Manchester United - Middlesbrough [R]

Discussion in 'Manchester United' started by cachundo, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. cachundo

    cachundo Marketa Davidova Fan Club

    GO STANFORD!
    Feb 8, 2002
    Genesis 16:12...He shall be a wild ass among men
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
  2. Mac_Howard

    Mac_Howard New Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    Mandurah, Perth, WA
    Ferguson has to drop this 4-4-1-1 obsession or this season will have gone by the 15th match the way it did last season.

    Veron is clearly a great player but he needs more time than the Premiership allows him and he get's caught far too often or plays a hurried pass that puts a colleague in trouble. He seems to be blind to the left which causes Giggs to come inside for the ball and then Utd lose width and find themselves breaking against a packed central defence. Van Nistelrooy has no room to move and we get too many diagonal high balls from deep wing positions (from Beckham, Neville and Silvestre) which play into the hands of the opposition central defenders.

    Alex needs a striker that has pace and/or heading ability (neither of which either van Nistelrooy or Solksjaer have in abundance) to play alongside Ruud and make better use of Beckham's crosses.

    That was an abysmal performance last night and Utd will win nothing if it doesn't improve considerably.
     
  3. Soccerholic

    Soccerholic New Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Mile High
    One of the most lackluster displays I have seen at Old Trafford. I don't think it's any coincidence that Keane is out and United played this way. He is their driving force and will be missed.
     
  4. gildarkevin

    gildarkevin Member

    Aug 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Sure, yesterday's game was a really bad effort. But everybody's going to have a really bad effort once in a while -- and to still get 3 points from those games against a team that can finish in the top 10 is what wins championships (just ask Liverpool over the last few years).

    I agree that the 4-4-1-1 has to go. I think Fergie is a bit hesitant to play Ruud-Ole and only have Diego coming off the bench. He seems to like switching both strikers at some point in the 2nd half for a full injection in pace.

    The only fortunate thing to come out of this rash of midfield injuries therefore, might be that the team has to revert to a 4-4-2 formation, as it's possible that only Butt, Scholes, Giggs and Veron will be available for the Bolton game.

    In that vein, these next 6 weeks/3 months, depending on how long Keane is out, are absolutely crucial, in my mind, to Veron's Old Trafford future. He's probably going to play every game, he'll have a chance to really run the midfield and if he doesn't produce this time, you're likely to see him transferred in January or over the summer. It was heartening to see him combining pretty well with Beckham at times yesterday, meaning they can both provide a creative force in attack when playing together.
     
  5. Soccerholic

    Soccerholic New Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    Mile High
    I thought Veron was one of United's better players yesterday. He had some nice passes and as you say, he did combine well at times, particularly with Beckham.

    Van Nistelrooy, on the other hand, is playing well below his high standards. His first touches were pretty poor yesterday. Beckham gave him a great ball that should have put him alone on the keeper, but he couldn't control it well enough.
     
  6. gildarkevin

    gildarkevin Member

    Aug 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    I'd agree that Van Nistelrooy didn't have a spectacular game, but as others have pointed out, this system results in Ruud having players draped all over him all game long.

    One person whose touch really seemed to be lacking yesterday was Nicky Butt. He was giving a lot of balls away, especially in the first half. Given that his main strength is his consistency and possession play, that might be another reason the overall attack sputtered at times.
     
  7. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree that Butty had an off game, but he's not played much and was fighting back from an injury. Becks looked off, RVN was marked out of the match for the most part, Scholes and Giggs had some flashes, but the whole game just seemed too disjointed really....
     
  8. Mac_Howard

    Mac_Howard New Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    Mandurah, Perth, WA
    I agree with much of what is said above. Butt didn't have a great game, Veron plays to the right, and therefore Beckham, much more than to the left - leaving Giggs out of the game. Van Nistelrooy's control has never been the best and I think he's being crowded out when played as a sole striker.

    In fact it's interesting to figure out why van Nistelrooy's such a great striker. He doesn't have good conrtol, he doesn't have pace - far too long a stride for pace - he's no threat in the air and he seldom scores from outside the box.

