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12 Dec 2018 17:47:14
So to change tact slightly, what formation/ tactics would you like to see our side play and why?

I really like the flexibility and tactical superiority you can get from a 343 formation. I also feel it suits our side the best out of all the different systems with the players we have.

Either 343 with wide forwards or 3412 with a No.10 against sides that are a little harder to break down.

As our holding midfider lacks mobility, our central defenders lack quality and our full backs are better at attacking than defending on the whole. This system mitigates the need for a genuine holding midfider, while also providing cover for our full backs.

That would allow us to move to a more mobile midfield pairing any two of Pogba, Herrera, Fred or Andreas Pereira.

Then any three of Martial, Rashford, Lukaku, Lingard, Mata or Sanchez up front.

Moving forward we could do with improvements at CB, a CM to replace Pogba and a wide forward to replace Sanchez. Then possible cover at full back, but not essential. Mitchell and TFM or Young could provide cover/ competition for a season or so. The beauty of sticking with a 343 in terms of recruitment is that you don't necessarily need genuine world class CB's. As the system covers for for it some what. Meaning you aren't held to ransom for a player who probably isn't as good as some of the previous top CB's.

I feel there is a lack of genuine top quality at CB in world football at the current time. Some people feel there are genuine world class CB's my argument to that is name me one who you would be prepared to spend 70-100m on right now to replace any of Stam, Rio or Vidic in their prime?

I can't think of a single one, which to me highlights there is a lack of genuine class amoungst the current crop of CB. Alderweireld is probably one of the best, but no one would consider him an adequate player to oust any or Rio, Stam or Vidic from the team in their prime.

I'd look at some of the cheaper (relatively) left footed options to play on the left of a back three. Lucas Hernandez, Romagnoli, Umtiti or Ake could all do a better job than any options we currently have, improving our defence without blowing the whole budget on one player.

My concern at the moment is that a lot of the CB's we have been linked to are right footed and more importantly prefer to play on the right hand side of a centre back pairing. Which is where Lindelof, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Smalling and Jones all prefer to play. Thus if we sign another player who plays best on the right then have we solved anything as one of our defenders will still have to play in a position they aren't as comfortable in and is unlikely to get the best out of them.

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12 Dec 2018 23:08:37
I disagree on one point there shappy. 3 cbs need more defencive nous and ability as they get dragged wide need to track runners and Need to be much more positional aware than when they play in a pair centrally. They also need to be more comfortable on the ball providing better distribution. Lindelof looks ideal for a 3 to me.

13 Dec 2018 01:51:57
Varane from real is the best in the game the last 2 yrs united missed out bigtime.

13 Dec 2018 08:32:37

13 Dec 2018 17:11:33
Ken, I was a fully back when I played. However I did on several occasions play on the left of a back three. I have also coached players and from my experience you get away with a lot more mistakes as part of a back three than you do as a pair. The extra body covering means you are less exposed.

It also works extremely well at negating a high press as you have an extra passing option in defence. It means teams have to commit an extra body forward if they want to be successful with a high press leaving them very susceptible to being hit on the counter.

I do agree you need defenders comfortable with the ball to play that system. However, that isn't an issue in modern football, most young defenders are comfortable on the ball. What they lack is defensive nous and grit, that's why in my opinion playing three at the back compensates for a lack of know how with extra cover.

Rogie, Varane has been good, however he struggles to stay fit for a whole season. I would not be a fan of signing more injury prone defenders.

Random Red, Koulbaly has been excellent the last few seasons, but something about him just doesn't have me convinced. Certainly not enough to spend the reported 100m it would take to sign him.
This is my issue, would you take Koulibaly at 90-100m over a Vidic, Ferdinand or Stam in their prime?

I certainly wouldn't and I don't think you would find many football fans of any club anywhere taking him over those three in all fairness. It shows that there really is a lack of top class talent available at the moment.

11 Dec 2018 13:11:24
Just a thought. After the high profile precedent set yesterday. Do you think we could "pull" the fixture against Liverpool on the grounds that we might not win!

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12 Dec 2018 16:22:16
I’m afraid this has sailed over my head. What does it refer to?

12 Dec 2018 23:29:57
Government putting off vote they could not win. Sorry to confuse you by being political.

13 Dec 2018 11:39:11
Haha, THANKS! I was thinking about footballing precedents. Joke made perfect sense. Senior moment. And i'm not even 40.

10 Dec 2018 22:43:10
Well Derek Langley's quotes make for interesting reading.

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11 Dec 2018 13:51:47
Totally agree Mort. Might be sour grapes, might be true. I suspect with our recent recruitment track record it is probably true.

