It really depends, sometimes i am Nemanja Vidic and sometimes i'm just another commenter.
I love Manchester United more than anything in the world.
Yeah I agree that trying to fit in players is slowing us down. It's something I liked about the Cambridge match because LvG seemed to just be picking players that he thought would fit the position, rather than squeezing in the names.
There are some positions I would disagree with you on your formation though. First off, after seeing McNair as a RB against Cambridge I would want to see him play there a few more times. What I loved about his performance was that he was very dynamic in his forward approach, and he provided a really fresh perspective to what a RB can be. I was very, very impressed with how he played the position, and if he can polish his abilities off then he could be a fantastic RB for us.
Taking his place at CB would probably be Carrick for me. I think Carrick is good defensively as a CB, but the real treat would be his ability to pass the ball from deep. It would allow us to be much better in both holding possession and making that possession meaningful. I completely agree with you that he can still be a core component for our team and that he would be a natural fit at CB, however if he isn't up to the task defensively (or if he isn't available) then I would go for Smalling to partner Rojo rather than Jones because I don't like having 2 rash CBs. Smalling has brainless moments, but Jones does too. If Evans was showing good form (he was better against Cambridge, but it's only Cambridge) I would partner Rojo with him if Carrick wasn't an option, but he hasn't been good enough this season.
I would use Blind in midfield over Carrick as he's more energetic and mobile. Plus he seems to get involved up front a bit more. I was unsure over which of the two I prefer, but recently I've loved seeing Blind operate at DM.
In the CM you have a 2-1 layout with Carrick and Herrera deeper than Fellaini, but I would change that to a 1-2 shape with Blind anchoring and Herrera and Fellaini as attack-minded box-to-box midfielders.
At ST I'm just not sold on Rooney. Yes he was in-form when you made this comment, but I don't trust him to stay up front and do his job. Falcao and RvP haven't really been good enough either up front so Rooney would get the spot based off current form I guess. It's a bit early for Wilson to get the nod to be our first choice starter, but I have liked what I've seen from him when he hasn't been partnered with Falcao (they are too similar to work together IMO).
One thing I would like to try though, after this Cambridge match, would be to play Mata with Herrera as the attacking B2B midfielders, and use Fellaini up front with ADM and Young/Januzaj cutting inside from out wide. Fellaini would act as a F9 of sorts, and his primary function would be to collect high passes and play them into the path of the other attacking players. He wouldn't be our primary source of goals (though he'd get a fair few I'd bet) and would mostly function as an attacking anchor around which the other players rotate and play. It's something I've done often in FIFA where I use a big lugger of a midfielder up front as my most forward player, and use him to bounce the ball off of as I play my midfielders and wider players forward. I would love to see how that would transition into real life.
I agree on Carrick being a better pick for captain. The guy always keeps his cool, he's consistent, he's a leader and he's reliable. I didn't really consider him for it before now, but now that you've mentioned it I have to say it would have been the best choice.
LvG has been grinding out results, which ultimately must be praised, but my problem is that I haven't seen a real philosophy from him so far. In what direction are we headed? This is a question I don't think we can even answer right now. Our playing style has changed so many times this season that it seems to me that LvG is just experimenting to find something he likes, rather than having an idea he wants to implement. He's fixed our defense, which is great. Our forwards are starting to click more, which is also great. But my main concern is that we aren't really heading in a real direction; everything feels a bit aimless. This is something really important to me. I like to be able to see what the manager is trying to do with the team and where he wants to take them, but I get no indication of any structured plan from LvG, and that is a big concern.
Yeah I would love some players who play for the badge. I think Blind and Herrera fit that description from our summer signings, and I would play them just about all the time. Players like that are hard to find, but I agree that we should look for them rather than galacticos now.
Like I said above, I think McNair could be the RB we're looking for. What do you think about him?
With the way Rojo is playing right now perhaps he could be our next Vidic. He needs to get more comfortable with the team and be more a more vocal and leading figure, but in terms of his style of play he matches the description. He's been much better since he came back from injury, and while I doubted him before he's been looking good now. He seems less rash, and is using his aggression in a more constructive way rather than having it drag him down. Hopefully he can continue like this.
