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25 Feb 2020 00:03:11
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24 Feb 2020 16:35:19
With the addition of Bruno Fernandes I have been wondering just how we are going to line up next season. On one hand Ole has declared the team now have a nailed on No.10 in Bruno. Although personally I don't think that role is what suits him best, similar to Pogba who when played that far forward get marked out of a game and often struggle to make a big impact from that starting position.

In some respects I see Bruno as a similar player to Lampard Scholes, a player who'll grab a lot of goals and assists but is better coming from deeper to get them. Floating forward when on the attack to become the extra man. I prefer a No.10 who can dribble forward and break lines, that's not really Bruno's game.

So could we see a shift in tactic's from Ole again? We all assumed that we would play 433 this season as we did last season under Ole, yet we have for the most part played a very clear 4231 type shape. Although on occasions we have lined up 3412/ 343 and on the whole got good results.

So, as we have often played some of our best football and got our best results in this formation, could we see a more sustained shift to this formation next season?

I think there are some real positives with a 3 at the back system. Firstly it suits the central defenders we have, each has a serious weakness when deployed in a traditional back four system that isn't quite so pronounced when we play three at the back. The extra man provides cover for Maguires lapses and lack of recovery pace. While an extra defender makes targeting any of our defenders aerially less effective as there are more bodies back there to pick up an flick on's from a won header. While it could be argued that Luke Shaw has played some of his best football on the left of a back three.

The often more traditional way to play a back three system is to have the central defender to sit deepest and have the wider two centre backs venture forward. I wonder whether inverting that might be best, play Harry centrally but as the furthest forward creating a diamond with the goalkeeper and the wide centre backs. That would give Harry the ability to break forward with the ball to break the press but with two central defenders behind him in case he loses the ball. While playing just in front of the other defenders at the base of midfield would give Harry at least four passing options to move the ball on more quickly.

Our issue in midfield is the lack of a true holding midfielder with a long term future at the club. Matic is our only real holding midfielder, but he is on the decline. Fred and McTominay are more box to box midfielders who go around putting out fires and shutting space down. Playing a back three does away with the need to play a holding midfielder meaning the urgency to buy a holding midfielder is lessened. With the situation changing from we need to buy one to play our preferred way, to signing one would allow us to play a different way if needed.

I think the 343 type shape suits our midfield as well. With Bruno, Fred, McTominay, Andreas Pereira and James Garner all more suited to a box to box type role rather than a more restrictive holding role. Again playing this way means we don't need to sign someone urgently in central midfield even if both Pogba and Matic leave. Although signing someone to replace Pereira as back up to a more attack minded Bruno might be advantageous as we would be one injury away from losing all the attacking intent Bruno has brought to our side.

Then the most interesting thing about the 343 shape is the flexibility it offers when picking the front three. You could play with a central striker and either inverted or traditional wingers, or a combination of both. Or you could play with split forwards and either a false No.9 or a No.10. Which with Rashford, James, Martial and Greenwood gives us lots of flexibility. We could either look to target a more traditional No.9, or a false 9, a No.10 or a wide player, either an inverted wide player or a more traditional wide player.

It would allow the club to target the likes of Sancho, Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez, Moussa Dembele, Grealish, Werner, Richarlison or even Callum Wilson and the system would not only be able to adapt to fit them in, but provide them a role in which they could excel in. While also giving the manager flexibility to change the focus of attack either before the game or during the game with options off the bench.

While a change in shape to either a 433, 442, 41212, 4231 or even a ultra defensive 352 would be easy and possible with as little as a single substitution.

For me there is only one obvious negative to the 343 shape with our squad and that is Aaron Wan-Bissaka. His skillset isn't really suited to playing as a wing back. However this could easily be countered in one of two ways. Either focus on improving his attacking out put, he is a young player who can learn and develop his game. Or alternatively target a player such as Adama Traore to offer attacking width on the right hand side.

So do people think this is a viable option or not?

Agree4 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 17:15:59
I think people get caught up far to much with formations.

