The Second Leg

 

Not sure what I can write about this match that hasn’t already been written from a tactical point of view. Lineup predictions, formational preferences, and the impact of the two legendary managers have all been published, copied, pasted, reworded, recycled, occasionally refreshed and all together lost all meaning as the match looms nearer and nearer. I was trying to explain the significance of the occasion to my manager at work; trying and struggling mind you. She’s a lovely woman but she hasn’t the faintest idea of why I was so devastated to have been scheduled to work today. How do you explain love? How does one define excitement? How to articulate the sheer monumentality? To say this match will be more explosive that Team Yusuke v Team Toguro in the Dark Tournament is something of an understatement. More convoluted than House Stark v House Lannister? You bet it is.. but that is not quite explicative enough to do the match justice. Is it akin to two gladiators going at it in a bout to the death? Yeaa but nahh. Its Manchester United at home to Real Madrid circa 2013. I don’t think any sort of metaphor, simile, comparison, or explanation would suffice to accurately delineate the wash of emotions we’re all feeling today. It the Champions League. That says enough. Today I’m just going to sit back, watch, and enjoy this one. And stay sober because I still have work tonight -____-

Shout out to Ryan Giggs though! 1,000 matches and counting! Just hope he’s not starting…

 

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5 Reasons to Play Robin van Persie Wide Left

1- Too Good to Leave Completely Out
2- Midfielders Needing Minutes
3- Balance
4- Striker Rotation
5- Rampant RooneyImage

The main reason I have for shunting Robin out wide is that we’ve got some midfielders in a rich vein of form that need to see some minutes on the pitch. The injury to Kagawa on Tuesday seems to have postponed the discussion on where/how our Japanese midfielder best fits into a Manchester United starting XI, but there are still a plethora of combinations and permutations that the gaffer could piece together when the Reds take on Chelsea at the Bridge this weekend. The presence of van Persie and Rooney both in the team means that they MUST be on the pitch together from the start. In addition to the two strikers, only de Gea’s position in goal, and the back line of Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, and Evra pick themselves. After that the remaining four positions are quite debatable.

The reasoning behind the title of this piece is that this author humbly believes that a 3 man midfield of Cleverley, Anderson, and Fletcher/Carrick is just what is needed to stymie a Chelsea side that is leading the Premier League table by a comfortable 4 points at this early stage of the season. Anderson is a player that divides opinion amongst United supporters, but I belong to the group who believes the Brazilian is due some time on the pitch to showcase his talents. Anderson’s ability to run with the ball is something unique to him and maybe only Shinji Kagawa in Manchester United’s midfield. Carrick, Scholes, and Cleverley are all excellent passers but have no real physical presence to speak of. Scholes’ advancing age makes me wary of starting him in a match against a midfield likely to consist of Mikel and Ramires holding behind Hazard, Mata, and Oscar. Against that sort of opposition, our best bet is to meet them with a 3 man midfield, Rooney leading the line, with Valencia wide right and van Persie wide left.

So there you have it. My ideal squad for Sunday:

De Gea

Rafael           Evans         Ferdinand         Evra

Fletcher/Carrick

Anderson                    Cleverley

Valencia                           Rooney                    van Persie

Todays Thoughts

Having been out of the house and offline most of the weekend I missed a chance to watch Man United play live and all the subsequent conversation surrounding the match. Having now watched the full match, and BBC’s Match of the Day program I feel the urge to make note of just a few things.

 

  • Danny “Welbinho” Welbeck isn’t terrible in a wide left position
  • The link up play between Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Welbinho is whats keeping Chicharito (rightly in my opinion) on the bench.
  • David de Gea is improving all the time. Looked composed and again demonstrated his absurd reflexes.
  • Anderson is looking sharp and fit and will most likely start in the Champions League tomorrow against Braga. (with Cleverley and Kagawa I predict)
  • This Manchester United team is still developing and is in a tactical revolution this season to build from their personnel overhaul over the last two years. Second place without ever reeeally putting together a good string of performances bodes well for when these players really gel.

Things I’m looking forward to in the near future:

  1. A fluid 4-3-3 with Anderson, Kagawa, Cleverley, Welbinho, van Persie, and Rooney all starting together.
  2. More link play between van Persie Rooney and Welbinho
  3. The return of Vidic, Smalling and Jones

All in all I’m quite pleased with how we’re playing going forward. The majority of the match against Stoke and in previous games as well we’ve bosses proceedings with the exception of the odd defensive lapse  What I’d like to see is the complete eradication of errors at the back. More clean sheets. More dominant displays. And more fear in the hearts of our enemies.