In regards to Falcao, I would just terminate his loan TBH. He's been saying the right things, he's conducted himself well, and thus doesn't deserve to be treated the way he's been treated by LvG. We don't need him now, and we won't need him next season because Wilson is just about the same player as he is (not as good, but the same style of player) and I would rather just give those minutes to him so he can develop. It would remove some of our selection dilemma, it would allow Falcao to play regularly and regain his form, and it would give Wilson more minutes to develop. I like Falcao and I've liked what I've seen from him, but he's too old, injury prone and expensive to be worth the investment of time and money I think.
Anyway, what'd you think of LvG's style vs Cambridge, and what I've suggested?
I actually liked the long ball game vs Cambridge because it was rather purposeful. We weren't aimlessly throwing crosses and long passes into the box, but were rather trying to pick apart their defenders with them. Many long balls when to players just at the edge of the box, and it looked like rather than trying to score off a header we were trying to set up the assister with our crosses. Also it pulled the Cambridge defenders wide and tired them out, which allowed us to later on in the match play more incisively through the middle. I'm not a fan of the wide diamond, but McNair was perfect here as he drifted more into a RCM type position rather than a wide right position typical for an attacking RB, leaving that space vacant for Rooney and covering the central midfield defensively. Rooney, in a Beckham type role, got to play his Hollywood passes from the right into the center rather than from the center to the right, which was a very good change IMO.
Fellaini up front was a great move for this match considering the game plan. RvP was noticeably hungry to score, and while I don't like to see that in a striker (I prefer players who try to play in teammates) I don't hold it against him. We were cruising and he wanted to get on the score sheet.
Herrera coming on again made a huge difference. It is just depressing that LvG isn't starting him. He's the perfect player for us!
It was also good to see Young back. He looked lively in his cameo and doesn't look to have lost his good form. I'll be excited to see him play in the coming weeks.
Yeah Godin most likely wouldn't come midway through the season, especially with Atleti still in the CL. Hummels has also come out and said he won't leave. If we want to sign a defender this month we'll probably need someone who isn't established internationally yet and hope they can make the step up.
From the current CBs I trust none of them. Rojo is too rash, Jones still loses his concentration at times, Smalling does the same while also being prone to playing terrible matches, Evans has been abysmal this season, and the youngsters aren't anywhere near ready to start week-in, week-out. If I had to piece together a starting pair of them right now, based on current form I'd go with Rojo and Smalling probably, but that really doesn't inspire confidence. I'm pretty desperate for us to sign a solid CB.
LvG definitely needs to stop being so stubborn, that much we can agree on. But he still needs to show me more before I can fully believe in him bringing us back to the summit of football. His summer signings were random and didn't seem to indicate a move to any formation or style in particular, he dislikes Herrera for no apparent reason, he's playing players out of position, and he persists with a formation which we aren't executing properly.
While I'm on the formation, I want to point out that I don't believe the 3-5-2 is actually a terrible formation, but it's really just that we aren't executing it properly. I believe that a 3-5-2 done well is probably a better formation than the diamond, but we aren't doing it properly and don't really have the players for it either. With the 3-5-2, or rather 3-4-1-2 as I believe it should be played, the back 3 should be CBs in defense and DMs in possession, with them providing both a creative base to build off of and a solid defensive wall to stop attacks. Our CBs can do neither job, and thus Carrick sits ahead of them to play as a holding midfielder and to shield them, so basically he's doing their job for them and we have 4 players filling the same role. Anyway, when it's well the CBs are the holding midfield base and the other players are given much more freedom to attack, similar to a diamond with the CBs pushed level with the holding midfielder. They are, essentially, the same formation depending on how you play, but our midfield triangle is pointing the wrong way due to inept defenders, and thus we struggle to create anything.
Okay formation rant out of the way lol.