Agree4 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 17:48:43
How does 343 suit us? We don't have good wb's and it's not just awb. Shaw isn't a wb and williams has a long way to go yet. Traore can't defend and what will be the logic of splurging 35-40mn on a rb to replace a 50mn rb. Also a back 3 requires good fit cb's, with our current crop we are 1 injury away from starting jones.

Also our mf's aren't suited to b2b most are just too limited to excel at either attack or defense alone. Fred has a first touch rivalling Rooney's, mctominay isn't much of a forward passer, periera is barely a footballer let alone b2b mf, bruno is not a no 8.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 18:29:17
So we beat Watford at home and now we have a major essay on how Ole will line up the team next season. Yes, Shappy you do suggest that, because you talk about Ole changing tactics again next season. We need to be adaptable and change tactics not just before the game but during. I agree with Jred, unbelievable I know, but Shappy is totally over thinking things, almost like writing a final thesis.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 18:46:43
the lads been here a month, and you're already over analysing out of him and possible formations. Let him play his game. He was bought to be the creative spark. You rattle on and on as if your golden boy ole is going to take note of your opinion. Give it a rest, just enjoy the player.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 18:55:33
Shappy - If Ole is still in charge next season I expect him to play 4-2-3-1. This has predominantly been his formation of choice and I expect him to build around this now we've signed Fernandes.

The continued links with Sancho make sense as we don't really have a viable option on the right. James and Greenwood have both done well on occasions but to make the formation work we really need a more consistent threat from the right.

I agree we look vulnerable at the back especially against the better teams when we play a flat back 4. There is no doubt that Maguire lacks pace and can look vulnerable when left exposed. Lindelof also lacks pace, physicality and he also looks vulnerable when left exposed in 1v1 situations, especially against powerful and pacy forwards. I wonder if Bailly will eventually make a better partner for Maguire. He offers more pace and physicality than Lindelof and maybe this is something we might see moving forward. Once Rashford returns with the addition of Fernandes and hopefully a specialist right winger/ forward in the summer our attack will be much more balanced and potent. There will be less emphasis for our full backs to provide the team with an attacking impetus and they may provide more support/ cover for the CB's. The full backs will be important in providing the balance between attacking width and defensive cover.

Pogba may be sold in the summer so his creativity will need to be replaced. Someone like Grealish would make sense. He could provide quality cover for Fernandes in the No10 position where he would offer a different threat with his dribbling ability. He could also play to the left of a midfield 3 or even as wide forward where he has been utilised to good effect with Villa this season. His versatility and quality would give the squad plenty of options. With Matic ageing I expect us to target another defensive midfielder although he's proven in recent weeks that he's still a very good player. He'll only be 32 in the summer so the Club may choose to activate the extra year in his contract.

In relation to the players we've been linked with I expect a big push for Sancho this summer especially if Pogba is sold. The Club will want a marquee signing to offset the loss of Pogba in my opinion. If you add in Grealish those two would provide us with multiple options in midfield and attack adding undoubted quality and depth to the squad.

4-2-3-1 -

De Gea,
AWB, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw,
Mctominay, Fred
Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford


Personally I'd drop a defensive midfielder out and play a 4-3-3 formation with Grealish to the left and Fernamdes right of a midfield 3.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 18:58:20
Ethan Laird will be cover next season with Dalot moving on.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 22:47:06
Early reports seem to suggest we will go in for dembele and grealish. I have read before that's Solsjkaer wants a bigger striker to provide a plan B. But I hope more than anything the club targets a right winger as they haven't had one who's first team quality for years. Additional the club needs to start build a squad again, lack of a second team has been a big reason for the injuries this season. Rashford was completely overplayed and I worry others will be before the season is out.

The way I see it:

GK de gea/ romero - sorted
Rb wan bissaka/ dalot - sorted
Lb shaw / William's
CB- Maguire / Lindelof
CB - Tuanzbe / Bailly (would like a stronger option for next season)
CM - Mctominay/ Fred
CM - Fernades / ?
CAM -? / Fernandes -someone needs to be brought in here
LW - Martial / James
ST - Rasford/ ? - new striker also needed
RW -? / Greenwood

I know some players can play in numerous positions but the ambition should be to be like man city, with two strong players in every position.

