Formation Options Open to David Moyes at Manchester United

Max TowleAnalyst IJuly 2, 2013

Formation Options Open to David Moyes at Manchester United

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    David Moyes' appointment as Manchester United manager will bring a new way of thinking to the team's current style of play.

    The Scotsman is unlikely to oversee a complete overhaul in terms of tactics, but he will not look to simply continue completely in the vein of former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

    He will want to stamp his own footprint on the club.

    Here are five formation options open to Moyes next season.


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    The most likely formation we will see from the Red Devils next season is the 4-4-1-1.

    Moyes will not deviate from United's typical deployment of two natural wingers, Antonio Valencia and either Nani or Ashley Young will be the first choice, and a second striker.

    This latter No. 10 role should ideally be filled by Shinji Kagawa, though who knows if Wayne Rooney will remain at Old Trafford next term?

    There is also the potential transfer of Thiago Alcantara, who, like Kagawa, plays his best football as an advanced central midfielder tasked with getting the team's creative juices flowing.

    Moyes has used the more physical threats like Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini here in the past, but he must play to his squad's makeup.

Increased Wing Play

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    Rafael and Patrice Evra were given plenty of opportunity to attack up the flanks by Sir Alex, but under David Moyes, they are sure to get forward even more.

    This is not to suggest that Moyes will switch to playing the more conventional three at the back, but that he will give his full-backs an increased attacking role.

    There will be more of an attacking impetus from wide positions. Players like Rafael and likely signing Leighton Baines will be required to create mismatches in the final third.

    Last term, there was a dearth of creativity from the wings. One of Moyes' priorities must be to get Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani back to top form.

    Robin van Persie should be spoiled for chances.


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    It would easy to suggest that the traditional David Moyes will revert United back to the typically-English 4-4-2 next season.

    But this is unlikely. With such versatile talents as Shinji Kagawa and Michael Carrick in the squad, such a rigid tactical approach will be avoided.

    Granted, the Red Devils had great success playing 4-4-2 in the past. The formation evokes memories of David Beckham, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole from the treble-winning 1999 vintage.

    Moyes will want his central midfielders to drop deep to help cover the defence. He could very well bring in a player like Kevin Strootman to partner with Michael Carrick in the middle.

    Moyes' 2013 team will silence the critics who have called his teams one-dimensional in the past.

A Creative Central Threat

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    It is clear David Moyes has highlighted talented Barcelona youngster Thiago Alcantara as one of his priority transfer targets this summer, according to

    The 22-year-old is a creative midfielder with plenty of imagination and an eye for the highlight-reel pass.

    He played in an advanced position for the Spain U21 side, but Moyes could have him in mind for a roaming central role alongside Michael Carrick.

    But he is a far more adept as an attacking player than a defensive one and would offer little protection for the defence.

    The potential signing would do battle with Kagawa to be the Red Devils' trequartista. It is difficult to envision both in the same lineup, playing to their strengths.


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    Most United fans have fond memories of the 4-3-3 formation.

    The double-winning side of 2007/08 put it to great use, the rotating attacking trident of Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo causing havoc for opposing defenders.

    There is little chance Moyes will resurrect the 4-3-3, but in the unlikely scenario either Ronaldo or Gareth Bale are signed, who knows?

    Ronaldo and Bale are such dominant threats, neither could fully thrive pushed out to the wings.

    Without such a ground-shaking transfer, it is possible that Wilfried Zaha and Nani could operate as wide forwards. It is an option for Moyes if he feels things are getting too stale at any point during the long campaign.


    How would you like to see the Red Devils play next season?