The diamond you laid out has a few problems for me. First of all I don't think Di Maria offers enough defensively for a CM position, and I would use him exclusively at CAM (I've changed my mind about using him in a Robben role). I think LvG agrees because after his early appearances at CM he's never been used there again. Herrera fulfills the role of a creative b2b midfielder, and I would use Fellaini to fill the role of a more defensive b2b midfielder. Di Maria would push Mata out of the CAM role, and I would start (prepare to have a giggle) Young and Falcao up front. I don't believe that his performance vs Galaxy was a fluke, and that Young actually has the ability to play up front. He's got a good eye for space, he's got a good shot, his interplay is rather good, and he makes solid runs which Herrera and Di Maria can pick out. He is also able to drift wide to stretch defenses. Right now, I think he can offer what we're looking for in our front 2, and judging by his pre-injury form maybe he can actually deliver on that. He's injured now, but when he comes back I'd love to see him play up front, though I doubt LvG will do it.
Also, I don't really like Blind at LB. His lack of pace and strength is a problem. For now, with Carrick playing like a boss, he should be waiting on the sidelines, but in a season or so he'll probably take over at DM from Carrick. At LB I'd go with Shaw instead.
So, as to the actual match, it was a disappointment. The first half was dreadful and QPR of all teams looked superior to us. I was disappointed by Herrera's lack of involvement, and I'm tired of Rooney playing like a flat 4-4-2 midfielder in a 3-4 man midfield setup. These formations are not ones where you launch a long ball to your winger, and he needs to stop playing like that. This is why I preferred Fellaini to him in my lineup. Where he tries to dictate the way we play, Fellaini doesn't. Herrera and Di Maria wouldn't be clashing with Rooney on the pitch in terms of the style they play, which I think is a better solution.
With Fellaini back now and having scored again, I will assume that he's going to be starting again. I think Mata will lose his place to him, and he will partner Rooney. It's not what I want to see, but hopefully with Fellaini being a more accomplished defensive presence than Mata LvG will feel compelled to turn our midfield triangle around to point towards the opponent's goal. I think Rooney and Fellaini will be enough of a defensive presence in midfield ahead of our CBs that we can afford to be more attacking with a CAM.
It's also starting to look like a new RB might be on the horizon. LvG doesn't seem to think highly of Rafael, which is a shame. He has issues with his hot-headedness, but he is a damn fine player and if LvG could temper his temper, then we'd have a WC RB on our hands.
We do hold the ball pretty well in the 3-5-2, but the problem is that it's our defenders and holding midfielder who hold the ball, and not our more advanced players. One issue I have with the newer incarnation of the 3-5-2 compared to the old one (we now play a DM and no CAM, whereas before we played with no DM and a CAM instead) is that while it is more defensively stable, in possess of the ball we basically have 4 holding midfielders and a vacuum between the midfield and attack. The previous incarnation of the 3-5-2 (3-4-1-2) was better in theory because it's more balanced, but it lacked defensive solidity. Now that our CBs are more comfortable in the back 3 though, and now that Carrick is back and can play as a CB for us, I would switch back to the 3-4-1-2 variation with Carrick as the central CB, doubling up as our holding midfielder in possession of the ball. We would defend with a back 3, but would only have 2 CBs when we have the ball.
Of course I want to eventually see us discard this useless formation, but LvG seems dead set on it for now so I'd rather he tweaked it to make it better than leave it the way it is.
LvG's use of Falcao has been, in a word, confusing. It's almost as if he never even wanted him here, and that he doesn't want him on a permanent deal. He's restricting his chances and showing him no faith, despite Falcao putting in a good effort whenever he's on the pitch. That being said, he isn't worth his transfer fee or his wages, so I would hope we don't sign him on permanently in summer.
While Mata has done pretty well in his deeper role (which the current 3-5-2 forces him into), I agree that he's being wasted there. The role he plays now is tailor made for Herrera, who can be classified as a creative b2b player IMO, whereas Mata is of course a pure CAM. In 3-4-1-2 there is a place for Mata, but in the 3-5-2 there isn't really.