For me that means the end for Rojo, Pogba, Lingard and Jones.

Agree0 0Disagree

25 Feb 2020 00:01:00
Yeah, Shappy. God forbid you actually post anything on here that even remotely resembles a well thought-out opinion, or something that tries to stimulate a discussion. How dare you! And DLIB, stop encouraging him with your equally intelligent, well-reasoned musings! Nice to see it brought out a few posters who haven't had much to say over the last few weeks, tho.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 15:34:14
I think the praise for Bruno Fernande is far to much, yes he has came in and had a few good games but for me he is just doing what is expected from that type of player.

Once we have a fully fit squad and add 2 or 3 more quality players I really do think we can challenge for trophies next season, I don't think the prem would be achievable but maybe some cup competitions.

I have been on the ropes with ole but he has maintained my support, one of the reasons why is because he is shipping out the rubbish and his buys have done well.

I think he needs someone in his team apart from Mike phelan to guide him, mike is very defensive so I think an experienced European attacking coach would help.

Final note.

Anthony martial, if you can't see an improvement in his play from last year you should stop watching football, he is not the finished article but it he keeps working hard well he could be.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 16:02:56
re martial; that's exactly the problem - he doesn't work hard.

Agree1 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 17:51:48
Martial can't win can he, when he does all the little things while not getting on the scoresheet, he isn't leading the line, is not good enough to be our no 9, lacks desire0. When he scores and assists, he isn't working hard enough, is too anonymous, doesn't smile, kills bunnies in his off time.

Agree0 0Disagree

{Ed025's Note - he also shot bambi,s mum i hear CSM.. :)

24 Feb 2020 07:39:01
{Ed's Note - Ed001 has posted a new article entitled, Review Of The Day 22nd February 2020

Agree1 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 13:26:51
Here is an interesting one:
Jane O'Toole, the St Mirren Women's captain dislocated her kneecap after an awkward collision with an opponent this weekend. Rather than wait in agony for medical attention, she immediately tried to bash her kneecap back into place. She eventually succeeded after a number of attempts and then saw out the match.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 14:25:40
As my wife keeps telling me, women deal with pain better than men. Hard not to argue after watching players rolling about apparently in agony.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 04:33:22
It's too early but Bruno is already showing signs of being considered "World Class" as well as becoming a legend at United if he keeps up the performances consistently at a high level.

Finally we have got a midfielder who not only has the quality but the industry to match. He doesn't dwell on the ball too long, is always on the move and keeps the ball moving. It seems he knows his next move even before the ball reaches him and his vision and creativity is just amazing. There is more to come from him and he looks like a character who loves challenges.

We still need to add more creativity to the team and need more such players in attack and hope we don't make any more mistakes in the transfer window like we did with over relying on Pogba and not signing anyone.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 07:13:07
Totally agree, if we become a one man team it is all too easy for him to be marked out of the game and nullify our attack.
Have to be impressed with Bruno though, looks like he has the mentality to thrive at Old Trafford, if only we had signed him in the summer, we might have had a bit more consistency this year.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 08:31:05
Good result and great to see Greenwood score another goal.

In my opinion he should play every week especially against teams that play with a low block and surrender possession. He is one of the only players in our squad that can shoot accurately from distance. He makes good runs and has the ability to manipulate the ball in tight areas before shooting with unnerving power and accuracy. The boy is a goal threat and the likes of Lingard, Periera and Mata have offered next to nothing from the right hand side all season.

Fernandes has been good, he's provided that extra bit of quality in midfield but it's still early days. I'm not convinced he's a genuine No10 and I think he could be even more effective slightly deeper playing to the right of a midfield 3. Having said that if his stats are anything like that at Sporting then maybe he needs to stay higher up the pitch. His versatility will be a big plus in addition to his obvious quality.

