08 Feb 2018 15:30:13
I'm procrastinating at work and so have found may way, inevitably, here.

I think this summer coming is of the utmost importance for us considering just how dominant City have been. If we are being totally honest their football has been spectacular at times.

I do not believe that most of our squad is a right off but if we want to challenge this City side (who will surely improve again this summer) then we have make some changes.

De Gea must stay, regardless of the money that is thrown at him and he needs to be tied down to a long term contract. If Romero leaves then Pereira can become our number two, or even bring in an old head to help bring the young lad through, but if he is to fulfill the potential that Jose has talked about then he needs a few more minutes.

For me the biggest issue we have is our formation. We mostly play 4 - 2 - 3 - 1. This enables us to get more attacking options on the pitch and as we know that is where our best players are, especially now that Sanchez has signed.

However, in playing this formation it means that Pogba has to play a good twenty yards deeper than his attacking ability demands he should. He is capable of creating goals and scoring goals in equal measure, but defensively he is poor. There are no two ways about this, the defensive side of his game is very poor. Consequently this leaves Matic completely isolated as we saw against Tottenham.

In terms of talent, Pogba is our best player and consequently we need to free him of his defensive shackles and have him playing further forward where he directly affect our attacking game more than he is doing now.

The best way to do this is to change our formation to 4 - 3 - 3 or a 4 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 1.
In each of these formation our width would be affected, but in reality unless we go out and buy a number of wingers (if such a thing still exists in the modern game) that is unlikely to happen and therefore, Pogba should either play to the left of a three or in front of midfield 2. Matic being one with a signing to come in to play alongside him.

Now as much as I love Herrera because of his snideness on the pitch, he is not of the standard required to be a playmaker. Therefore I think he should be sold unless he is happy playing a handful of games (much like this year) a season.

Carrick will retire and we have McTominay and hopefully Pereira to come back. I think that still leaves us one light in the missle of the park so I would like to see a second central midfielder signed. Then there is Fellaini. If he wants to go, let him, if he wants to stay and play here and there, let him. He is a sometimes effective plan B.

In defence I think Shaw has earned more time and has played well when called upon. I would like to see some genuine competition (not Young) for him. Tierney looks a good prospect and would give Shaw the kick up his large arse he needs on a regular basis.

TFM has been playing well at RB and a year as understudy for Valencia as long as he gets gametime to see if he can do it in a team that has higher expectations than Palace could benefit him, but if an established RB is available then loan him out again and use Valencia as backup because even though he is a stalwart of the club and always gives his all, his limitations are clear.

At centre half I think we need to have a mini clear out. Blind, Smalling and Rojo are not quite good enough for me for very different reasons. Blind doesn't have the physical attributes required, Rojo is too rash and Smalling can't pass a ball more than eight and a half yards.

I think Lindelof deserves another year to prove himself, and although Jones is Jones, he has had a solid season and seems to be staying fitter for longer. I am a huge fan of Bailly, he just needs to stop being so broken all the time. I think what we really miss at the back is an experienced leader who could keep the rest of the defense positionally sound but also be a leader on the pitch. (Suggestions welcome - over 28 please Ronnie. )

Dependent on Tuanzebe does at Villa, I would have him involved as the 5th choice centre half and to play 10 - 15 games over the course of a season (dependant on progress)

That leaves our forward line that I think is where we are strongest. Lukaku will play but I would like to see martial and Rashford get a little more opportunity as a 9. Lukaku is a big guy and needs resting more often to keep him at his best whilst our two speedsters need minutes in their preferred position.

Sanchez will play wide left which really only leaves the wide right position free. I would not let Mata go as I think he offers something different to our other attacking players and he could also play a little deeper in the three as could Lingard.

I believe the key to this is freeing Pogba to provide the other attacking players. Although we would in theory look less attacking I believe the balance between defence and attack would be much better and we would score more and concede less.

We would have a second midfielder who would actually do the defensive side of the game and Pogba would more than cover any loss going forward.

Feel free to slate away if you disagree.

Keep up the good work Eds.

1.) 08 Feb 2018
08 Feb 2018 16:27:05
I think we quite often look flat when we play 4-3-3 which I think is why we mostly play 4231 .
Sanchez is now our main attacking/ creative player and will probably get a bit more freedom in a 4231 .
Sanchez will be given a free role so our midfield will have to be disciplined.
Don't see that many signings in the summer prob 2, 3 signings tops .

2.) 08 Feb 2018
08 Feb 2018 16:39:30
I agree with you but I think that's due to the third midfielder not been up to scratch. Herrara is limited as is Fellaini and carrick has been out all year. I'd be interested to see Mctominay Matic and Pogba all together at some point.

3.) 08 Feb 2018
08 Feb 2018 17:32:08
I think we could go one of several ways. I think our midfield has lacked that player to control a game, Matic is great and what he does in shielding the back four and Pogba is great at breaking forward. However, we don't have that player who controls the game from midfield.

In an ideal world I would go all out for Verratti in the summer.
Then play 4231 with Verratti with either Matic and push Pogba into the No.10 or with Pogba and leave Matic out against the "weaker" teams. Or play 433 with all three of them.

I think we will look to Jorginho for that role, and I wouldn't be unhappy about that. I just feel if we have the money to spend and we don't need to try and buy 4 or 5 players then I would rather go the extra mile for someone like Verratti who is world class.