: Wow, this is super long and I had lost track of time. Took me about 15 minutes to write, but it was fun. I won't be checking for grammar as that will take too long. Cheers.
2015.09.20 16:00 LocksTheFoxMatch Thread: Southampton vs Manchester United
Southampton 2-3 Manchester United Premier League Matchday 6 Venue: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Manager: Ronald Koeman ()
Virgil van Dijk
José Fonte (C)
Kelvin Davis (GK), Cédric Soares, Cuco Martina (), Steven Davis (), Shane Long (), Jay Rodriguez, Juanmi.
Manager: Louis van Gaal ()
David de Gea
Sergio Romero (GK), Paddy McNair (), Antonio Valencia (), Ander Herrera, Bastian Schweinsteiger (), Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini.
1': We're off from St. Mary's. Southampton in their traditional stripes, United in black. 6': After some reddit server issues....Mané is sprung by Wanyama, but the cross can't find Pellè. 11': Tadić tries from outside the box and fires just wide of De Gea! Good effort from the Serbian. 13': Dangerous corner by Prowse, Van Dijk is there but United clear just in time. 13':GOAL! JWP with a great ball into Mané. De Gea saves, but that sexy Italian Pellè pounds it home! 1-0 16': And now Pellè puts one just wide. After a shocking match last week, he's playing like a man possessed early. 18': Memphis slices and dices through the Saints, but Martial's shot is high. 20': WARD-PROWSE WITH A SHOT ON TARGET. I REPEAT, WARD-PROWSE WITH A SHOT ON TARGET. It's right at De Gea. 24': Mata crosses for Memphis. Memphis heads high. 30': Spin-o-rama by Wanyama draws a foul from his ex-midfield partner, Schneiderlin. 34':GOAL! Fonte misses a clearance, Yoshida tackles Mata (who appears to have been offside), and Martial has all the space in the world. Can't miss from there! 1-1 45': One minute of added time! 45+1': And that's the half! HT: 1-1 HT: Valencia Darmian HT: Martina Targett 46': Second half is a go! 50':GOAL! So Martial is pretty good at this whole football thing. He gets in behind the Saints defense and rolls it past Stekelenburg. 1-2 56': S. Davis Romeu 59': WHAT A SAVE BY DE GEA OFF OF FONTE! 60': Schweinsteiger Carrick 68':GOAL! Depay hits the bar, but Mata is there to clean up the mess. 1-3 70': McNair Rojo 73': to van Dijk for hauling down Martial. 76': Long Ward-Prowse 78': to Fonte for hauling down Martial. 85': Tadić swings in a free kick. De Gea punches. 86':GOAL! Mané crosses. Pellè heads it home. GAME ON. 2-3 89': Long crosses and Pellè heads over!! DRAMA INTENSIFIES 90': Five minutes of added time 90+1': Mané crosses for Tadić who heads just wide!! 90+2': BIG SAVE DE GEA OFF OF WANYAMA!! 90+3': DOUBLE SAVE BY DE GEA! FUCK ME THIS GUY IS SAVING THE GAME 90+5': And that's the end of a thriller! What a show. FT: 2-3
2015.03.24 15:02 A_hiccupAbout Mata, Fellaini and summer ahead.
So, I thought I would write something about our recent "tactical improvements" and where we might be heading under LVG, including what our next season might be like. These are the questions that I asked myself before writing this up and have given my best possible answer. Feel free to criticize my opinions. Q. What has changed about Mata and what's this "Inverted Right Winger" role that LVG is talking about? A. Let's rollback to Mata's Chelsea years and think about what was his role there. He was never a typical no.10 at Chelsea. Infact it is very difficult to fit a typical No.10 in any team. De Bruyne, Silva, Ozil, Mata in Chelsea colours, Hazard, Kagawa at United have either played as inverted wingers or have had problems in becoming a complete no.10. It's a poisoned chalice of a position, where if you are too diminutive and become a team's focal point of attack, then you can easily be marked out of the game. I can't speak for others here as I've not watched them enough, but this is where Mata struggled for us whenever he played there. If he started centrally, as a fixed no.10, he was easily marked out and lost possession easily thus our attacks breaking down. We then tried to put Mata in our midfield which was another failed experiment as he lacked positional awareness of a midfielder to be available for a pass. We also had zero cohesiveness and understanding in our midfield to even understand where your midfield partner might be open for a pass. Both Moyes and LVG had completely forgotten where Mata played for Chelsea, which was not a no.10. Yes, he was Chelsea's no.10, but he always played an inverted winger switching between Hazard and Oscar, which as we all remember was a rather deadly combination. Now, how did that work? If you watch some of the current Chelsea matches, and even the ones in which Mata played, you would see that a lot of running/tracking back behind him was done by OscaRamires. Enter Herrera. If you watch now, everytime Mata needs an outlet to pass he always has Herrera next to him and Valencia behind him. We might differ in our opinions about the defensive capabilities of Valencia and Herrera, but both are extremely good runners. Even if Mata finds himself crowded out on the wing, he doesn't need his pace to dribble past them. All he has to do is pass it to Herrera/Carrick/Valencia, and run into the midfield. They pass it back to him, Herrera takes up Mata's current vacant space on the inverted winger position and Mata now has an direct