You also had giggsy say he scouted mbappe and Gabriel Jesus and recommended them to the club. Who knows if true or not. What is true is that all 4 of those players would add something to this squad.

On a totally separate note, how much would chicharito or even falcao loved Delotts crosses at the weekend. It would have been 8-1. Come on Jose play him again and big Rom gamble with a run across the box. Angled run to front post for tap in. Stop running in straight lines.

11 Dec 2018 21:10:21
I wonder how many he recommended turned out to be lemons, we can all pick out a few told you so's, but picking 2 or 3 names from all his time scouting makes me suspect sour grapes. Could be wrong but I take all press articles with a pinch of salt.

12 Dec 2018 01:06:45
Amen, inhope.

12 Dec 2018 10:31:37
It would have been interesting if the journalist had asked if he recommended djemba djemba, David bellion, kleberson or the Portuguese homeless guy who’s name escapes me? Somebody recommended them to the club.

12 Dec 2018 10:32:22

10 Dec 2018 21:16:59
If this is true then Woodward needs to leave the football side of things immediately.

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09 Dec 2018 08:34:59
Okay so Pogbas days under Mourinho look limited. Just for fun if you could swap him out for another CM who would it be. Try to be realistic and it fitting into rest of team we have.
Pjanic for me.

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09 Dec 2018 09:51:16
For mourinhos team, probably billing/ mooy from huddersfield or diame from newcastle.

09 Dec 2018 14:41:26

09 Dec 2018 15:13:42
Kante. Nobody else like him.

09 Dec 2018 18:36:27
Frankie De Jong, that kid is going to be awesome.

09 Dec 2018 19:51:32
Saul or SMS.

09 Dec 2018 20:42:23
I'd swap him for a bag of skittles tbh.

09 Dec 2018 22:04:37
Good player shappy but give me. kante over anyone anyday. He is something special and ready made world class.

Ed001, I've seen your words on kante! Surely he'd be the best straight swap for pogba.

{Ed001's Note - for anyone. There is not a player in world football I wouldn't swap for Kante, even Salah. Kante is just that good.}

10 Dec 2018 20:54:04
Kante is wonderful.
There are plenty of midfielders that would replace pogba and contribute more than he has done.
Pogba will excel elsewhere but that does not bother me In the slightest in fact i'd like to see him do well but i'm only interested in what he does at united and that's been pretty limited. I feel the same about martial. I think both are a lot more suited to Spanish or Italian football. But that's just my opinion. Both are supremely talented no doubt but i don't see a long term future for either of them at united.

11 Dec 2018 08:49:18

08 Dec 2018 01:15:23
Hey bettyswollocks think I just played you on fut champs. 2-1 win late on 😉.

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08 Dec 2018 08:43:48
Unfortunately not the 'real' one mate:- (
Identity theft is rife these days I'm afraid, and there are several copy cats out there on social media, fantasy football team names and gamers.

But there can be only one original and the best, and can confirm that I am 100% exclusive to this site :-)

Beware of imitations and takes.

08 Dec 2018 09:46:16
And fakes!

08 Dec 2018 09:58:01
The imposter.

06 Dec 2018 11:45:13
I'm sick and tired of Mourinho implying we don't have good enough players. That we only have heart. He's just not a good coach. He was a good manager in yesteryear. He had a chance to change his ways when he came to United after his horrible end to his second Chelsea coming. Unfortunately he hasn't changed. Imagine if Pep/ Klopp/ Poach/ Sarri/ Emery had this team:

GK. De Gea
CB. Bailey Lindelof
WB. Dalot Shaw
CM. Herrera Fred
AM. Pogba
IF. Lingard Martial
CF. Rashford

Ok might not be THE strongest 11 in the league but under them managers they could play modern progressive football. With a press, a high line with speed and quick interchange in attack. They mightn't win the league but they'd be up there with a lot of potential. Most importantly I'd be buzzing for the next United game. Imagine that. Buzzing for the next Untied game. Oh the thought.

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06 Dec 2018 15:06:02
I agree we definitely have the basis of a good team, certainly one that can play better than we have seen so far this season.

I personally wouldn't put Pogba in the team. That isn't based on talent but on work rate and desire. He doesn't want to be at the club any longer so I wouldn't play him.

Who would replace him in your line up for me would depend on who we are playing. Against most sides I would play Mata in a free creative role between the midfield and the forward line. Against the top teams I would play 343 and put an extra CB in there to give us a little more security, and an extra body to negate the high press.

07 Dec 2018 16:52:20
The only players with real quality in that list are De Gea and Martial. Dalot has potential. To be honest, all the others are simply not good enough for Manchester United.

07 Dec 2018 22:08:37
There was much praise for Dalot at right back but it seemed to me he was exposed quite frequently and easily. Even so, it was a good debut against a very mobile front line.

