Why Manchester United Will Have a Different Formation Next Season
The United we see next year, will be a quite different one, I suspect.
Giggs and Scholes will still be in the squad, but on the outskirts no doubt. Players like Jones and Young will be in their second year at the club, hoping to build on decent but inconsistent performances this season.
Rooney will be 27, coming into hopefully the prime of his career, while youth team players like Paul Pogba will feasibly stay.
But for me the biggest change, if my analysis is right, is the introduction of a new second formation for the big domestic games and Champions League games. Something that United have not done since Carlos Queiroz left in 2008.
1. United on the Hunt for a Central Playmaker
Let's look at some of the players United have been linked with in the last 2-3 seasons.
Mesut Özil, before he went to Real Madrid; Wesley Sneijder; Nico Gaitan; Eden Hazard; Shinji Kagawa, to name but a few.
These are all players that play or can play just in front of the midfield, in a central playmaking role.
This leads me to believe that Ferguson is looking to change the playmaking role slightly, in bigger, more important games.
He will move the player deeper, closer to his own midfield, providing more defensive stability. Rather than the current position Wayne Rooney occupies at the moment, as something of a second striker.
In lesser games, I believe that he will play this player wide. Possibly leading him to favor a player like Gaitan or Hazard, over somebody like Sneijder who cannot play wide.
2. Inadequacies of 4-4-1-1 in Bigger Games
Looking at this year's Champions League campaign and games such as the 6-1 defeat to City, a 4-4-1-1 is quite easy to overrun in midfield.
Just look at the disastrous campaign in the Europa League, Bilbao completely bogged down the United spine with intricate, skillful players. Outclassed isn't the word.
If United have a deeper midfielder to make up the numbers in defense but provide a link in attack, United will be far more prepared for European competition.
3. United Have Not Counterattacked Well This Year
Against the top teams, United have not countered as well as previous seasons.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club you could bet that United had a real counterattacking threat.
His goal against Arsenal in the Champions League Final in 2009 springs to mind immediately. Probably the best counterattacking goal of all time.
We at United love a good counterattack, a different formation could bring that joy back again.
4. Rooney in the Big Games Must Play as a Striker
Again I'm going to heap misery on you Arsenal fans out there.
Another great counterattacking goal I may remind you of is Rooney's against Arsenal in 2010. Great interplay between him and Nani led to a great Rooney finish.
I still believe Rooney's best position, if he has a playmaker behind him, is the striker role. He has that unique ability to score and create goals in equal measure and could be deadly from that area of the pitch.
What we're looking at here is a change in formation to a 4-2-1-3/4-2-3-1 in bigger games from a 4-4-1-1.
This may look like a very subtle change but the team is very different when Rooney plays behind the striker and when a midfielder plays behind the striker.
Champions League must be a priority next year with Fergie coming to the end. Another one would really top off an unparalleled career at the top of the game.
Now give me some thoughts people. Will United make this change? Is it needed? What type of player do we need? All thoughts are welcome.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!