influence of the game, without being a typical no.10, thus not being marked, nor being a winger thus not being out-paced. Best example of this is the second goal against L'pool. Herrera tries a shot at midfield, while Mata cuts in from the wing. Herrera then swiftly switches positions with Mata. Mata goes in for the attack while Herrera is completely free and unmarked. LVG must be given some credit for finding a set of players that can get the best out of each other, though one might say that it took too long. Better late than never, eh? Q. What's Fellaini's role and why is he important? A. Let's forget whatever Fellaini has done till the past two games. Let's talk about the ones against Spurs and L'pool. These two sides press the most in the league. When a team is pressing you as much as they do, and irrespective of how good a short-passing team you might be, you would eventually give up possession higher up on the pitch. There were multiple occasions against L'pool where Jones and Blind would've easily lost possession if not for Fellaini. Playing Fellaini with good passers like Mata and co, brings about the usage of both Plan A and Plan B. Why should Fellaini be plan B when he can be an extremely effective cog of plan A? Check out the both the goals against L'pool. In the first goal, De Gea targets Fellaini. L'pool can't obviously get anywhere close to it due to Fellaini due to his presence. It's quite simple. If a man is using his head and chest more and is usually twice the size of you, your pressing will result in nothing as Can found out yesterday. Fellaini gets the ball, passes it to Jones. Now Jones gets pressed. Where does he go? Back to Fellaini. Here Fellaini is not being pressed because they have already tasted failure on this. So, L'pool's midfield is now confused, but more importantly, concentrated more towards the left of the field. This is where Fellaini's intelligence comes into picture. He could've easily turned around and tried a hoof to Young. He didn't. He waited for Herrera's run and then passed it to him who was completely unmarked thanks to L'pool players being confused in this usage of two systems at the same time. You press us hard, we will just hoof it to our big man, switch our play and enjoy acres of space that you can't defend anymore because of poor positioning. Smart and effective. Q. Are there any flaws in this system? How do we address them in summer? A. As you might have noticed, we are ropey when it comes to hanging onto leads. Even when we were leading L'pool, there was an element of them coming back and snatching a point. We are also piss-poor when it comes to playing against 10 men. This isn't a LVG thing. Even under Fergie, in the later years, we were absolute garbage against 10 men and became garbage when we got down to 10 men. So, can all this be related to our defence? I would like to disagree here and point towards something a little less obvious. Yes, our midfield. You might think that how dare I question a midfield that has been playing so well, scoring goals and creating assists like no other United midfield in recent years. But let's not forget that a team invites pressure or pressurizes opponents because of midfield that has good, fast box-to-box midfielders. You can have a brilliant front 3 but if your midfield is light weight, losses possession easily or is static, you will get pressurized. More often than not this is what used to happen to us. This resulted in our attackers going deep to get on the ball. Thus resulting in our outlets out of pressure situations being completely cut off. LVG, as you might have noticed is a stickler for positional understanding. When Rooney played upfront for Fergie, he had the complete freedom to drop as deep as he wants to, to defend or attack. When he is playing under LVG as a frontman, he doesn't roam around leaving his responsibilities. Even if he is not getting on the ball, he doesn't go out of position. I think this is one of the biggest reasons why we have performed so well in every single time we've been reduced to ten men this season. What has caused this? Partly LVG, partly a non-static midfield. But is this enough? I don't think so. We currently have no replacement for Carrick in our ranks. And I don't think Blind has truly shown that yet. Yes, he has a more attacking mindset than Carrick and maybe a yard or more faster than him, but he will more often than not go for the safer pass. Remember Carrick was ridiculed for his sidepasses a few seasons back? He has developed a lot and I hope Blind follows suit. But we sure do need a box-to-box midfielder as much as anything else in summer. Someone who can absorb pressure like Carrick. And run with the ball, and not just depend upon his passing abilities in getting out of clutch situations. Pogba, Enzo Perez or even Gabi would be kind of midfielder that can be great here. No, they aren't necessarily the replacement for Carrick but if Blind's long term position is that of Carrick then we've to find a partner for him to combine with Herrera, one who would occupy the left-midfield. I don't want to comment on the defenders and attackers that we might be targeting as a lot would depend on who we sell. But I sure do hope that a box-to-box midfielder is one of our biggest priorities, if not our biggest. Thank you for reading!