TBH I'm starting to doubt that ADM can play the Robben role too. I haven't given up all hope yet, but it's starting to look like it. The reason why I really wanted him to fill that role is because Mata has become one of my favourites amongst our squad, and I really want him to play. ADM doesn't offer enough defensive stability to play him as a b2b IMO (when we played the diamond with him and Herrera as our CMs we were absolutely torn apart defensively, which is why we started seeing Fellaini and Rooney partnered instead), which would make CAM the only place I'd include him. Unfortunately that's the same role that Mata can only really fill. It boils down to a choice between the 2, which is what I was hoping could be avoided by playing ADM up front.
I'm losing faith in LvG's capacity to still be a top level manager TBH. He's good, no doubt about it, but is he good enough? He looks like a former great who's past it to me, or at least he's slowly looking more and more like it. I'm hoping we can find a more permanent solution soon because I don't think a CL is within his reach, which ultimately should be our goal.
Do you think we'll sign anyone this month?
I think it's absolutely needed that we get somebody. We need, more than anything, a CB right now. Someone who can walk in, command the back line, and provide us with some stability in the back. Hummels is not that guy for me. He's been way too inconsistent these past 2 seasons, especially in the Bundesliga. Laporte looks like a fantastic player to sign, but first and foremost we need a leader IMO. I like Hoewedes, but I don't see him leaving in January. Miranda has been rumoured, and I think he'd be a pretty good option for us. Godin would be better, but he's probably not available right now.
Great to hear from you again.
I'm reasonably happy with LvG, though I have certain niggling doubts about him. He's made us look like a modern side, which is a huge step up from the archaic football we've been playing, but his decision making at times has left me in disbelief. His substitutions haven't all been great, especially recently, and his insistence on 3-5-2 has bothered on more than one occasion. All in all though it's been primarily positive.
What needs fixing? CB to start with. Evans has looked lost and terrible. Smalling, Rojo and Jones (and Evans) are all an injury waiting to happen. Blackett and McNair need time to develop more before they can be considered title winning defenders. We need a no-nonsense defender at the back who can take charge of the defensive line more than anything, and a playmaking CB wouldn't hurt (though Carrick and Blind can fill in here).
I personally want Hoewedes for the back line, but Godin would also be an excellent choice. Sokratis is another solid option (from BVB). I'd stay away from Hummels though, as he's scared me this season with his inconsistency and attitude.
I think we should definitely sign someone in January. If none of these players become available then Vlaar would make a good stopgap, as you said. He knows LvG, he knows both a back 3 and a back 4, and he's a leader. He can play while the others continue to develop, and then later he can be our experienced option off the bench in a couple seasons, like DvB was for Bayern for example. Januzaj to Hull would be a good choice as well. I would stay away from sending him to PSG though, because you just know they will do everything they can to make him stay permanently.
My preferred formation right now would also be a diamond, though I don't really like it. It's just that it fits our players ATM. In the future I'd rather see a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 if we get the players for it.
Rafael Jones Smalling Shaw/Young
A few differences from yours worth mentioning. Smalling has really impressed me since his red vs City, and on that form he's been our best defender IMO. I can't believe how he turned it around, and I was calling for him to be sold, but now he's doing better than Rojo IMO.
Shaw is my first choice LB based on potential and ability, but Young has been very good as well. What I think would be a good way to handle this is to let Young start for this season, and maybe the next, to protect Shaw from the spotlight while he develops his game a bit more behind the scenes. He is just a teenager at the end of the day, and he's already gotten riled up by the media once. I'd hate for his potential to go to waste over off-pitch issues.
At DM I really like Blind, but Carrick has been amazing. Thinking long term though Blind needs to play.
In CM I'm not a fan of Herrera and ADM because they have a tendency to both charge forward, leaving the DM isolated defensively. Rooney offers a much greater balance here IMO, especially compared to ADM, and I would opt for him here.
I'd play ADM up front in a more or less free role similar to Robben at the WC. He would be our outlet for counters and his pace and dribbling would scare defenders to death. To "partner" him (in a loose definition of the word) I would primarily opt for RvP because of some overlapping qualities between ADM and Falcao (while RvP offers something entirely different), but I also want to see Falcao stay. Plus he's a younger option, and his assist for Rooney was one of my favourite ever moments from a striker.