08 Dec 2018 14:32:49
Regardless of what style that team plays and as someone said above its not a bad side but not a great one.
Player for player citys first 11 is a lot better. So is liverpools so is spurs. Arguably so are arsenal and chelsea's. Most of their squads have better depth in important areas.
So finishing anything above 4th 5th or 6th is over achievement. Anything below 6th is under achievement.
On a good day our 11 could beat anyone so we are a good cup team.
Thats what we have been for last 5 years a good cup team hovering about 4th placed.
With this squad we over achieved massively in finishing 2nd last season.

09 Dec 2018 16:57:07

Yes that's what I said that it's not THE best team in the league. It would be amongst the top 3-5. The potential in that team is high to improve further. A couple of top replacements for Herrera and Lingard for example would have us right up there. This team can play progressive modern football with an identity. Yesterday against Fulham showed that. There has been many examples in the last 2.5 years with Mourinho. Time and time again however he reverts back to the old style of nulifing the opponent. This will happen again. It feels like we're just going around and around in circles. Yes it's great to win games like yesterday but that shouldn't mask over the big picture that Mourinho doesn't suit this club.

06 Dec 2018 08:52:49
Update on the 'United V Arsenal or I'm a Celeb' dilemma.

I watched the game and was mostly entertained. It's been a while since I enjoyed watching us play and it was a bit like the Arsenal v Spurs game for periods, where both teams were gong for it. Rashford, Herrera and Lingard in particular were impressive with the energy the brought to the team.

We gave the ball away a fair bit but it was mostly in the opposition half trying to make something happen, which we can live with.

Sloppy mistakes cost us again, I think last night confirmed what we all know. We need a shakeup in defence, and our attackers have bags of potential under the right guidance.

Got to almost 80 minutes and Pogba and Lukaku killed the game flat imo. We were back to seeing what we're now used to. Slow transition, unable to pick out runs, giving the ball away needlessly.

So I switched over to ITV to keep the wife happy and catch a bit of Willoughby. Win-win.

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06 Dec 2018 14:34:37
Celebrity is boring terrible dross as much of tv is nowadays, if ol arry wasnt on it i wouldn't watch it at all.

Last night was terrible going to the arms? :S load of shish, guitars and music in a jungle. its utter crap.

03 Dec 2018 22:12:44
With mourinhos comments after the game on Saturday saying we need a miracle to make top 4 its got to be time for Woodward to put this clown out his misery that's a sacking comment if ever I've heard one.

{Ed002's Note - He is after the support of the club. Do you understand what is going on at all.}

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03 Dec 2018 22:42:33
A bit of Reverse phycology.

{Ed033's Note - Reverse studying of algae? :)

03 Dec 2018 22:53:52
If anyone needs to be put out of their misery it’s Woodward

Perhaps a dose of reality is needed for some people, after not supporting the manager in summer it undermined his position, the players could also see that, so why are people surprised at his comments? They are right.

This is like the eighties, nowhere close in the league, look forward to the third round FA Cup draw as that was the only highlight of most seasons. At least we have qualified for the CL next round which is a miracle.

People better get used to this, unless the Executive Vice Chairman supports the manager far better, not just with money, have a plan and listen to advisors based on what Ed said. From the outside it appears there is a huge gap between Woodward and Mourinho and I wonder if there has ever been a close support relationship between Woodward and his three managers.

03 Dec 2018 22:56:08
Lol ed, that one's new on me.

{Ed033's Note - yes, i had to look up what phycology was.

03 Dec 2018 23:15:13
redman they are not going to back him if the players he wants are 30 year olds we should be buying very good youngsters like that lot over the road.

04 Dec 2018 06:51:31

If in summer they decided not to back him, they should have sacked him. It appears someone thought we didn’t need any retooling this summer, sent the manager off to battle with who they thought was good enough. Clearly that decision maker got it very wrong indeed and whoever it is, they are the one or more that should be sacked.

What we have now is halfway house, limbo and utter chaos. If the manager asked for players, who made the call they were not the right ones? Woodward? And this person knows better than an experienced manager, really? as Gary Neville said.

We do not know exactly what or who the manager asked for in summer, we only know they didn’t buy them. I would not be surprised to find the ones that have been bought were not even first or second on the managers list.

The manager having to seek support of the club, shocking, when that schism is so obvious the club will not succeed. Woodward needs to go now, right now.

04 Dec 2018 10:03:29
Red Man - I enjoy reading your posts and I agree with you on many things but your staunch defence of Mourinho is misguided in my opinion.

I agree he should have been backed in the summer and we're probably on the same page as to the reasons why he wasn't however our current league position is all of his own making.

