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Football News: What's Happened at Manchester United While I've Been on Holiday

What's Happened at Manchester United While I've Been on Holiday
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A break from the Manchester United Rumours web site (and the country) has left me feeling refreshed as like many I feel the site was getting a bit repetitive with everyone becoming entrenched in their views and unable to concede any ground on those topics upon which they had fixed views.

It was an interesting experience watching the Leicester City game in the north of Italy surrounded by Italians and Germans watching two English sides play. It was interesting to hear their unbiased views on the game and on English football in general.

The overriding view of Manchester United was that we are a huge club but one that plays in the most competitive league in Europe and as such success will more likely go in cycles as it has done in Italy over the years. Unlike how it is in Germany with Bayern dominating constantly. They felt that we had unprecedented success under Sir Alex Ferguson and that we shouldn't expect that kind of domination again.

We are more likely to fall in line with most other top clubs around Europe where we hire a manager have a year or two building the team he wants, followed by 2-3 years of success under that manager then a year or two of decline as the team either ages or team learn how to combat that style or the players lose focus, at which point the manager will be sacked and the cycle will start over again. Which over 6 years equates to roughly 3 years of success, 2 of building and 1 of decline.

I also came across an interesting statistic before the Leicester game that showed that in the English Premier League in the first four games only Manchester City and West Ham United had created more 'clear' goal scoring opportunities than us. Which might point to poor finishing being more of an issue than creating good chances. However, the number of penalties we have won might be skewing that statistic slightly.

So, moving on to the things that have happened while I've been on holiday. David De Gea (DDG) has signed a new contract. Now even though I have my concerns about his long-term future (personally I feel he will decline earlier due to the kind of keeper he is), him signing a new deal rather than leaving on a free is clearly good business sense. He has been one of our top players over many years and isn't a third-choice squad player being given a huge contract rather than being moved on.

As for concerns that Henderson might move on because of that. It's a legitimate concern, yet Henderson should only be in the team if he is playing better than the other options. If DDG continues to make mistakes and Henderson continues to improve and grow as a goalkeeper there will be a clear moment where he will become a better keeper and take DDG's place in the team.

Lindelof getting a new deal is a bonus, currently one of our best two CB's and was arguably our player of the year last season (personally I feel he had a better season than Shaw) .

Rashford, what is his best position? I'm inclined to agree with Southgate. He seems far more comfortable and dangerous on the left cutting in on to his right foot. It allows him to use his pace to run in behind and lose his markers more easily. He isn't at his best with his back to goal. I can see why Martial has started in the centre forward position more often when fit this season.

Dan James has had a great start and has been a shining light this season. He is so much more effective on the left than on the right which is an issue as we are well stocked on the left. It looks like a straight fight between James and Rashford for the left-wing slot. Hopefully the competition can bring the best out of them, similarly to how it was when Rashford and Martial were fighting it out for the left-wing position in the half a season before Sanchez came in and disrupted them.

The right-wing is still a huge problem area for us. However, I think we might have a solution for it right under our noses. Ole's system when attacking looks like a 3-2-5, three players sitting deeper ready for a counter, two midfielders acting as a base to recycle the ball to the forwards, then 5 players playing high stretching the pitch. The issue is that Aaron Wan-Bissaka (AWB) isn't an offensive full back and is probably best suited to be the player who sits deep with the centre backs.

As Ed001 has stated in his player profile, AWB is arguably the best defensive full back in the league and is immense in 1v1 situations. Which means our left back be that Shaw or Young to go forward and be the width on the left. The problem is that nearly all our options for the right-wing position prefer to drift inside when what we really need is a more traditional winger who'll go on the outside and stretch the defence.

Someone with pace and dribbling ability, a good crosser would be a huge bonus as its not a hollow threat and will force the opposition full back out wide. This then allows the player playing on the left-wing to cut in into the half spaces between the full back and the centre back, the striker can player either centrally or in the half space on the right and the No.10 can either push forward into either the half space on the right or a false No.9 position.

So, who could be the ideal player to play that position in the right? Diogo Dalot. Quickest player in the squad, good dribbler with a couple of tricks, possibly the best crosser of the ball in our squad. He is also hard working and prepared to do the defensive work as he is a full back by trade.

Written by Shappy September 19 2019 12:07:40


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