Manchester United banter 92749


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09 Nov 2023 14:43:07
Now that the dust from last night has settled and left a nice film of frustration all over the carpet, I think it's time to get real.

Defensively, we're a shambles with the only recent positive arriving in the form of Wan-Bissaka's return.
I am thinking that a 3-man defence might be a short-term solution.
Hear me out on this.
Onana in his exceptional season at Inter played behind a 3.
Maguire always looks better as part of a 3, certainly when required to cover the left side.
Lindelof can do it.
Amrabat has played at CB many times before, as part of a 3 and on the left side.

So let's say Onana has a screen of Lindelof, Maguire and Amrabat.
Let's say we put Wan-Bissaka and Reguilon on the flanks.
Let's say we put Mejbri, McTominay and Mainoo/ Eriksen in the middle.
Let's say Fernandes sits behind Hojlund up top.

I know this formation and selection would be far from perfect, but with our current problems this could be the only one that plays to our best available strengths.
A defence that best fits Onana, Maguire and Reguilon.
A midfield with energy, gusto and guile that would benefit from an Amrabat or Wan-Bissaka stepping in occasionally.
Appointing Fernandes as the tormentor-in-chief with less demand on workrate.
Hojlund benefitting from decent supply from the flanks as well as through the middle.

Defensively, which is our main problem this season, 3-5-2 is imho the best current option.
Ordinarily, the counterpoint to this suggestion would be built upon the lack of attacking productivity, but would this stack up ATM?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I know better than ten Hag - I'm just a splinter-flicker with a beer-belly.
I'm just of the opinion that in this significant period of turmoil, ten Hag might need to shift the pieces temporarily in the hope of inspiring something positive.


Agree3 Disagree0

09 Nov 2023 15:06:49
If we are going to play 3 at the back, might as well get a manager who is the best at playing that formation, Conte.

09 Nov 2023 15:09:56
U lost me at Amrabat as a CB.

09 Nov 2023 15:28:29

But the alternatives would be the rather unhappy looking, made of glass, Varane, or maybe switching Amrabat with McTominay.
Who else is there really?
Uh-oh Dalot?
An untried Kambwala or Bennett?

09 Nov 2023 16:15:27
I think the fact that the only way to play this formation would be to stick players out of position due to us not having enough CB's pretty much puts paid to it being an option.

You wouldn't play a two striker system such as 442 or 532 if you had no strikers and had to play a couple of midfielders or defenders in this striker positions.

If you've made your whole game plan around playing a back three that has to include one midfielder due to a lack of options what do you do if one of those three gets injured or suspended? Or if you just need to rest one of them.

Personally I'd say the opposite, Due to the injuries to Martinez, Shaw, Evans and Malacia, along with Varane's poor injury record that we absolutely have to play a back four system.

I'd be more inclined to go down the route of playing a 442 diamond given the issues in the squad.

We have few options at RW with Sancho and Greenwood out of action, Amad injured and Antony in the worst form of his career. We are left with playing Pellistri or someone out of position like Mount, Bruno, Rashford or Garnacho.

Bruno plays his best centrally and has been shunted wide which has reduced the impact of our most creative player.

While the injuries in defence and the poor form and now injury to Casemiro we look very weak in midfield.

The issue we have is teams are able to get right through the middle of us. Therefore, sacrificing a poor option on the RW to given us more stability and control in midfield seems the obvious choice. A midfield three from McTominay, Mount, Eriksen, Amrabat and Mainoo while not inspiring as individuals, hopefully their deficiencies can be made up by having three of them in their rather than two. While having three midfielders might give players like Reguilon the freedom to push forward and offer width. He looks much better going forward than being asked to defend deeper.

It might nnot solve the lack of goals (although playing Bruno in his best position surely must be better than shoehorning someone out of form or out of position on the right) . However, the midfield diamond might just give us the defensive solidity to grind out a few results and rebuild some confidence until our injured players are back and able to contribute.

I think we've moved away from bad form and keeping doing what we've been doing and wait for our luck to change to actually having to change things up, at least in the short term, to try and grind out some results and turn the corner. We have to change the narrative soon or the media will snowball to a point of no return and out season will spiral completely out of control.

09 Nov 2023 18:50:22

A 3-5-2 formation allows for fluid transition into a 4-4-2 diamond when in possession anyway, I don't really know where you're going with that.

As for players out of position, Dalot looks terrible on the left and, although better, Reguilon is still not a great option for a more defensive role.

In terms of offensive impact on the right, Wan-Bissaka has already looked better than any other option this season.

In another post, you reference our poor luck and decisions from the ref and VAR as being the factors that decided the outcome, but there's no mention of the mistake made by bringing on Varane instead of Lindelof, nor the nonsensical decision to opt for Dalot on the left instead of Reguilon.

There are some things that give the anti-Erik brigade some level of credence and those two decisions in particular were questionable.

The point you're missing is that, with the defence being considerably weakened still by the absence of two guaranteed starters, the shortfall in aptitude and quality must be addressed by managing the situation.
In an ideal world, it would be addressed by other defenders, but who is there beyond Maguire and Lindelof now Evans is out?
Varane? Kambwala? Bennett?

There is an abundance of problems we're enduring right now and finding any kind of settled formation is perhaps the biggest.

So is it really so risky to put Amrabat in a 3?

Is the risk of suspension or injury really so great that the team should remain so weak through the middle?

Mitigation aside, we are easy to play against because we're so weak, a diamond formation removed from the transitional depth of a 3-5-2 makes no sense at all.

Again, I'm certainly no expert, but your counterpoint is vapid.

09 Nov 2023 19:49:43
Not sure how Mainoo is being labelled uninspiring or with deficiencies. He’s only played one league game!