With Matic playing so well and the imminent return of Mctominay I just wonder if we could play a 4-4-2 diamond. With Matic anchoring the midfield, Fred and Mctominay providing the industry and Fernandes the creativity. It also allows Greenwood to player higher up the pitch and be more of a threat in the box where we need him.

The next four league games will decide our fate Everton away, City at home, Spurs away then Sheffield Utd at home. That's a tough run of fixtures in anyones book. We are still big outsiders for the top 4 in my opinion but we must make sure we finish 5th in case City's ban is upheld.

Still lots of work to do but we got the job done. It makes a huge difference when you have the likes of Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood in the team that are all capable of scoring a goal. In midweek we lined up with Periera, Lingard and Mata none of which provide any kind of reliable goal threat and certainly shouldn't all start in the same team together.

Can we kick on? We're about to find out!

Agree1 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 08:37:37
World class is a label that can be used to tag people who are yet to prove it.

Bruno looks good so far. A few posters have been right to ask, where would we be now if we had signed him last summer.

His set pieces are better than anyone else that we have at the club. Hopefully we can be more of a threat at set pieces now and score a few more goals from them.

Agree3 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 12:41:04
I appreciate we have been starved of attacking talent aNd creativity has been pretty non existent this season apart from counter attacking but we should really slow down on the bruno hype. Its only been 3 games.

Plenty of players have come to old trafford over the past 6 years and started very well and then are a shadow of themselves a season later.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 14:10:27
After so many false dawn's it is understandable if we get a little excited at a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 14:38:10
Would a fair comparison for Bruno be someone like Frank Lampard.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 14:41:39
No pressure then. Boring MOTD post when someone plays well incoming.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 14:44:10

Your right about the next four PL games. If we can get 10/ 12 points that would be brilliant. I'd imagine it will be more like 6 points.

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 21:54:38
Bruno just makes it look so simple, he seems to have extra time on the ball and always wants to create. Pressure of the peno didn't phase him one bit. We've got a great player for very good price, l wonder why it took so long and why not buy him last summer.

Agree3 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 22:03:59
our scouts said he gives the ball away too much

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 22:22:52
He's pogba without the drama.

Agree3 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 00:14:43
He shows Pogba up to be the muppet he is. Fernandes has all the talent without the unnecessary drama. He also seems to have a great work rate and is prepared to get stuck in.

If Pogba could apply himself to just playing football I re kon the two of them would be a fantastic pairing with a ball playing DM behind them. Unfortunately I don't think we will ever know because Pogba is such a prima Donna.

Agree3 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 01:23:53
Bruno is a sipremely talented player and Martials goal was something else today.

So happy with the win and Greenwood is going to be one of hell of a player.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 04:40:58
Bruno has excellent vision. Always trying to create oppportunities.
He provided a sublime cross to Maguire, which unfortunately wasn't converted.

He could be our catalyst to unlock defenses.

More of such quality signings please.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 16:55:13
I posted before we signed Bruno that I actually didn't think he'd be the best signing and would take a while to settle.

Could not be happier to say I was wrong. Today he showed all the strengths of Lingard, Mata and Perreira rolled into one, plus being a set piece specialist.

I can't wait to see what he can do once we get Rashford back and a RW in. Makes you wonder where we'd be in the table if we signed him at the start of the season when we should have.


Agree8 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 19:12:20
I've been banging the Bruno drum since last summer, he is the ideal player for us, his style, creativity aka character. Of course it is early days to be getting giddy but I feel we can build around Bruno and he could be the key we have been missing.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 19:41:41
If Ole gets sacked at the end of the season then it would be because we didn't sign Bruno in the summer.
Of course we wouldn't be top of the league if we had signed Bruno in summer but we would be atleast 10 points better off. And by now we would have seen much better chemistry between him and other players. We should not expect man of the match performances from him every week as it will take him time to adapt to the league and understand his teammates.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 21:07:55
I don't want Ole to be sacked and if we achieve CL I don't imagine he will be but any manager coming in now will love to have Bruno Fernandes and tbh most likely Maguire and wan Bissaka too so shows our recent purchases have been better. I am looking forward to seeing Bruno and Rash linking up.