I'm also stunned by how Herrera doesn't play more. He has been injured here and there, but even when fit he hasn't been guaranteed to play. If I was in charge of the team he'd be the second name on the team sheet after DDG. Fellaini has been clumsy on the ball recently, that much is true, and the anchor role doesn't seem to suit him all that well, but to be fair he has been largely excellent defensively as a more defensive minded box-to-box player. He isn't the well-rounded starting option that some other players are, but like you said against certain teams he'll be a great choice.
Carrick has been, in a word, phenomenal. Last season he wasn't so great, but this season he's been probably our best player when he has played. He's been consistently great despite playing different roles. I too hope he mentors Blind well, because Blind has the potential to be just as good.
Other players who have really shown their quality in recent matches are Rooney, Mata and Young (and OFC DDG, but no surprise there). Rooney has been really great as a midfielder, and I've always believed he'd be a success there (and if I recall correctly you did too). He's adapted to the role well, and LvG isn't hesitating to use him where he fits best, which I'm absolutely thrilled about. Mata has slowly come to grips with his deeper role as well, and now looks great as an attack-minded CM. He doesn't shirk his defensive duties, and as a creator he's unmatched in the squad. Herrera still provides a better balance of talents though. Young has also exploded into form. He was great in preseason, but then looked poor early on in the season. Now though he's consistently been one of our best performers. I'm glad to see him turn things around, just as Fellaini did, and I hope they both keep it up.
I also have my hopes on the title. 10 points is nothing in the second half of the season. Once the CL gets into crunch time City and Chelsea will start to slow down in the league, and if we keep winning and collecting points the pressure will eventually make them slip up. It will be vital that we beat them in our second matches though. I believe we can do it.
How're you doing nowadays man?
How did you find our recent stretch of games this past month? That Leicester game was absolute crap, and even after that our defense was so exposed. I thought we'd be fine this season with Evans and Jones but it seems not, but the bright side, if any, is the emergence of guys like Blackett I guess, and to a lesser extent McNair.
I don't really have much to say about them but Blackett looks good, of course he's young and has a lot of things to work on but yeah. McNair, he's had a good game, especially against Lukauk, but I don't really want to rate him yet. Two games lol.
But our defense, man. I don't know what happened. The thing about Rojo was that he was never really a great player, he was a good player who did pretty well in the WC. And the past few games he's been a liability in a few goals, and I think thats' because of his aggression. Way too aggressive offensively sometimes, a bit like Rafael before. But I still would have him and Jones as our 1st choice CBs.
Jones man, please.. Such a glass lol, I hope, really hope he doesn't become a Hargreaves because he has great potential. l
Rafael's been really good this season also, I hope he's regained the form and especially confidence of two years ago. That was a great Rafael and he has been a great Rafael the past few games when he returned from injury as well.
Shaw got injured again -_-
Do you buy into the Vidal hype? What do you think about the Vidal-Mata switch that is rumored? I honestly don't really want Vidal anymore, I mean, we bought two players to use as starters in Herrera and Blind and we're gonna buy another starter? We've already got our starters and we should just develop the team in that direction. It isnt like Herrera and Blind are bad players (although Blind goes on and off pretty quickly)
And I don't really want to offload Mata, but I think it's become a Chicharito situation again. We need him becaus ehe's a great player and for depth, but he's competing with Rooney most of the time, and of course Rooney wil l get the CAM nod with RVP and Falcao on top.
I think that can be fixed with selling RVP though, I really think he should be sold for the better of the players. Falcao and Rooney can then play on top with Mata behind them.
Thanks for all the good years, you are a true United Hero!
Forgot to get back to Carrick lol. This is what I said to Chris Fleming on his article about Cuadrado. Let me know what you think:
In regards to the formation changing, what I personally would prefer is to play Carrick at CB to deal with that issue. We won't be able to necessarily switch into a 4-3-3, but he could move forward into the midfield to take up a holding role with his 2 CB partners near level with him to leave no space between them, and everyone else could push further forward to give us more numbers up front. Mata could join the front 2 to make it 3, Herrera could operate as the 10, and Fletcher would be more of a box-to-box midfielder. The WBs could then also push further forward, and despite not having the attacking quality that Cuadrado has, it should be good enough for these situations. Plus we could just substitute in Januzaj and Kagawa, for example, for our WBs at this point since we aren't really defending anymore anyway. Seeing as how we don't have much depth at CB in the first place, I think it would be ideal to repurpose Carrick into that role, especially when he's done pretty well there in a 2 man setup and should theoretically only be better with an extra man beside him.
