Monday, August 27, 2007

United need to switch to 4-4-2 at home....

Everyone knows that United's start to the season has been mixed, away from home we've played well, but at home the Reds have found it hard to open up visiting teams and we haven't been getting behind them.

The trick now for Fergie and his backroom team is find a way of breaking down the visitors packed defenses. Reading started the trend and to a lesser degree in the first half Spurs did the same.

United are at their collective best when they're up against teams who allow you to play, they've always struggled a bit against packed defenses and usually when this happens the first goal of the game will be the catalyst for the game to open up. In those tight games, this is usually the point when United have by traditional been able to attack teams by putting crosses into the box.

What's happening at the moment selection wise is being dictated by injuries and supsensions, and the manager is somewhat hamstrung in terms of his options. He's got litte room for changing things around, rotation is out of the question.

Tevez is being asked to play as an out and out striker, which is not his normal game and to make matters much worse, he's being asked to carry the burden pretty much alone. It isn't working well, not least because the Argentine striker looks to be playing from memory alone at times, it looks as though he needs a break and a rest. It's not even the end of August and the little man looks shattered already. At this rate Fergie is risking burn out with Tevez.

Giggs appears to have been given a free role, which has worked in the past, but not always. Against Spurs the Welshman and Paul Scholes looked jaded and in need or resting.

The good news is that the new boys Hargreaves and Nani have been pressed into action sooner than expected. Fergie talked about giving the England midfielder just 70 minutes against City, but like against Spurs he played the full game. Nani scored his first goal against Spurs and is starting to click.

There has also been signs of things to come from Fergie who has been switching from his starting formation of 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 (depending on how you view it) to a 4-2-4 or 4-4-2 (again depending on your views). The switch hasn't worked that well as of yet, largely because of the options on the bench, but both times the manager has replaced Carrick, which has left Hargreaves and Scholes in the centre of midfield.

What I expect to happen once Fergie has all of his players back and fully fit is that he will start some home games with either Hargreaves and Scholes, or Hargreaves and Carrick with any two of the following four; Nani, Ronaldo, Giggs and Anderson on the flanks plus two strikers from Rooney, Tevez, Saha and Ole.

Despite concerns over the lack of a target man, sans Saha, who injuries continue to be a sore talking point, Fergie really does have some fantastic options at his disposal selection wise.

United's season hasn't started yet, expect fireworks when it does. For now the Reds need to keep within striking distance of the pack leaders.

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