Thursday, August 14, 2008

Berbatov's arrival will pose Fergie huge selection dilemmas...

On the face of it, the expected arrival of Dimitar Berbatov should be a good thing for United, but with having so little time to bed in with his new team-mates, the manager is facing something of a selection nightmare - especially in the early weeks of the season. Here's why.

United will be without Ronaldo (recoving from injury) and Nani (suspended), so in the flank positions Fergie's options are limited to Giggs, who is the only recognised genuine wide player, alternatively the manager could deploy Tevez on the left as he did in the Champions League Final.

If the situation isn't so bad on the left, the opposite flank is much more of a concern, because the manager must ensure that his team has the right balance when attacking and importantly defending.

While Ronaldo isn't noted for his tackling and tracking back, he strikes fear into the opposition and for this reason there's usually a reluctance on the part of opponents to attack United down the left flank, especially if there's any chance of leaving the door open for a Ronaldo counter raid.

Without Ronaldo on the right, the opposition will try to expose any perceived weakness in United's midfield knowing that there's little danger of being caught out by the pace of the Reds star man.

In order for Fergie to counter any possible threat down United's right flank the manager will expect his front players to drop back into midfield when required. As we have seen on many occasions, while Berbatov has great skill, industry off the ball and general scrapping is not his game - he is no Wayne Rooney.

Given the problems in midfield and the Reds lack of pace on the flanks the manager has much to ponder selection wise; Does he go with a 4:3:3 as in the Champions League Final, or does he start with 4:4:2 and if so should he leave out Berbatov and play Tevez and Rooney as his main strike pairing? But with no recognised pacey winger to select on the right this is by no means an easy choice with Fletcher and Rafael da Silva coming into contention.

A third option would be to deploy 4:4:1:1, using Berbatov as the focal point of the attack with Rooney dropping into midfield when required.

Given the complexities of the various permutations, my gut feeling is that 4:3:3 is the one which could leave United most vunerable to the counter attack, while at the same it will not carry more of an attacking threat with no obvious candidate for the wide right position.

Here's my two suggested most likely starting formations for United in the early part of the season:

4:4:1:1
.....................................VDS........................................

Neville (or Brown)...........Rio.........Vidic.........Evra

Hargreaves..............Scholes(or Rodrigo)Carrick........Tevez (or Giggs)
(da Silva or Fletcher)

....................................Rooney............................................

...................................Berbatov......................................


OR 4:4:2

.....................................VDS....................................

Neville (or Brown)...........Rio.........Vidic.........Evra..........

Hargreaves)..............Scholes(or Rodrigo)Carrick........Giggs
(da Silva or Fletcher)

...............................Rooney....Tevez...............................

Either of the above selections should see the Champions winning their opening games, subject to the Berbatov deal actually being agreed and providing both Rooney and Hargreaves are fit, but if Fergie goes with 4:3:3 it could lead to problems with United being vunerable to the counter attack.

1 comment:

  1. Hargreaves has proved himself a versatile midfielder who can display industry off the ball.

    The 4-4-1-1 formation has been one of Ferguson's favourites, so that will definitely be employed for most of this season, barring dead rubber games where certain players require rest.

    ReplyDelete

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