2015.01.17 14:53 sampson1985The Times Piece About LVG
An interesting read, and it's hard to say I disagree with much of it. “Oh how fine are the emperor’s new clothes. Don’t they fit him to perfection?” “But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said. In truth, The Emperor’s New Clothes is probably a dangerous place to start for a column that aims to make some more subtle observations about Louis van Gaal’s first six months in charge of Manchester United. The risk is that it will be interpreted as trying to deride — or denude — the United manager when the point is more about how a powerful aura, and the awe it inspires, can blind us to the obvious. English football — players, fans, directors and certainly the media — has long been in thrall to the cult of personality where managers are concerned. In a country where so much of the game’s discourse is personality-driven, where first impressions are surpassed only by preconceptions, a manager who arrives with a reputation as a winner, such as Van Gaal or Fabio Capello, will be delighted to discover that the aura takes him a long way before people begin to question what lies beneath. Never underestimate the value of an aura in a sport where attention spans in dressing rooms are notoriously short. In any case, Van Gaal’s reputation has not arrived by accident. It is the product of being one of the outstanding coaches in world football for the past two decades and, to judge from the noises from the United boardroom towards the end of last season, the power of his reputation was the biggest single factor behind Van Gaal’s appointment after the dismal nine-month tenure of David Moyes. What nags, though, is the feeling that, once you look beyond the Van Gaal aura, there has been remarkably little to admire in his first six months at Old Trafford. As a journalist, you find yourself wanting Van Gaal to live up to a certain reputation — a reputation for tactical brilliance, exciting football and even, a strange admission this, antagonistic behaviour in press conferences. So far, we have seen more of the third than the first two and even that, in truth, has been fairly low-grade. What are we supposed to be seeing from Van Gaal’s United? Better football? Better results? The bar was set exceedingly low after Moyes, but United, after the second highest summer spending spree in football history, have as many — or as few — points after 21 Barclays Premier League games as they did a year ago under a manager who, by then, was correctly perceived to be out of his depth. To offer that points comparison on Twitter last Sunday, after the 1-0 home defeat by Southampton, was to be informed that Van Gaal must have effected an improvement because they are now fourth in the Premier League (with 37 points) rather than seventh — to which the obvious response is that this has more to do with regression from Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool than any great progression on United’s part. The other Twitter response was that United are now playing “far superior football” under Van Gaal, at which point, after hours of analysing minimal differences (more accurate passing, but more long balls and fewer successful passes in the final third) between this season and last, we are back to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale and a human instinct to see what we want to see. The narrative is all about a new “philosophy”, but look beyond the Van Gaal aura and there is remarkably little sign of the type of cultural revolution that he has espoused. Indeed, there was precious little evidence of a football philosophy in their summer transfer activity, in which only Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, for better or worse, stuck out as true Van Gaal acquisitions and the remainder — Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Ángel Di María and Radamel Falcao — seemed to reflect the board’s desperation to make some kind of big-name signing that they hoped would delight their new manager as much as it would their beloved commercial partners and less-beloved supporters. Perhaps that is what happens when you have a manager starting work in mid-July, having spent the previous weeks preoccupied by leading his country to the World Cup semi-finals. Remember in the weeks before and after Moyes’s sacking last April, when the word from on high at Old Trafford was that the mistake had been to sit patiently while the former Everton manager prepared to start work on July 1? Well, Van Gaal did not start work until July 16. He was left to make snap-judgments based on the team’s pre-season form, which, particularly when it came to his preference for a three-man central defence, was deceptively good. In the majority of cases, those managers who opt to play three central defenders do so for negative reasons, because of a lack of faith either in the quality of those defenders or a shortage of convincing options in wide areas. That certainly seemed to be the case with Van Gaal both with Holland at the World Cup finals and with United last summer, although he also cited a 3-4-1-2 formation as the best way, indeed perhaps the only way, to accommodate Herrera, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in the same team — and this before the additions of Di María and Falcao. The strange thing is that, for all his stated disinterest in “star” status, Van Gaal’s selections have reflected a desperation to find room for as many of those six big-name players as possible. Another Premier League manager suggested privately last summer that it would be very hard to accommodate more than two of Herrera, Rooney, Mata and Van Persie in a starting XI without making unacceptable compromises elsewhere. To add Di María, a winger who prefers a central role, and Falcao only made that equation more mind-boggling. As for the hysterical reaction in some quarters to Falcao’s omission against Southampton last weekend, given his obvious lack of fitness and form, that only strengthens the point about English obsession with profile, status and aura. The Falcao issue, though, is a sideshow. Imagine, for a second, that Moyes or, say, Roberto Martínez or Mauricio Pochettino had inherited a United squad without a convincing central defender and had decided to invest so much faith in 3-5-2 and variations thereon. Imagine that, with that surfeit of central midfielders and central forwards, he had ended up playing an incompatible-looking strike pairing of Van Persie and Falcao while dropping Rooney ever deeper into central midfield. Imagine that he had stifled Di María’s initial impact by playing him in a variety of less suitable roles. Imagine that he had been so reliant on David De Gea, whose performances in goal this season, behind an unconvincing defence, have so often been the difference between defeat and victory. Imagine that, for all the “philosophy” talk, much of United’s most effective football had come while referring to a more direct Plan B — or C or D or E — that involved seeking out high balls to Marouane Fellaini in an advanced role. That, amusingly perhaps, is precisely the type of football that Moyes was frightened to play at Old Trafford. He was terrified of thrusting Fellaini forward and looking for knock-downs. Van Gaal has no such qualms. For all the talk of philosophy, he is a pragmatist and, crucially, unlike Moyes, the type of pragmatist who has faith in his convictions rather than fretting about how a tactic or selection would be perceived. That was Moyes’s biggest failing at United — a tendency to suppress his instincts in an unsuccessful attempt to be the manager that he was expected to be, thus diluting the qualities — single-mindedness not least among them — that had landed him the job. Van Gaal, by contrast, can produce similarly underwhelming performances and results with a stronger squad and retain the faith of media, supporters and, most importantly, players alike. That is the difference an aura makes and it is not to be underestimated. Emperor’s new clothes? No, not quite, but there remains an element of wishful thinking about this idea that United this season have been more than merely flattered by the dowdiness of their rivals.
2015.01.11 19:37 PenPaperShotgunAnalysis of 3-5-2, the lack of a midfield partneship and the hindrance of the right back spot.