He eroded all confidence in our defenders before a ball was even kicked, he burnt bridges but then had to rely on the same players he said weren't good enough. Not one player has improved under his stewardship, three years in we still have no identity or recognisable style of play and our football is some of the most predictable, ponderous and unimaginative stuff in the league. Our defending has boarded on incompetent at times and we've been out run and out sprinted by every single team we have faced this season. He has divided the dressing room, killed the team spirit, fell out with our most influential players and is doing well just to hold off a full blown mutiny never mind improve our league position or god forbid our playing style.

I like you have some sympathy for him. He wanted to push and improve on last season however the board chose to stagnate seemingly happy with finishing second, choosing to protect revenue and profit rather than backing a manager committed to wining trophies. They refused to take a chance and aim for the top and their arrogance and naivety will end up costing them infinitely more.

Back onto Mourinho and despite the boards inertia you can't act like a petulant kid and throw your toys out of the pram because you haven't got what you want. You have a responsibility to the fans to keep working and improving. Despite finishing a distant second only Liverpool had significantly strengthened and there was still more to get out of the likes of Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw, Pogba, Sanchez, Martial, Rashford and Lukaku. Even without the required investment I think we were entitled to expect better. Some players have marginally improved but the majority have significantly regressed. If Mourinho had all of the above playing to anywhere near their full potential our league position would be significantly better.

At times it appears he has deliberately gone out of his way to prove his point to the board jeopardising results in the process (Playing Herrera and Mactominay at CB) . By publicly questioning the quality of his CB's, openly challenging the ambition of the board, telling us all we were in for a difficult season and falling out with key players our season was probably over before it began. He was never going to win the battle with Woodward. He should have concentrated on improving what we had and demonstrated some patience and humility. The fans aren't stupid and in time he would have flushed out Woodward for what he is.

In the end nobody comes out of this well. Mourinho will lose his job and Woodward will spend millions chasing the top 4 once again. Deja vu anyone.

04 Dec 2018 10:09:08
Ed only twigged now, psychology, spell check.

{Ed033's Note - yes.

04 Dec 2018 14:52:20
red man i agree with most of what you say but woodward will not care one bit while the fans keep spending there hard earned cash and the ground is full week in and week out and as for jose i think if we get a good hiding against arsenal the majority of jose supportes will turn against him wether it is his fault or not.

03 Dec 2018 13:20:44
Something happened this weekend which grabbed my attention and we should all stand up and take notice.

Arsenal pressed, harried and ran a very good Spurs side into submission yesterday. They were committed, tenacious, played on the front foot. They set the tone, they set the tempo, they were brave, they played like winners not cowards, they made things happen rather than hoping for mistakes or relying on set pieces.

I watched an Everton side go to Anfield and take a chance. They pressed high, broke with pace and purpose. They didn't retreat behind the ball and wait for defeat like they have in the past. A goalkeeping blunder in the 6th minute of injury time ruined an excellent display but they travelled to Anfield with menace and intent.

Football has changed. It's now about energy, intensity, hard work, pressure, blood, sweat and tears. It's about playing on the front foot, imposing yourself on the opposition, defending from the front. There can be no passengers, luxury players not doing their bit, the game is now too competitive, too fast, too intense.

A few years ago only a handful of teams played this type of ferocious football. Now everyone plays it and certainly all the top sides. No longer can you sit deep or be passive. You get swallowed up and spat out, steamrollered into submission.

I've seen our running stats and they make for damming reading. Outrun and out sprinted in every single premier league game. The only surprise is we find ourselves so high up the table. Don't be fooled this is not the players application but the manager and his tactics. Sarri and Emery have got their players hunting like hyenas in a matter of weeks. Mourinho style is outdated, his tactics archaic, his methods draconian and uninspiring. His comments about "mad dogs" ill informed and misleading. Mourinho has the players in his squad to play such football. Herrera, Fred, Lingard, Rashford, Sanchez all have the tenacity for this type of football. The likes of Shaw, Dalot, Bailly and Rojo all have the pace to allow us to play a high line. Even the likes of Pogba, Lukaku and Martial have the athleticism to adapt. The truth is we play slow, passive, predictable football, devoid of imagination and endeavour. Mourinho is blinded by his ego, deceived by his own success. The game has changed and so must he if he ever wants to be referred to as the "Special One" once again.

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03 Dec 2018 14:27:00
Great post DLIB.

03 Dec 2018 15:08:51
DLIB. I disagree, Jose is still a very good coach but I think he is not a great fit for this current united side.

He will go elsewhere and win.

03 Dec 2018 19:01:00
Great post mate.

03 Dec 2018 20:09:19
Nobody is a good fit for the club never mind the side.


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