Agree4 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 00:16:03
Obi Chong kenobi, Lingard, Mata and Perreira have strengths? Can you enlighten us?

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 02:46:26
Lingard can dab.
Mata can write.
Andreas is consistent at making poor decisions.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 04:47:16
An important attribute of Bruno is his leadership.
He is constantly instructing players where they should be.

Agree0 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 07:20:13
Before we all get too excited we have some tough games coming up, if we are still within 3 points of 4th by the end of March then CL is definitely on.

Agree1 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 17:02:01
Blimey, its quiet on here today .

Agree5 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 17:16:01

No surprise, a good performance, especially in the 2nd half, and bloody hell we have signed a talisman, a player who is naturally involved in creating and scoring goals, he’s going to be one of those where his stats build up so quickly and easily that you don’t even notice it.

Agree5 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 17:29:18
100 % agree, he will be massive for us, fabulous player.

Martial looks like he's learning how to lead the line too, great days work overall 👍.

Agree3 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 18:07:09
I think the first half scoreline flattered us and the end scoreline flattered the. We could have scored a couple more in the second half the way Bruno was playing. let's just hope he carries on like this and not fizzle out like James has. What a finish from Martial though. But the highlight of today was Greenwood's, a wonderful run and finish was a screamer.

Finally the jigsaw seems to be heading towards completion. A few more pieces and a proper manager in the summer and we should be ready for next season. Happy with today. A few more such performances please.

Agree1 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 18:46:09
A “routine” 3-0 home win against relegation fodder. Really delighted to see it to be honest as we have not managed this type of result at home all season.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 19:03:39
Thought james was pretty good today shan.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 19:39:42
Excellent performance.

Just before his goal Martial showed why he is so frustrating. Greenwood make an excellent break into the box and squared the ball across and martial was literally just standing at the back post ball watching. It seemed like he was day dreaming.

Roll forward 2 mins and he shows how good he can be. Didn't panic when he was pushed wide. Clever trick and superb finish.

Ultimately he has to deliver on stats. Assists, goals and wins. If he keeps delivering then he will continue to get support. I do think he is working on his effort and pressing. But he is not a natural fox in the box.

Greenwood wide right is a strange fit. It is certainly not natural, but is a good way to get him minutes and he has a natural ability to pop up and affect the game. With Bissaka at rightback it affords the chance to play Greenwood wide right and leave him high up the pitch. Ole seemed to be getting james and greenwood to stay wide and high, which made Watfords pressing less effective.

On another day we could have conceded. The matic/ maguire incident in the first half was like the key stone cops. But all in all a good solid team performance in the type of game we have struggled in in the past.

Now keep the momentum going.

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 20:54:21
Pretty good summary DB. Leicester have a wobble on so with any luck we could snatch 3rd. Consistency is the key.

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 20:57:30
Think it's been quiet on here for a while in general.

Sure GDS only comes on if we win anyway 😂.

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 22:37:15

I wouldn’t have been on much this season if that was the case.

Agree2 0Disagree

24 Feb 2020 04:46:07
Spot on Dodgy regarding Martial.
He can be a world beater if he wishes.

Agree0 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 05:21:34
no lingard, pereira and Dalot in the squad for Watford
Has ole finally dropped them? Andreas and Lingard have been so poor they needed dropping.
I think Dalot has been given a rest due to his injuries.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 10:18:49
Dalot looks woefully overweight. The other two have been useless all season and I can't understand why they are continually been given chances when Gomes and Garner are knocking on the door.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 10:45:21
Because gomes has done nothing to warrant a starting place yet. Nor has garner. Gomes does not want to be here either.

Agree2 0Disagree

23 Feb 2020 11:24:58
Really hoping that we have a front 4 of Ighalo, Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood today. So, for the first time in memory, we have four players on the pitch, who could potentially score a goal. Instead of one, who could score and 3 squad players.

Agree2 0Disagree

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