We look like a team that has no clue how to play quite frankly, it doesn't matter what player goes where, the system is flawed and I'll try to explain why. In my eyes we are failing to create any chances because we simply aren't playing football. To me the simplest way to score a goal is to build a chance, not hoof it, not pass it around our own back line but to build a chance that starts from the defence and ends at the strikers feet. This begins with the defence, the defence should play the ball out. However in the 3-5-2 formation we don't really have a midfield to come and collect the ball, sure rooney is playing as a "Midfielder" but in my eyes he isn't good enough at it, nor does he have the support. He (or any) of our midfielders should be looking to get that ball off those defenders and drive at the opposing team, or look to work a chance with his partnering midfielders throught the use of one, twos or neat passing. However we seem to only have one central midfielder on the pitch at any time, which seems to total go against this "total football" style. We are Manchester United, we are going to dominate possesion, we need central midfielders to turn that possesion into chances, good chances. In my eyes we don't need two strikers, what we need is a bloody good midfielder to partner our current midfielders. I think we should be playing with Di Maria in Center Midfield, you don't pay 60Million to have him as striker where his main assest of running and pace is lost. Herarra also can't do it alone, when he came on today he also had no midfield partner, well he did in fellaini but he was decided to be used as a target man rather then actually support the midfielders and help build a real chance. In short we favoured long balls and crosses over sorting out the issue of having no midfield partneship on display. Another issue is Wayne Rooney or a Ball winning midfielder, you see he tries to do everyones job, yes that Rooney issue again. It's brilliant to see him on the edge of our own box winning tackles and starting an attack, but what is the point? If Wayne Rooney is winning the ball and giving it to a midfielder then the midfielder looks up and sees that there isn't a striker upfront because he just made the tackle 50 yards further back then the whole attack slows down as we wait for him. The idea of winning the ball and counter attacking is great but not when your striker is the one breaking up play. Rooney needs to stay upfront OR we need to a ball winning midfielder to break up play and start attacks. It is also I believe the loss is a fault of the system though and the right back issue especially, I actually think people aren't thinking about the right back spot correctly. I used to just think that he likes 3-5-2 but I feel its more that he hasn't got a right back that can actually be a pure defender. The reason we don't play a back four is because we don't have a consistent rightback that can be a pure defender and survive without the support of a tracking back wingback. I am telling you now, if had a rightback confident to defend alone, we could switch to a back four but right now we have to stick with this shitty 3-5-2 to patch the right back spot. As a result of us having no right back we then have to do things like we did today. All that happened today is we managed to get no service to RVP, then we swapped RVP for Herara to gain some control in the midfield, but then Rooney went upfront and then it was the same issue. Instead of rooney being alone and looking for RVP, it was Herara who was now alone looking for Rooney. We need a partneship in midfield or the result will always be the same 0 Shots on target. We need to have a Back 4, which starts by solving the right back spot. So forget saying "Rafael is the best in the league", he isn't, not even close. The LVG also has the problem that we are one of the slowest teams, our strikers are slow, our midfielders are slow, mata is slow. So to fix this he has tried Di Maria in this robben style free role, I like the idea but it's not really working because frankly what good is having a pacey player to make runs in behind if the midfield is so lacking without Di Maria that they cannot create a good chance to utilise his pace. With 3-5-2 you are very limited in attacking options also, you can't just bring a winger because you have to remove a wingback, and that leaves the 3 center backs incredibly exposed. It seems like every time he wants to make a change to attack he has to switch the defence. Its almost like our first substitions cost 2, to make the defence stable. I think 3-5-2 is far too rigid for the premier league in terms of the ability to change tactics even if we had world class wingbacks. Its very hard to critiseze luke shaw becuse today we had so much possesion he didn't even really need to defend so he was more of a winger and he was poor. Ashely young is much more suited to the role. It just seems so strange to buy a left back, and force him to be a winger, we need to get that right back spot sorted and go back to a back 4 where luke shaw can defend. In my eyes only when that right back spot is sorted do we see any chance of seeing a midfield of Herara, Di Maria and Fellaini, with a holding midfielder like Blind to come and collect the ball off the defenders and then get play going with a midfield 3. We can forget top 4 if we don't buy a right back and we can forget ever winning the league if we continue to play with 2 strikers. Not many teams play with 2 strikers nowadays and with good reason. The key reason again is we just lack any sort of build up in the opponents half, its all half chances, deflections, "target man" crosses and that type of football doesn't win matches at the top level, let alone League titles. I would personally like to see this team.
