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Thursday, April 24, 2008

United Must Atone for Tactical Blunders Next Week

Manchester United's tactics were all wrong last night. It is clear to everyone that Barcelona have been patchy at best this season. Although there is unquestionably a pool of exceptional talent at Frank Riikard's disposal, confidence has been low and players nad management have been divided.

It was in my mind therefore crucial for United to gain the upper hand in the first leg. United's game plan should have been to douse any inspiration for Barcelona and subdue any hint of a Barca revival in spirit and in form. To do this United needed to score an away goal and/or retain possession. United did not achieve either.

United should have played a 4-5-1 formation with Rooney up-front and Giggs and Ronaldo on the wings with Scholes, Anderson and Hargreaves in the middle. O'Shea or even Neville could have filled in at right back. As it was United's 4-4-1-1 formation with Park and Rooney wide and Tevez in "the hole" was completely ineffective at ball retention and, despite his physical attributes and scoring record, Ronaldo is not a striker. Sir Alex effectively played with a midfielder up-front and with forwards in midfield!

Despite this, Sir Alex could have been let off the hook if Ronaldo had put away the early penalty, but he missed and the rest is history. United handed the iniative to Barca and let them build confidence which they were short of going into the game. The one saving grace is that Barca had no cutting edge whatsoever and did not create any chances.

However, I do fancy Barca to score at OT - so that means United will have to score 2 goals at least. To do that, United will have to attack the vulnerable Barca defence and make sure they get the right shape and personnel in to the team. Here is my team for next Tuesday:

Van der Sar

Vidic (assuming he will be fit)


(both dropping into midfield to make a 5 when necessary)


How do you think United should line up?


Blogger T said...

Agree with the analysis Abdul. I thought the team was going to be this (and would choose the same next week):

Van der saar; Brown, Vidic, Rio, Evra; Scholes, Anderson, Carrick; Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney.

Very surprised to not see Anderson and that he went with Tevez. Big question mark why he opted for Park.

Barca's weakness is their defence and Man Utd should definitely have been more creative and positive. Kind of played into Barca's hands with the strategy last night.

Henry looked like he wanted to prove a point when he came on - and Barca are definitetly capable of scoring next week. That said, Man Utd are capable of scoring two! Hopefully it will be spectacular!

4/24/2008 3:17 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Agree with both. While Utd maintained their strong defensive stance, their attacking prowess was stifled and quite uncustomarily Ronaldo missed a penalty. That psychological edge on Barca was missed and it seemed to have weighed more on Utd than Barca.

The formation looked odd to me. Ronaldo supporting Tevez, Rooney on the wing while Park is more efficient on the right than the left. It seemed better to me to have Ronaldo ont he left, Park on the right, Tevez and Rooney upfront with Carrick holding behind Scholes. I dont think the players were at fault, rather the positioning of the forwards and flankers.

Other than against Man City, Utd have not conceded a game at OT this season and OT being OT it is Barca who have the difficulty. Utd thrive, with their best players, on the atmosphere at home to perform.


4/24/2008 6:15 pm

Anonymous Striker said...

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4/24/2008 10:02 pm

Blogger Skipper said...

I didn't see the match. I am sure United will get it right in the next leg.

4/25/2008 12:19 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gunnerpete says..Man U will be champs because they (a) Have the luck aclub needs (b) They have the officials with them and (c) After being outplayed completely in recent games they still did not lose.

Sadly for them they have to come out and play to win against Barca ...this will make it interesting especially if Barca score first.

After saying all that as an Englishman I want an English club to win.

4/26/2008 10:37 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After saying all that as an Englishman I want an English club to win."

Not hard that when three English clubs are in the semis!! One of them not being Arsenal!! LMAO!! Barcelona wont kick out Utd because Henry cant play, Ronaldinho wont play, Eto'o cant score!! Plus, the Manc weather will see them off!!

Gotta have a laugh, ennit!! After we got hold of the Mancs and taught them a lesson in football, they looked scared like they did against AC Milan, we have a good grip on the title again. They will draw at West Ham and Wigan while we will beat Newcastle and smash Bolton. Thanks for warming it up, Mancs, we will have it back now!!

4/27/2008 12:02 pm


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