    For me it comes down essentially to his ability to shield the ball from defenders making it very difficult to dispossess him, his persistence in the box - there's no such thing as a lost cause - and the ability to get a very high percentage of his shots on goal - even though they're often not hit cleanly.

    That's another peculiar thing about him - he lashes the penalties into the net which would make you think he could put in some powerful shots from outside the box. But he never does.

    I would really love to see Veron make it. There's no question he has great talent but I think Alex has been too keen to fit the team around him rather than have him fit into the team. It was a lot of money to spend on a player and I get the impression Alex doesn't want to be seen to have made a mistake or wasted it.

    But it worries me that when he plays, not only is he having too many poor games, but the other midfield players seem to suffer as well. Giggs often disappears from the game and then comes inside looking for the ball and Utd lose width.

    Veron clearly likes to run the game from central midfield. I don't think that goes down well with Keane. He doesn't make himself available for colleagues in trouble - something that Scholes does so well - and that means colleagues get lumbered. He has to become more of a team player. With colleages like Keane, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes you can't expect to dominate midfield.

    But I do think that he needs too much time to work his magic. Fine in Serie A and International football where the pace of the game is much slower but in the Premiership he's forced to hurry and he's often caught with the ball or makes a hurried inaccurate pass. He's very weak in the tackle as well and doesn't add a lot in the way of defensive midfield. It's crucial to an attacking side like Utd that midfielders do contribute to defence. In fact I think much of Utd's defensive problems come from opposition players being allowed to run at central defence unhindered because only Keane and Butt have any genuine defensive qualities - Beckham, Scholes and Giggs are more of a nuisance than a threat and of course Keane and Butt are not often played together.

    The problem is that when you have a midfield of Keane, Beckham, Giggs and Scholes should you be messing around with it? I think Alex's idea was to fit Veron in the middle of the diamond formed by those four. But you then lose a striker, force Scholes to play with his back to the goal and the cohesion goes - for me Scholes is the oil that allows the midfield to work smoothly, the gopher that subordinates his own talents to allow the others to use theirs.

    It's a problem. You have a great player but how do you fit him into a World Class midfield without upsetting it :)
     
  9. gildarkevin

    gildarkevin Member

    Aug 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Interesting points Machoward, especially about how to play all the midfielders in positions which maximize their abilities. When Veron first joined, on paper, it looked like the makings of a 3-5-2. Then Fergie realized he had no defense and couldn't possibly go 3 in the back. With Rio, however, the formation could be used.

    I'm not saying it will ever be used -- but I think on paper it works well with all healthy:

    Backs: G. Neville and Silvestre as marking backs, Rio as a central sweeper

    Midfield: Beckham, Giggs on the wings, Keane at holding midfielder, Veron in the center and Scholes playing just behind the two strikers

    Striker: Ruud, Ole

    Without going into too much detail, this leaves the midfielders doing what they do best. You still have Becks and Giggs on the wings, you have Scholes playing where I think he does best, in the hole behind the strikers, where his offensive talents and ability to latch onto crosses/trash and score goals is highlighted. Veron will be running the show from the midfield. Keane is used to be used a little more offensively, or all over the field, but as he gets on in years, we all know he's basically going to gravitate more toward a defender's role anyway. He also provides the needed cover for the 3 backs.

    There are of course some weaknesses. While I think Beckham would be comfortable as a wingback with more defensive responsibilities, I'm not sure Giggs will be. Further, this takes away Silvestre's top attribute -- his ability to go forward, as he's really got to stay at home more. Might be that this formation would require Silvestre to go in favor of a more defensive minded defender (Escude, anyone? O'Shea?). And, of course, you've got to admit, it sounds ridiculous to say, "We've got defensive problems, let's take off one defender".

    But it would get a lot of talent into the midfield and make for some exciting attacking ball.
     
  10. Mac_Howard

    Mac_Howard New Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    Mandurah, Perth, WA
    A three man defence is an interesting suggestion but again we're fitting the team around Veron rather than Veron into the team. Also, I think you're right about Giggs not being a suitable wide man in a formation that would require him to defend.

    This is why I would let Veron go, much as I see his skills. I can't see how you can fit him in without making significant changes to the team style. I would love to be proved wrong but at the moment I just can't see how we can make full use of Veron's skills.
     

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