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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love to understand and see how teams perform both defensively and specially attacking wise.

I kind of noticed since the Owen, RVN, Shearer, Gudjhonson, Bergkamp, Fowler era ended either because of long prone injuries or a transfer to another foreign club or even retirement all the big four teams were effected by this trend of attacking play and none of the managers seem to see why these important goals were not coming.

These were players that made decisive attacking runs, held the ball up, brought attacking midfielders and other attackers into the last 3rd of the field. But the season 07/08 we never saw that kind of a player and it got me thinking why the big four found it so much more difficult to win against lower down the table teams.

I noticed that the big four didn't play down the flanks a lot more because there wasn't that box area player, someone in the right place at the right time and it meant teams had to look for that vital pass around the middle of the last third of the field. Even Barcelona didn't have a player like this and maybe that's why they struggled more in there division, Barcelona were another team looking for Messi to hit that right pass.

Look at how Real Madrid ran away with the league, they had RVN (30 goals) that can get poached goals in the area and they had players that can find that crucial pass.

The reason why i am saying the big four teams found it so difficult to break teams down, because i think the other teams understood that all the big four didn't have that box player to provide those simple but crucial goals when the crosses came in or a player to make runs to bring in other players into attack. What the opponent teams did was play 4 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 1 attacker. These teams new that all the big four teams were doing is just simply trying to find that crucial pass or try to walk the ball into the net (like arsenal). And when worse came to worse all the big four either went for the 30 yard attempt (like Liverpool) or they simply tried to get the ball down the flanks more and get crosses in or even get that vital corner which proved vital for Chelsea and Man Utd who got very important goals to either get a win or a draw.

Maybe now Fergy is looking to add a lot more options upfront because of this and i think this will show the other top three teams that Fergy will again be one step ahead than the other teams this season.

I have always said the more versatility you have up front the more confusion you can cause against your opponent. If your up against great defenders it will be much more difficult but against the teams lower down the table i think Fergy is going to get it right this time.

Again, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal do not have this player that can hold the ball up bring other players into attack and be that box player. We now have Berbatov, he is a player who can hold the ball up bring other players into the final third of the field, but a box player i am not sure. But Berbatov is a player that can bring so many different trends into attack and i think this will win us the EPL again and the UCL.

I still wished we had RVN because he was a player that would get you 30 goals a season. A player who is not afraid to try again even if his first 3 attempts hit the corner flag.

Maybe if we got Ashton as a backup, it could have been a great buy as Ashton is that box player, hold up player.
But we will have to wait and see if Berbatov will be that kind of a player.

What do you think?
Is Fergy again one step ahead?
With this team will we win the EPL and UCL?
Is Berbatov an option just to help get the better of the smaller teams?
Will other teams be able to cope with Uniteds new tactics?

4,211 Posts
Teams will do as they always have,bang 10 behind the ball and hope for the best.As for Chelski etc,they are clever enough to adapt to what we do and usually a game of luck who wins.Arsenal crumble with pressure,LiverPOO are not even worth talking about.As for another double this season,i'd have to say no.The premiership alone maybe,the champs leauge alone maybe,but not both....i hope im proved wrong..........

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26,061 Posts
If you're talking about in the league then this is what I think:

1. 4-5-1 with 10 men behind the ball and one in attack.

2. 4-5-1 but with the wingers slightly more attacking, but at the same time there midfield will put a lot of pressure on ours and try to be physical and turn it into a crappy game.

3. A slightly attacking 4-5-1 formation - Arsenal are the only team who can do this. They usually try to out pass us, which to be fair they can and do, so then we're the ones who are forced to put pressure on there midfield.

A normal 4-5-1 where teams are good enough to get head on with us, although not too attacking i.e Liverpool and Chelsea

IMO these are the 3 formations we usually face.

In the CL its a different sotry as the majority play a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation anyway. Madrid are the only acception I can think of riht now.

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the most important thing is variety in attack. we can play fast paced, free flowing, counter attacking football, but when it comes towards the end of the match, and the score is still tied, which side would put more men behind the ball? that is when we have problem breaking down the opponents. berbatov is bought for a reason, as fergie sees him as someone who can unlock defence, a focal point of attack which will bring in other attacking players and opens up opponents' defence. berbatov can play a RVN role(maybe not as effecient), but i believe he can provide more than that, more than just goals.

so, look forward for our attack to be more penetrating and with more dimensions. most importantly, it would be fun and enjoyable to watch united yet again.

i cannot agree with you saying that chelsea has no one to hold up ball, bringing other players in play. they have one of the best in the business in didier drogba, as well as anelka(who is still waiting to be assessed more clearly in a chelsea shirt this season).

while torres is not the typical fox-in-the-box player, but his movement around the box and his clinical finishing makes liverpool's toothless attack more presentable. liverpool does not have so much problem in breaking down smaller teams as their long ball tactic works. every time they put a long ball into opponents' area, even if they cannot win the first ball, there will always be someone to pick up the second ball if the ball is only half cleared. this is because their players see it as an opportunity to attack. although this is not the ideal way to play football, but it can be efficient at times. as for us, you can see that once the ball is being hit long by our defenders, the players see it as an end of one attack, and our midfielders will withdraw, waiting for opponents' attack, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to attack. that is something we can learn from liverpool's play, especially when we are having a hard time breaking down opponents. it may not be pretty, but it can be useful sometimes. i am not encouraging this kind of play, but it can be used in times of desperation.

as for arsenal, adebayor plays a similar role as torres, not as good as torres but he has a lot more help from his teammates, especially fabregas, who is pivotal in arsenal's attack. to shut down arsenal's attack, learn from boro performance against arsenal last season at riverside stadium. close down every space(tuncay was running like a mad dog), organised yet pressurising defence, and at the same time, play a good offside game and beware of midfielders' run from deep.

the most important is still variety in attack. our attack last season is not bad, but it can be very frustrating at times, especially when we were unable to break down a ten men wall, and were hitting the ball from side to side without really threatening opponent's defence, and wait for ronaldo to work his magic. but this season, with the arrivals of berbatov and manucho, i believe we can solve this problem.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yangch0000, totally agree.

I think Drogba has lost the fitness level of the premiership because last season especially the second half of the season he looked tired and he is 30. I think Liverpool, arsenal and Chelsea still have that 1 dimension in attack and i can only imagine Fergy taking Berbatov as an advantage to unlock defenses more when like you said yangch0000 in the last 3rd of the game when we are losing or drawing.

I just get this feeling we will find it a lot easier against your Portsmouths and your West Hams 10 men defenders this season.
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