New RightBack , Center Back Partneship , Luke Shaw
Blind Fellaini Herara Di Maria Mata Falcao (Striker of your choice)
Louis van Gaal is very much part of the Dutch school of football. Though he has a preferred formation, the "philosophy" will always come first. The tactical set up is based on what he feels will make his players play in the right way - fluidity, high pressure and attacking. In the build up to the Brazil World Cup, LVG had stuck to a 4-3-3. However, Strootman's injury forced him to make changes. The Dutch exceeded expectations at the World Cup playing with 3 at the back. United looked dangerous in pre-season with a similar formation but it was all very different when translated to the PL. Putting aside the fact that pre-season should never be taken too seriously, it's clear in hindsight why our 3-4-1-2 failed. And it's not because 3 at the back is unfeasible in the PL, in fact Rodgers showed how effective it could be at Liverpool last season. In our opening game against Swansea we started with the following line-up. Yes, the back five reads Young-Blackett-Smalling-Jones-Lingard. Every match the defence changed. Valencia came in, then Evans as Lingard and Smalling were injured. Not only were the players learning a system that was foreign to them but their partners changed constantly meaning there was no real chance to build up understanding. If all our defenders had been fit for the first 3 games we would have succeeded. Shaw-Rojo-Evans-Jones-Rafael could have worked given the chance. However, I don't think a back 3 was ever in LVG's plans. Injury forced him into it. In the pre-season LVG lamented the injury to Michael Carrick who would likely have been key to his tactical set-up. After deadline day and the signings of Di Maria, Falcao and in particular, Blind, we saw why. After the international break, LVG switched to a 4-4-2 diamond. Many lauded the sense and his willingness to change but in reality it was a slight tweak rather than an overhaul. In the 4-0 victory over QPR, LVG picked the following team. Two things contributed to its relative success. Firstly it was the introduction of proper full backs. I think Rafael's contribution to our play going forward is often underrated. Rojo was solid going both ways against a weak QPR in his first appearance at full back. Compared to 3-4-1-2, the full backs became slightly more withdrawn, with less scope to attack. Secondly, the introduction of Blind. The central man in the three was slightly pushed forward. It is extremely important in a back 3 to have a ball player at the back. Almost nobody plays or pressurises with more than two out and out strikers, this means that in a 3 there is always a spare man. At least one of them should be comfortable bringing the ball out from the back. If Carrick had been fit, I'm sure we would have played the 4-4-2 diamond from the beginning. The diamond worked so well because it allowed us to dominate the centre of the pitch. Because of Di Maria's hybrid shuttler role our flanks weren't too exposed, as Di Maria would start central but be happy to run out wide or wherever there was space. Herrera was excellent box to box and helped to cover the right flank but obviously seemed more comfortable in the centre. But the system has big weaknesses - if the opposition full backs push forward constantly it either creates gaps in the centre or an overlap out wide. It is a demanding formation and a lot of players (especially when played fluidly as LVG desires) have to cover large swathes of the field covering for each over out wide and centrally. Perhaps this explains our lacklustre finishes to games. Fatigue, a high line and inexperience can be punished by pace and simple long balls, which is exactly what happened in the belief-defying loss to Leicester. As we approached the big games, perhaps fearful of the likes of Diego Costa and Aguero, LVG changed formation once again, this time to a 4-3-3. The formation allowed us to go toe to toe with Chelsea and City. Fellaini's inclusion meant that we weren't outmuscled in midfield and gave us height in both boxes. But we lost a lot of technical ability through the loss of Herrera. What's more, Di Maria looks far more effective centrally despite playing much of his career on the wing. This was most clear in the hard fought win over Crystal Palace. While we dominated possession and I was pleased to see our patience, our lack of central play was exactly what Palace wanted. The introduction of Mata changed that because it meant that there were to many central threats for Palace to contend with. Mata gets a ridiculous amount of time to shoot because defenders are tracking Rooney, Van Persie and Di Maria. I would hope that in future Herrera plays in these sorts of games as his passing ability could be invaluable against stubborn defensive opposition. Fellaini is much more the kind of threat that these teams are use to but could be very useful against big teams with powerful midfields (Yaya Toure) or players who we need to do a job on (Fabregas). The 4-3-3 is probably our best bet going forward but puts too much emphasis on Van Persie who is clearly out of form and neuters Di Maria. I think that this may be our best line-up.
Di Maria plays centrally but naturally drifts wide while Mata starts wide and cuts in. A lot of people say that Mata can't play out wide but I disagree. He is not a winger but he can certainly play as an inside forward or playmaker off the wing. This would also mimic Ancelotti's Madrid team last season where Ronaldo started on the left and cut inside, while Di Maria started centrally but would drift.
Fellaini needs to do more centrally against smaller teams. Against Palace he barely participated in build-up and just ran forward to get on the end of crosses and long balls. Herrera is my preferred starter by a distance, I think he's one of the best players in the squad but Fellaini still certainly has a role to play if a game needs to be changed or a player needs to be marked closely.
Do we need a right winger? Valencia seems more comfortable at right back than at right wing. Oddly though, his best performance this season came in central midfield. He could make a good counter balance to Di Maria but I still prefer Herrera and Fellaini. Januzaj is good but young and needs competition and support in the role. And I feel that Young's already on borrowed time.
Rooney could certainly play in midfield but I worry that a midfield that consisted of Rooney and Di Maria would have horrible positional discipline. RVP is out of form, Falcao is yet to to really get off the ground, so Captain Rooney should start up top. In fact his best seasons have come as a lone man up front.
I like Falcao but his signing makes a lot less sense if we're playing a 4-3-3. I don't know how we can get the best out of this team and keep all our forwards happy. It's not even a good problem to have. Having any of the two is a good problem to have, having 3 is just too crowded.
I think Shaw-Rojo-Jones-Rafael is our best back four but of course injuries will continue to play a role.
Van persie(Catalyst): Awesome shooting, really solid dribbling, specially with 4* skills and awesome ball control. Stop and turn are really effective as he always has the ball close to his feet. Great passing, specially for a striker, really useful for feeding his partner in attack. Rooney(Hawk): Good passing, good shooting, he feels really really strong, you can easily keep defenders off the ball using LT/L2. although he is not "pacey", he`s dribbling is awesome and makes up for it. Tevez(Hawk): Great pace coupled with awesome dribbling and physical make him an awesome dribbler. Clinical finishing inside the area, you can count on him making those decisive goals to put your team ahead in hard games. Fellaini(Engine) - Playing as a CDM in 4-1-2-1-2 he was a very good surprise! Great defensively and competent passing in offense, he is surely the backbone of this squad. And is also very good at wining headers after goal kicks. One of the best Cdms I've used so far.
Possible improvements: Cuadrado/Candreva at RM, Chiellini instead of caceres
2014.08.19 09:54 northy014Manchester United and Louis van Gaal's success this season lies in the hands of Ed Woodward - Jim White, The Telegraph.