Man that sucks. That exact scenario has never happened to me, but what often happens is I type our my comment and then B/R doesn't post it.
I like the 3-4-1-2 quite a bit, but it's not applicable to every situation. First of all, what I like about it. I really like the stability of the formation. It allows the team to be strong defensively without sacrificing too much offensively. If 4-2-3-1 is the perfect offensive/defensive 50/50 balance, I see 4-3-3 as a 60/40 split in favour of offense and the 3-4-1-2 as a 60/40 split in favour of defense. 4-2-3-1 is the best formation IMO, but I'm happy with any of these 3, especially after seeing 4-4-2 for so long lol.
The formation allows us to be strong in midfield and defense which are both very positive, but it does sacrifice some firepower, like I said before. We don't have true wingers and there is a lot of pressure on one of our forward players to be the person that stretches defenses and makes direct runs. I've been calling that the Robben role because that's what he did during the WC for Netherlands. For us so far it's mostly been Welbeck, but we caught a glimpse of Rooney doing it during that last game when he was partnered with Hernandez.
Welbeck does it well. His interplay, stamina, pace, directness and physicality are all perfect for the role, but Rooney didn't impress me too much. If we pair Rooney and RvP up front I have a feeling that our attack will struggle too much due to the lack of mobility, pace and energy. We need a Welbeck type player up there, and I have a feeling that after a few games of Rooney/RvP up front LvG will instead rotate them in the "RvP" (striker) role and primarily play Welbeck with one of them.
From the other options I've been impressed with nobody in particular. Hernandez is failing to put away opportunities that he would have nailed 10 times out of 10 before, Zaha is very raw and can't be relied upon, and Nani just has to be out after his preseason showing. Hopefully Wilson can make an impact when he's healthy again (he broke his finger, right?), because our other options worry me. I did like Young up front, and I really, really want to see Kagawa play as a CF with Mata and Herrera behind him once. I think that would be nearly-excessively dangerous for other teams to play against.
Another issue I have is that the pressure on our WBs is extremely high. They have to nullify wide threats and provide a wide threat for us on their own. They will need to put in lots of km's every game and will need to be rotated to be kept fresh, even with a lighter than usual schedule. Young has looked excellent at WB (and when he played as a FW, exceptional preseason for him), Shaw is starting to get it and is providing that directness that Valencia does but with a more dynamic approach, Rafael looked really good there when he played, James also looked promising, and Valencia looked decent enough. For me, James and Valencia are firmly behind the other 3 in the pecking order.
In the midfield we lack a true anchor right now, but we've been playing more of a 2-1 shaped midfield anyway so it's okay if we don't get one. Fletcher, aside from his last game where he was probably exhausted, has been superb. I'm pretty much hoping he gets the captaincy at this point, with Evans as his vice. Herrera started off at an inhuman level, but has since looked just good. He's making too many reckless challenges and giving away too many free kicks, and his passing has been inconsistent at times. That being said his vision is great and when he does get his pass right (which is often) it's usually quite perfect. Mata has been insanely good, and Kagawa has been a terror for opposing defenses when played in position. Cleverley also is looking much better, and I can see LvG working on the psychological aspects of his game. He looks more confident, more adventurous, he's demanding the ball, and just getting more invested in the game. Hopefully he keeps it up.
