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16 Sep 2018 17:30:01
Afternoon guys,

Delighted to get the three points yesterday in a tough fixture especially after the international break.

Fellaini playing just in front of the back 4 has proved a master stroke in the last two away games. He's played so deep he's virtually been a third centre back which has enabled our full backs to play further forward and provide some natural width. It's also allowed Lingard and Sanchez to play closer to Lukaku where we've looked more dangerous and created chances. Yesterday wasn't vintage by anyone's standards but we looked solid and started well. It's encouraging to know that when we take the lead we invariably win so it's vitally important we start well and try to score first.

Whilst Fellaini has proved a formidable weapon against the more physical and direct sides I think we all know this wouldn't necessarily work against teams that like to move the ball quickly where he can be easily out manoeuvred or against teams that like to press high where he's not good enough in possession. In these games maybe a slight tweak in his position is required. He needs to play higher up the pitch where we can use his height and physicality to play over the press and in a more advanced role he can arrive in the box where he becomes a real threat and handful for opposition defenders.

I think we've seen in recent games a commitment to move the ball quicker with Lukaku playing on the shoulder and making more penetrating runs in behind, stretching the opposition rather than operating more as a target man. This has allowed more space for the likes of Lingard, Sanchez and Pogba to operate. Another feature has been our fullbacks playing higher and providing more natural width. Shaw has been a breath of fresh air and with Dalot returning to fitness maybe just maybe we may finally have the fullbacks we've craved for some time. Two young naturally gifted direct fullbacks that can provide width, pace and put quality deliveries into the box.

We still need to improve and by no means am I getting carried away. Such has been the standard set by City two early defeats probably means a title challenge is unlikely even at this early stage. It's encouraging to see however we that we may finally be settling on a preferred formation and staring 11. In recent games the team has definitely played higher, Lukaku has made more penetrating runs with Lingard and Sanchez closer in support rather than being dragged back into full back positions.

Perhaps our two most maligned players Smalling and Fellaini have provided us with the stability and balance we've craved allowing other players the platform to play and improve.

I've definitely seen in the past two games and the first half against Spurs a slight tweak to the way we play. Lukaku has definitely made more forward runs with Sanchez and Lingard playing much higher in support. Perhaps the next evolution might just come from two young full backs full-filling their potential. Maybe for the first time since Jose arrived we can safely predict the formation and perhaps 9 or even 10 of our best 11. It's now up to the likes of Bailly, Fred, Dalot, Martial and Rashford to force their way into the side. Perhaps we can be cautiously optimistic about a more exciting brand of football at the very least. Maybe the influence of Carrick and Mckenna is slowly starting to take effect.

I think we all understand building a winning team takes time and patience. Not all signings will make an impact or hit the ground running. Perhaps Jose biggest mistake has been to settle on a preferred formation or style of play. Hopefully that's about to change with the assistance of two new young coaches brining new ideas to the table.

Agree2 Disagree1

16 Sep 2018 20:00:18
It’s all a bit odd isn’t it? We played pretty well against Spurs and on another day would have been easy winners. What a difference that one result would have made to how we are feeling. We do seem to be coming out of our malaise and a few players are stepping up, in patches we look very good. We just need those patches to be longer.

16 Sep 2018 20:53:34
Tony, two good centre backs and another striker/ winger and this team will look completely different.

16 Sep 2018 21:24:07
1cb and a rb and rw for me AAA i'm really hoping dalot turns out to be a worldie🤞.

16 Sep 2018 22:27:17
I’m just liking that we seem to be playing with a little bit more of a clear plan going forward. Carrick and McKenna could be a blessing for Jose.

16 Sep 2018 23:34:46
Great post dlib. Agree with a lot if it.



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