There is no question who is the most significant figure in the immediate future of Manchester United. It is not Wayne Rooney, it is not Angel Di María, it is not even Louis van Gaal. The person on whose efforts over the next fortnight the well-being of the enterprise depends is the club’s executive vice chairman, a man who, thus far into his tenure, boasts a significantly longer job description than list of achievements. No one could accuse Ed Woodward of looking the part. Lurking on the fringes of photographs taken this weekend of Rory McIlroy and Sir Alex Ferguson in the Old Trafford directors’ box, Woodward hardly carries the air of someone at the heart of the endeavour. United supporters can only hope appearances are deceptive. Woodward has a first class commercial pedigree, his ability to extract maximum monetary return from the United name when he was in charge of sponsorship issues made him hugely valued by the Old Trafford hierarchy. It is he who has skilfully squeezed record amounts from corporate partners, selling the brand around the world. But now he has to demonstrate that he can apply that negotiating savvy to a very different trading environment: the transfer market. It would be generous indeed to suggest Woodward has been a success in his dealings so far in that arena. While he might have forced through extraordinary deals to strengthen United’s bottom line, he has been far less adept in his efforts to strengthen them on the pitch. His first transfer window was abject, characterised by a panicky attempts to land unattainable assets, culminating in the overpriced purchase of Marouane Fellaini, who only most naive could mistake for a Manchester United footballer. His second resulted in the hugely expensive purchase of Juan Mata, a decent, inventive player, but one who has yet to demonstrate any significant match-winning prowess. And while there might be a degree of understanding for Woodward’s lacklustre early showing, given that he was new to the job and was initially partnered by a manager renowned for his caution, any reservoir of sympathy will have dried up among United followers: he simply has to get it right this time. In a way, Woodward is now obliged to wrestle with the consequences of policy he inherited. Latterly, under Sir Alex Ferguson the approach in the market was to buy young players who could be developed on the training pitch. It was a methodology that had worked supremely well in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a policy too which found much favour with the club’s owners, who were assured there was no need for extravagant buys in the market, instead the emphasis would be on bringing in cheaper young players who would be improved on the pitches of Carrington. Unfortunately, of those purchased to that model, only David De Gea has suggested he might be a success. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, the Da Silva twins, Anderson, Nani, Antonio Valencia: none of them have given hint that they might develop into world class operators. Ferguson’s preference for potential over the marquee buy has meant that, since Wayne Rooney arrived ten summers ago, only Dimitar Berbatov and Robin Van Persie can be legitimately categorised as big name signings by United. In that decade, meanwhile, it is not simply Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich who have continued to buy at the top of the market, but so have Manchester City and Chelsea, while Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool have all consistently outmuscled United in the search for new recruits. The ultimate corollary of this policy has been that Van Gaal has found himself with a squad in which only three players – Rooney, Van Persie and De Gea – could be considered of European, never mind world, class. As the grizzled old core of the 2008 European champions left this summer, there is absolutely no sign that any of those mooted as such are capable of stepping up to replace Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs. Urgent action is required to beef up the playing staff if the new manager is to have any hope of competing. Van Gaal may be a fine tactician and an astute man manager. But as was demonstrated by Saturday’s wretchedly thin opening performance against Swansea, he is not an alchemist. It means if United are to regain something close to their previous prominence, Woodward is going to have to deliver something pretty spectacular over the next fortnight. Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw can only be considered the beginning, not the sum total of what is required. Whatever the cost, Woodward needs to land at least three players already at the top of their game: a centre back, a central midfielder and a pacy wide man. Anything less and another season of disappointment and frustration beckons. On Woodward everything depends. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/11041854/Manchester-United-and-Louis-van-Gaals-success-this-season-lies-in-the-hands-of-Ed-Woodward.html
Hi there /reddevils. I am not a fan of the club but the situation at Manchester United is intriguing to say the least. With the team as it is, how would you guys change the tactics? In my opinion, the current trend now is to play with one out-and-out winger and one advanced playmaker on the opposite wing that can switch places with the number 10 for variation in attack. Let's look at the top 2 teams in the Premier League that utilize this system. Chelsea's 'Hazard - Oscar - Willian' combo. This combo is made possible by the genius play of Hazard in almost every match. Not much interchangeability between Hazard and Oscar in this case but both are Chelsea's pillars this season and that is clear for all to see. Both of them are able to create chances on a whim and add to that Willian's speed on the right wing and you get the current leaders of the league. Arsenal's Cazorla - Özil - Walcott trio is perhaps the most accurate depiction of the system with Cazorla, a player known for his ambidexterity, longshots and distribution making the left wing his home. The space Özil creates when drifting leftwards allows Cazorla space in the middle to shoot or thread a ball through. Then, there is Walcott, arguably the fastest player in the league latching onto any throughballs coming his way. Now the line-up I think will best benefit Man Utd is --------------------Van Persie----------------- Kagawa-------------Mata----------W or H -----------------Fellaini----Rooney----------- Now let's look at each player in detail: RVP - I hate the guy (I'm a Gooner), but let's be real here, he is easily a top 10 striker in the world, his left foot is freaking insane. At the same time, this formation ALSO allows Welbeck or Hernandez to easily slot into the ST position and play a less-creative hold-up-the-ball role like Chelsea's Torres or Arsenal's Giroud. Kagawa - I have no idea what Moyes has against Shinji but he was Dortmund's best and he has blistering pace and technique coupled with his playmaking abilities, imho he would be perfect for this advanced playmaking role as he can switch it up and make runs into the box as well. Mata - this is pretty self-explanatory too, top 10 cam in the world no doubt. W or H - Now, the right wing, is a spot up for debate. Sure you could put Valencia or Young here, but I think their time has come and gone. They are of course quality players when they actually turn up, but title contenders cannot be relying on chance. So stick a pacey forward here. Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez would be the mainstay striker of many Europa league teams, they have the physicality, the speed, the aerial capabilities and of course the finishing. Rooney - This shows Sir Alex Ferguson's capabilities as a manager. He regconized Rooney as a tireless workhorse, chasing 50/50 and hopeless balls and still having the stamina to last the full 90. Yet, this would cause him to be missing on the counterattack as he would be too deep to finish off an attack. The manager once again remedied this by starting him in a midfield position, and Man Utd became the potent counterattacking juggernaut of last year. He has the tenacity of a midfield anchor, the vision of a playmaker and the finishing of a world-class striker. He is by far Man Utd's best and most versatile player. Partner him with the tree of a man that is Fellaini and watch Man Utd's midfield go to work. Now Ideally you would have RvP start and Welbeck in the right wing, with Chicharito being the supersub, but if RvP turns to glass like he usually does, start Hernandez upfront and Young/Valencia/Nani on the right with Welbeck being the sub. Other subs: Januzaj for Kagawa Rooney for Mata Carrick for Rooney when ^ happens Phil Jones for Fellaini And Manchester United will be a top team again
2014.02.22 12:48 rdzzlRanking the squad to assess the complexity of our transitional period
Method As a way to measure the quality of our squad, the only sensible way I can think of, is to attach numbers to the names. The goal of this post is to spark some discussion to where we are, and where we actually need to get in order to be competitive once again. Please do not make the comment section into a "Moyes apologists vs Moyes haters" clash of doom. It serves no purpose, and does not fruit any good discussion at all. The method that I will use in this post, is as simple as possible. I will categorize our players in to 4 groups, assign those groups numbers, and calculate an average. While I understand that this method might not be as useful in football as in certain sciences, I still think it can bring some interesting discussion, and with that in mind, I will give it a try. The four different tiers of players Some might argue that a wider reach of numbers (1-10 or 1-6 etc.) is more approperiate. I don't see it as a necessity, as the categories I've thought out sound good in my head. The first category, is what I call leading players. Let us assign this category the number 1, as in tier 1. The players in this category are those who I see as our best players, not only isolated in our club, but on an international level. Comparatively, these players should be able to claim spots in XIs in other top teams by their ability alone. The second category, I'll call aspiring leading players, and those are given the tier 1.5 . The idea of this category, is to put players that are looking very likely to be able to step up and lead the team in the future. This category also requires the players to have already shown great potential or ability, so that the assumption of them becoming leading players for us is actually based on what they have shown. As a third category, the tier 2, players who are good enough to stay at the club and play weekly, without being those who necessarily carry the team such as the tier 1 players. These players have the potential to be leading players, at least in periods, but perhaps also long-term. Think of Fletcher in his early years before he became a key member. He still pulled his weight, but wasn't recognized as a leading figure yet. Let's call it valuable members. The last category, I'll give the tier 3 tag, and call unknowns. Not in the sense that we don't know who they are, but rather that we have no idea whether they can carry the team, be key figures, potential world beaters or just regular squad players. Those that I'll put in here are probably a mix of potential good players, players we might sell, players that are old and players that we should not rely on (due to various factors). To sum this up; Tier 1: Leading players Tier 1.5: Aspiring leading players Tier 2: Valuable members Tier 3: Unknowns What we want to do with this, is to categorize players into the different tiers, add them together and divide it on the number of players. The lower the number we get, the better off our squad looks coming into the future. The leading players For me, this one is rather easy. We don't have an overwhelming amount of world class players in our squad, so a few of them stick out. Some might disagree with a few of those I put here, as they could've very well fit in another category, so feel free to make your own tier list in the comment section. Tier 1 players: Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Johnny Evans, David De Gea While we don't seem to have many players in the tier 1 category, the ones we have got, are top players. Three of the best attackers in the league, as well as in a world-wide perspective. The ability of Evans in the past two seasons gives him a spot here as well in my eyes. He has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League for two years now, despite having to play with countless partners and with a shaky midfield and left back alongside him. David De Gea could fit both here and in the tier 1.5 category, but I put him here due to the stability he has shown since finding his feet in the Premier League. He would claim a goalkeeper spot in many of the best teams in the world. The aspiring leading players Tier 1.5 players: Phil Jones, Rafael Da Silva, Adnan Januzaj, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck. Now, Phil Jones has been immense this season. A true top player in the makings. While not only showing glimpses of his potential, he has also been a leading player on the pitch for us many times this season. Next season, he might very well be in the tier 1 category if he keeps progressing like this. Rafael Da Silva has had quite a mediocre season. Last season, I expected him to make the step into the tier 1 