At CB things have been a bit more mixed for me. The CBs have generally looked solid, but not solid enough for my tastes. I want to see Carrick be repurposed into our ball playing CB (more on that after). Evans has looked good aside from against Liverpool, where he looked short of confidence and panicky. I'm putting that down as being overworked for now, hopefully he proves me right. Jones has looked quite good, as has Smalling. They've made some mistakes but generally have looked strong. M. Keane has looked good as well. I don't blame him for the Bale penalty at all. The real star of the back line has been Blackett though. Wow, what a preseason at CB, from a LB! He looks like our most composed and mature defender, and he absolutely has to be involved this season. I know it's really early to make these kinds of comparisons, but he really reminds me of Lahm in the way he approaches the game more so than his style of play. Calm, mature, reserved, reliable, consistent, etc.
DDG has looked great in open play, but man does he need to work on his penalty saving lol. Lindegaard might be too good to be a backup at his age. I wouldn't hold it against him if he moved on to get some consistent minutes. The other two looked okay but not particularly impressive.
Okay, so who to promote:
- Wilson since I haven't been impressed with any of our forward options aside from the obvious 3.
- W. Keane, don't watch the reserves too much but he's supposed to have been ready for a long time
- Blackett, the star of the preseason together with Young for how unexpectedly great they've been
- M. Keane since we'll need all the CB options we can get
- James as extra cover at WB, and he should get time if our players are rotated as much as I hope they will be
- Powell if he impresses LvG since we need another good midfielder
- Zaha because he needs LvG's tutelage to become better. I would keep him for the first half of the season because we have a tighter schedule and have more matches to play between our cups and the more hectic league schedule. After January things slow down for us since we aren't in the CL, so we won't have the minutes he needs. At that point I would loan him out.
Who not to promote and send out on loan:
- Lingard, he's been good but we have too many options in his position
I don't know about any other youngsters because I don't really watch them play (though I wish I had more time to do so). Thorpe is supposed to be ready from what I've heard from you before, so maybe he should also be called up.
Who to buy/sell. First I'll tackle selling:
- Nani, get him out as soon as possible. He lowers his market value with every performance lol
- Hernandez, he's gotten better in his all-around game but is way less potent a goal threat now. He fills no particular need in the team anymore and should be let go despite his great attitude
- Anderson, don't think there's a spot for him in the team as is, and unless he has a major turnaround I don't think he'll be good enough
Players who get this season to prove themselves:
- Young, he's earned his shot and he's been spectacular. He has to keep it up though
- Cleverley, he needs to keep improving or he won't be good enough
- Valencia, with James coming through and 3 good options (so far) in Shaw/Rafael/Young he needs to step up big time to make sense to keep around
- Fellaini, we haven't seen him under LvG but I think he'll have a big turnaround season. If he doesn't he needs to be shipped out
Players to buy:
- Blind, he's the biggest need for us IMO. Fletcher has looked good enough to be first choice, and Blind can be his backup. Plus he gives us extra assurance at WB and CB if our multitude of injury prone players go down at once. His versatility is exactly what we need on the bench in our system.
- a CB leader, like Vlaar was at the WC. If LvG is confident that he can keep those performances up then I'd take him. We need a brick-wall CB to partner with Carrick as the ball-playing CB, then an all-rounder like Blackett/Smalling/Evans to round them out
- possibly a forward. Someone pacey who can play the "Robben" role. Welbeck is currently our only option since Young is being played as a WB. We need someone else, but maybe Lawrence from the youth setup can do it?
This season I see us being right in the running for the title. There's a feeling about the team like we just can't lose ATM, and I'm relishing it. City and Chelsea are the other title contenders IMO, and Arsenal will get their 4th place trophy.
No problem about late replies, just get back to me whenever you can. I certainly won't hold it against you or anything lol.
The Dutch seemed to run out of steam throughout the knockout rounds. They were held scoreless for 240 minutes of match time, which is fairly poor. I think the lack of real quality/experience in their squad was starting to show. Regardless, LvG proved his pedigree (as if he needed to really prove anything) by taking such a relatively average squad so far in the tournament.
I was also confused as to why Sabella took Lavezzi off. He was the one Argentine that was really scaring me.
Schweinsteiger is bar none my favourite player of all time! I only started watching regularly recently, so I never saw too much of Klinsmann, Sammer, Matthaus, Kahn, etc but it doesn't matter because to me Bastian is #1. He caught my eye the first time I saw him as a winger at WC 2006, and since then he's only become better and better. I'm so glad he won the WC because I feel the trio of him, Lahm and Klose deserved to go out with a major trophy on their CV.