09 Nov 2023 20:21:44
What is wrong with 4-4 2 as the great Mike Bassett said.

09 Nov 2023 20:28:43
Always liked 352 and at present time I think utd when benefit from this system. only if 2 play up top. But ten hag is never going to play 352.ever.

10 Nov 2023 01:38:58
Ork, there are two glaring issues with a back three for me right now. Firstly, we have an injury crisis in defence. Trying to play a formation that requires more defenders seems a very counterintuitive way to mitigate a lack of defenders.
Secondly, I don't believe it solves the real issue. Which for me is the midfield.

We are conceding goals because we have a forward line that is looking to press high combined with a defence that due to injuries has to player deeper. If you're defence is deeper and you attacker higher then the space in the middle that the midfield need to cover is huge, especially with a two man midfield of aging players.

We have lost games due to a lack of control, we haven't kept the ball and dictated the game. While teams have also been able to get at our defence and walk right through the heart of our midfield.

It's midfield that needs an extra man not in defence.

Keefy, Mainoo is a massive talent. But having to rely on an 18 year old with only one league game under his belt is pretty uninspiring.

10 Nov 2023 01:44:49
I’d go back in time and sign a first choice centre half instead of an injury prone 35 year old on a free.

10 Nov 2023 10:50:13
But Shappy, with a diamond the same problems would persist - the lack of transitional fluidity.
Additionally, if said diamond was set as a rigid approach, then we'll again see Hojlund rendered as another Weghorst, simply because there'd be minimal service for him as a striker.

So, moving away from the semantics and away from the reality that I'd also prefer to not see the 3-5-2 under ordinary circumstances, in terms of defenders used, how is a 3 man defence including Amrabat risking greater problems for our stable of defenders compared to a 2 man defence consisting of the exact same CB pairing?
How are the risk implications greater when, of the options available, the 3 man formation works better for the goalkeeper and the, unfortunately, best available option at CB along with the LB?

How is a rigid diamond a better alternative when the onus will at some point be on wide set plays and transitions that would leave the weakness of a 2 man midfield?

Ultimately, a 3-5-2 would be a far better option because:
A. A 3 man defence using no more defenders than the alternative provides better protection for a goalkeeper who looked his best behind such formation.
B. Said formation works best for Maguire and Reguilon who, in the alternative formation, would make the whole left side defensively vulnerable. Don't even get me started on Dalot.
C. Wan-Bissaka has already looked a greater attacking threat on the right than every other option we've seen this season - why not see how well this formation works for him?
D. Amrabat, whilst nothing particularly special, can do a job there. Weak link? Maybe, but a rigid diamond would be even weaker, because.
E. With a diamond the FBs are required to do more defending. The available options on the left are Reguilon and Dalot - both weak in defence. With Maguire or Lindelof or even Varane on the left side, it's immediately weaker again. So, with the left flank so shockingly vulnerable, we'll be eaten, because.
F. The onus will swiftly move to the requirement for the midfield diamond to address that shortcoming by shifting at least one midfielder to the left as cover, thus rendering the midfield very weak because the right flank will also need progressive cover.
G. A 3-5-2 formation would cover the defence better, it would serve the flanks better, and it would keep the midfield 3, meaning that.
H. Fernandes and Hojlund are required to drop back far less, and.
I. The midfield, when under greater pressure, would be more easily helped by Amrabat, by Wan-Bissaka, by Fernandes, by Hojlund, without exposing significant weaknesses too often.

As I said, I'm just a splinter-flicker, but I do have a decent understanding of tactical management and I do know very well that part of any form of management is managing periods where the toffee hits the fan - absolute stubbornness during these periods expose managerial weakness.

Nothing and nobody will ever convince me that a diamond formation is a better defensive formation than a 3-5-2, just as there's nothing to qualify it as a better attacking formation unless the pitch is very narrow.

I know ten Hag will never go there and I consider that tactical reticence to be a weakness.

Take Pep for example.
He wouldn't be so tactically limited to overlook the 3-5-2 because it's not his preferred way. No, he would remove his head and look at what formation (standard or modified) suits his available senior options best, hence the hybrids - that's called an elite football manager.

Don't get me wrong, I like ten Hag and want him to do well, but I am concerned.
I'm concerned because, despite all the noise elsewhere at OT, there are managerial failings that simply cannot be attributed to anyone else.
Pep makes mistakes, so do Arteta and Klopp, but they don't stubbornly repeat those same mistakes.
Ten Hag seems to keep trying for particular pennies to drop when there are coins spanking him on his head.

Whether either of us is right or not, I do know that ten Hag is nowhere near the standard of Pep or Fergie and actually needs to start accepting that, for absolutely anyone, mistakes are lessons.

10 Nov 2023 17:01:30
Ork, you'll never win lol.

10 Nov 2023 19:39:19
Yes Shappy it’s uninspiring but that does not make him personally uninspiring. Big call to make after one league game.

11 Nov 2023 13:29:36
Keefy, I think Mainoo is a massive talent and I'm excited to see him play.

But he's also a 18 year old kid and even if he plays and is amazing he will be inconsistent and will make mistakes as he is still learning and developing.

Look at Garnacho, he's showing great ability and promise. Yet his impact in the team is variable, sometimes popping up with an important goal, other times losing the ball in dangerous areas leading to us conceding a goal. That doesn't take away from his talent, but he's learning and will make mistakes and that at times will cost the team.

Mainoo will be no different, other than he plays in an area where his mistakes will be more obvious and likely be more impactful.

Great young player, someone I have high hopes for and am excited to see play. But not someone I'd be pinning my hopes on having a massive impact and turning our season around.

Like Garnacho and even Højlund (who has more top level experience) they play well, look bright (sometimes the only bright spot of a performance), but they aren't significantly improving the team and making a big enough impact to help the team play well or get results.



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