Manchester United have finished with their transfer business for this summer. As we have seen, the Red Devils have improved their squad with the arrivals of Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo. There were some departures, most notably that of Daniel James who left for Leeds United, but overall, the feeling around the club is that this team should be considerably better than the one Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had at his disposal last season.
But what is especially the case is that the amount of options Solskjaer will have in attacking positions will make things interesting, both for him and for the fans. Because the manager will always have to choose four to five players who will get on the pitch each weekend and there could be plenty of rotations, changes and adjustments in order to fit all the pieces of the puzzle.
So, the question is – how will Solskjaer fit all of his attackers into one functionable unit?
Will Man United Keep Playing 4-2-3-1?
This 4-2-3-1 system is what Solskjaer has kept since arriving at the club and that formation was almost set in stone with the signature of Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese star is a proper number 10 and when you have such an influential player in the team, it is hard playing any different, modern type of system. This formation means United would get four really attacking minded players in the team, with potentially another central midfielder surging forward. With the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, that formation should not change too much. Sure, it could be possible to play with two centre-forwards, which is a system that would favour Ronaldo, but then that would have to sacrifice the wingers and so on…
Man United Have A Lot Of Options Now
Man United’s options are really good right now in those attacking positions. Bruno Fernandes, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata are all at their best behind the striker. Marcus Rashford is a left winger where Anthony Martial can also play. Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Amad Diallo have all been used to playing at right-wing, while Greenwood and Martial can also play as centre-forwards. But then, there are also Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are always hungry for goals. Not to mention Donny van de Beek who is a attacking-minded central midfielder and Paul Pogba who has been this year more used at left wing, because of his limitations in a double pivot.
With all players healthy (which right now they are not), we could see a front four of Rashford, Bruno and Sancho playing behind Ronaldo, with Pogba adding support from deeper midfield areas. Until Rashford is fit, we could see Pogba continue playing on the left, as well. Also, Mason Greenwood could get more of his chances at right wing now, rather than at centre-forward, but with Sancho only just arriving and still accomodating, he could be starting on right in this front four.
Could Man United switch their system to a 4-3-3? It is tough to see that happening. Such switch would have to move Bruno Fernandes to a ‘number eight’ role, a deeper area, where he could be partnered with Pogba or Van de Beek, with just one defensive midfielder behind them. Such system would be tougher to implement for Solskjaer because it would put more strain on the team in defensive transitions, so we should still expect a 4-2-3-1. Seeing Cavani and Ronaldo in a striking partnership would also be a fun experiment, but it would have far too many implications for midfield to properly work…