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?