category, but he has regressed a bit this season. I am not sure if that comes down to injuries or his brother being out in the cold or whatever reason you want to attribute it to. Either way, he has been quite disappointing for the standards he set for himself last season. Adnan Januzaj has been our most exciting player to watch this season. He has been immense on the left, all right behind the striker, and good on the right. While his work does not always lead to a goal, he usually creates it purely with his own skill, and is very impressive. He is certainly going to become a tier 1 player in the next couple of years. Shinji Kagawa, a player that most of us would've hoped to be able to put as a leading player for this team, has been underwhelming with a few exceptions since his transfer from the Bundesliga. While creating a few chances here and there, he has not been able to adapt or cement a spot in the team, but I have not given up on him. His performances in the Champions League in particular, has been magical, and he does have the talent to hit back and claim a spot. Hopefully he goes on to do that. Danny Welbeck is probably the most controversial addition to this list. I still thinks his potential alone grants him a place here. His physical attributes, work-ethic and love for the club has him likely to stay put at Old Trafford in the foreseeable future, and we've seen glimses of his ability to completely wear down teams on his own with flicks, runs, strength and combination play. Valuable members Tier 2 players: Here's probably the category where most people are going to disagree with me. Quite a lot of players fit in here, so I won't expand on each one. I'll just drop names on those I think are good enough to stay with us. Even if that means adapting to new roles in the team, improving as players and potentially bumping themselves up a notch, to the tier 1.5 category. Chris Smalling, Luis Nani, Michael Carrick, Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini, Anders Lindegaard. Unknowns Tier 3 players: Now, while "unknowns" might not be a good name to describe the players that are remaining or without a tag yet, I simply could not come up with a better name. This list should include talents that we are unsure of, that have not been given a run with the team yet, have been injured for a long time or are old and on the verge to retirement. Alexander Büttner, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Jesse Lingard, Guillermo Varela, Michael Keane, Ben Amos. I've excluded players like Nick Powell, Federico Macheda, Wilfried Zaha, Angelo Henriquez, Sam Johnstone, Bébé and Anderson. They will probably place themselves in different tiers, but as they are on loan, I thought that they should be given time to play before I evaluate them. All though I must admit that I am extremely optimistic about Powell and Henriquez in particular. // End of part 1 due to length restrictions, part 2 in comments //
2014.02.12 20:20 SupaaFast[Match Thread] Arsenal F.C vs. Manchester United F.C
Barclays Premier League tie between Arsenal F.C. and Manchester United F.C Date: February 12, 2014 Kick off GMT: 19:45 GMT converter Venue: Emirates Stadium Referee: Mark Clattenburg Manchester United FC starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Mata; Rooney, van Persie SUBS: Lindegaard, Büttner, Ferdinand, Fellaini, Young, Hernandez, Januzaj Arsenal FC starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud SUBS: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Sanogo, Bendtner Stream(s): Stream Lower Quality Stream Related threads: reddevils IRC CHAT Team news:
Valencia returns to action.
Fellaini's on the bench as Kagawa drops out
No Evans, no Jones
Match updates: WHY DOES MOYES INSIST ON PLAYING AN OUT AND OUT WINGER. I WOULD HAVE KILLED TO PLAY JANUZAJ, MATA, ROONEY, AND VAN PERSIE!!!! AHHHHHH! It's not even like Januzaj doesn't track back. He does! And what? Is Mata playing on the left? Is Rooney? Oh Moyesy, please, let me know what goes on in that beautiful Scottish head of yours Disclaimer: If we win, I didn't say any of the above FIRST HALF UPDATES: HALF TIME: Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United SECOND HALF UPDATES: 45' The teams are back on. 45' MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTION Ferdinand ON , Rafael OFF 45' Smalling goes to right back, and Ferdinand's on as Vidic's partner. 46' Mata takes a free kick from the right and Carrick gets a flick on but it goes wide when no-one can get a touch on it. 51' Nothing to report. 55' See previous update. 57' Dear God, I'm so tired. I can barely keep my eyes open. I need an adrenaline rush. 60' An hour gone. Read minute 55. 61' IT'S OFF THE LINE BY VALENCIA!!! KOSCIELNY CLIMBS HIGHEST FROM A CORNER AND VALENCIA GETS IT AWAY. That was by far the best chance of the match. 65' Arsenal controlling the match mostly with good attacking play. 70' See minute 65 71' Changes are about to occur for both teams. 71' MANCHESTER UNITED YELLOW CARD Valencia fouls Wilshere. Mistimed tackle. 72' MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTION Januzaj ON , Mata OFF 72' ARSENAL SUBSTITUTION Oxlade-Chamberlain ON , Rosicky OFF 76' RIDICULOUS CHANCE FOR GIROUD!! Sagna crosses it in across the face of goal and all Giroud needed to do was get a BREEZE on it and the ball would have been redirected into the net. We're lucky to be escaping...for now. 79' BRILLIANT UNITED CHANCE! Carrick steals the ball in the United half and passes forward to RvP who gallops forward, feeds Rooney to the right, who chips the ball back over to the far post, and RvP heads towards goal but Szczesny gets a crazy one-hand on it and saves. 80' MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTION Young ON , Valencia OFF 83' De Gea with a brilliant save to plunge United out of the depths of defeat. Giroud plays to Cazorla in the box, who plays to Ozil, who plays back to Cazorla who SHOULD score shooting at the near post from about 12 yards out, but De Gea gets down a-la Giaccherini-save earlier this season. 87' ARSENAL YELLOW CARD Sagna for a late tackle on Rooney 89' Cazorla fouled about 19 yards away. Very very dangerous situation. 90' Ozil takes into the wall and Vidic clears the cross back in. 90' Cazorla gets the ball on the edge of the box and tries to powerfully curl it into the corner but De Gea gets down and saves extremely well. 90' THREE MINUTES ADDED TIME 91' It's intense. I'm not going to lie. I don't want to lose this. Please don't let us lose this. 92' MANCHESTER UNITED YELLOW CARD Young fouls Sagna. 93' FULL TIME FULL TIME: Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United It was definitely a goalkeeper's night today. Good game. Well done United.
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