Juan Mata, Manchester United and wingers

Posted on January 31, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Players, Premier League, Tactics   4 Comments »
Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs was instrumental to Manchester United’s success in the 90s as a winger

Author: Karate Jesus

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‘The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.’

Albert Einstein

There’s been a common sentiment, nay, obsession, shared by practically all United fans over the last five years; sort out central midfield. It’s been easy to lose count of the names put forward as the player to revolutionise United’s engine room and, ultimately, the whole side. Some would undoubtedly have improved the side, others have reeked of ignorant desperation.

This common ‘the centre is weak; fix that, fix United’ diagnosis has led to some practically comatose analysis by United fans when it comes to assessing which players should be brought into the club. In the summer of 2012, there shouldn’t have been any supporters feeling anything other than joy at the signing of Robin van Persie. Instead, it wasn’t uncommon to hear people grumble that ‘we have Hernandez, we’d be better off spending that on Yann M’Vila or Chiek Tiote’.

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There’s much to admire about how United stifled Arsenal

Posted on November 11, 2013  by nameonthetrophy  in Arsenal, Doron, Man United, Match Reports, Premier League, Tactics   7 Comments »
Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League
Robin van Persie celebrates with his team mates following a superb header against Arsenal.

Author: Doron

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In the aftermath of United’s win over Arsenal yesterday there’s been a lot of attention on a variety of things but maybe not enough on United as a team, a group of players. Arsenal underperformed, resorted to playing long balls more than they’d liked to and didn’t test de Gea – but why?

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Tactics Board: Moyes’ first tactical conundrum

Posted on August 25, 2013  by sleepy_nik  in Chelsea, Man United, Match Previews, Nik, Premier League, Sleepy Nik, Tactics   1 Comment »

David Moyes takes on Chelsea and Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Author: Sleepy Nik

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There has been plenty of talk about the difficulty of United’s opening fixtures, and one view would certainly conclude that facing Mourinho’s Chelsea later in the schedule would have been more beneficial – but perhaps Chelsea’s early visit gives David Moyes a chance to show the rest of the league what he and the team are all about. Whilst it is true that United are currently lacking in the midfield department (and the transfer dallying has left a lot to be desired thus far), it can’t have been easy for the squad to stomach the ‘third favourites’ tag, particularly after such a comfortable ride last term.

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Tactical preview: Forget Ronaldo, be patient & take risks

Posted on February 11, 2013  by Stretford-end  in Champions League, Man United, Nik, Tactics   7 Comments »
fergie-mourinho
Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United take on Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid in the Bernabeu

Author: Sleepy Nik

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United face Real Madrid on Wednesday, in the glamour tie of the round, and are tagged as underdogs in the eyes of most bookmakers and experts. Yet there remains a suspicion that they can cause Real Madrid problems given their own attacking flair and newly found confidence on the European stage, as well as the fact that Mourinho’s men currently find themselves in a relative state of flux. The tie has been billed as Ronaldo (20 hat-tricks since July 2009!) versus van Persie (19 league goals), but there is so much more to absorb in this fascinating contest.

We have the reunion of two of the silkiest, and tactically astute, players in the game in Carrick and Alonso; attack-minded fullbacks in the form of Portugal’s Coentrao (so good at Euro 2012) and United’s Brazilian maestro, Rafael. But perhaps crucially, we may well see somewhat of a reversion to the early 2000’s in terms of ‘game approach’, as both Mourinho and Ferguson – underrated tacticians in their own right – ponder the use of a classic No. 10. Whatever the specific selections, it is fairly certain that both coaches will seek to deploy the classic ‘4-2-3-1’ system, with two holding midfielders and ambitious fullbacks.

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United can expose Chelsea’s left side to end dreadful run at the Bridge

Posted on October 27, 2012  by sleepy_nik  in Chelsea, Man United, Match Previews, Nik, Sleepy Nik, Tactics   7 Comments »

Author: Nik

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Having emphasised the need for United to move away from 4-4-2 in recent seasons, certainly against stronger sides in the division and in Europe, United’s best chance to end a terrible run of results without a win at the Bridge on Sunday may actually come from keeping the ball wide, and attempting to exploit the Chelsea left side. A lopsided 4-2-3-1 with Rooney deep is a likely scenario, as Ferguson will probably cede possession to the home side in the centre (given the current form of their trio of playmakers, Oscar, Mata and Hazard, ahead of Ramires and Mikel). Getting the ball wide, and with pace, could be United’s best approach.

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Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney & Shinji Kagawa: The Holy Trinity

Posted on August 17, 2012  by sleepy_nik  in Man United, Nik, Players, Sleepy Nik, Tactics   15 Comments »

Author: Nik

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United have been flush with superb talent throughout its history, and often we have seen the emergence of specific trio’s to trigger our imaginations. From the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Best, Law and Charlton, to the more recent triumvirate of Ronaldo, Rooney and Ruud, United fans have been spoilt by the attacking talent on display. Now that Robin van Persie has joined Kagawa and Rooney at the club, in a move that has stumped City and one or two major European teams, United’s attacking options look supreme all of a sudden. In an era where fast paced attacking football is sacrosanct, and during what is a period of transition for Manchester United, van Persie’s addition is, and should be, welcomed with open arms. This piece aims to take a look at the potential attacking combinations on offer, and tries to second-guess Sir Alex in his thinking for the coming season.

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Podcast: Pogba will play in stripes next season, but maybe not for Juventus

Authors: Doron and Phil

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Beyond The Pitch and Stretford-End.com have come together once again to record another podcast, the eleventh in the series. Beyond The Pitch’s Anto joins to specifically discuss Pogba to Juventus. We discuss the various transfer rumours, look back on the Euros and look forwards to the pre-season tour.

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England Euro 2012 conclusion: learn from United

Posted on June 25, 2012  by nameonthetrophy  in Doron, England, Euro 2012, Man United, Tactics   20 Comments »

Author: Doron

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It’s hard to know where to begin with England. Euro 2012 really showed up our national team’s limited ability. Various factors effected this but a couple stood out more so than others – injuries and formations. Oddly, Roy Hodgson should have looked at United as a case study and now he, like Alex Ferguson, needs to ensure that his team change their tactical approach.

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Evra and the fullback: the last hurrah of the complete footballer

Posted on June 22, 2012  by nameonthetrophy  in Doron, Man United, Players, Tactics   7 Comments »

Author: Doron

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One of the most fascinating changes in football lately has been the shifting requirements of players in specific roles. There’s been a focus on increasing specialisation within the game leading to fewer all-rounded players. It begs the question – which position requires the most all-rounded, complete footballers today?

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United podcast with a special guest: Xavi loves both United and Scholes

Posted on June 17, 2012  by nameonthetrophy  in Doron, Man United, Podcast, Pre Season, Tactics, Transfer Speculation   No Comments »

Authors: Doron and Phil

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Beyond The Pitch and Stretford-End.com have come together once again to record another podcast, the tenth in the series. We have another interview this week with special guest, Andy Mitten. We chat about the culture of United as well as looking at what’s in the news with the signing of Kagawa and some thoughts on Euro 2012.

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