Well said about Messi. I pretty much fully agree. I doubt he'll be the same now that his midfield isn't the best in the world anymore. What's crazy is that even Maradona, who is just about his biggest fan, said that Messi did not deserve that golden ball. That really puts it into perspective how shoddy a decision it was to award it to him.
I like you're list for the golden ball. Neuer can, in fact, win it as a GK, as Kahn has won it in the past. He was the only GK to ever win the golden ball, and I think Neuer is capable to replicating that feat with his sweeper-keeper style. Great shout for Schuerrle, I was really hoping he'd start some games, but he was amazing as an impact sub. Mourinho would be crazy to keep him on the bench now, and I think he should be starting instead of Willian.
Hmmm good point about the 3 CB system. Very informative from someone who really plays it, and I appreciate you sharing your insights with me. I don't watch much of the youth squad, but I've only heard good things about Thorpe. If you think he's good enough then I'll take your word on it. If we were to buy a CB then I'm not sure who to go for. Any suggestions? I'm still of the mind Hoewedes would be great. He started a bit poorly at the WC, but grew into his role and was very solid towards the end. Like you said, for 20m it would be a steal. We'd then have a reliable leader at the back who isn't particularly fast but also not that slow.
I think it might be necessary to sign someone because if we do play a 3 CB system regularly we will definitely need reinforcements in that area. We would have Carrick/Jones (both are a maybe depending on what LvG wants), Smalling, Evans, and potentially Thorpe and Keane. That will not be enough when you consider how ridiculously injury prone Jones, Smalling and Evans are. In the very likely scenario that all 3 are injured at once, we'd have Carrick and 2 youngsters in CB as our only options lol.
I'm also hoping to see 3-5-2 in preseason. I really just can't wait for the new season to start though so I can see what LvG does with the team. It's too exciting.
That's a good idea for the 10 and 9 conundrum. The only point I really want to add is that if Kagawa plays more like he did in his Dortmund days he'd be more of a 9.5 than a real 10. He is capable of being a playmaker, but he operates a bit like a forward. His stats from his last season at BVB were something like 16 goals and 9 assists or something, which is more of a forward's record. He'd be able to provide something different to the more assist-oriented Mata, which would be helpful for different teams. Playing on the counter, for example, would call for Kagawa, while a possession based approach may be more Mata's thing.
I'm in agreement with your idea for who should be captain. I also don't really want to see Rooney or RvP get the captaincy, and I think Evans is the better option. If we do hold on to Evra, and LvG decides he has to give the captaincy to either Rooney or RvP, then I hope that Evra is captain next season and whichever one of the two is chosen to be captain will be his vice-captain, because it will ease the transition. We're already used to seeing Evra with the armband, and then after another season it would be a seamless transition for the vice-captain to become captain again.
I also hope Evra stays. He's such a strong personality, he's great for morale, he's a leader, he's experienced, and if he is given enough rest and cover he can still be great for us.
Bad news about Shaqiri, Bayern just said he's going nowhere I think. Oh well, at least Liverpool won't get him :D Another option to consider is Griezmann. I haven't seen a lot of him personally, but he was solid at the WC and a lot of people whose opinions I trust vouch for him.
The fans only moan when players are poor. They moaned about Carrick so much before, then loved him when he was playing well. They'll get over it if Clevs starts to perform. I haven't seen enough of Classie, but from what I've heard I'd agree that he'd be a good replacement for him in the squad. Definitely also want Clevs to stay!
I also didn't see Bebe play too much, but apparently he was doing very well on loan and scored some brilliant goals. It'll be interesting to see if LvG can finally make something of him at United.
Extremely bad news for me: Kroos decided on Real Madrid. I'm no fan of Madrid, and it hurts to see him go. How I wish that Bayern had paid him what he wants. He is just as talented as his teammates, if not more so even than most, yet he doesn't get equal pay. Ridiculous. And they want to replace him with a Spaniard? I don't think a club should ever replace a homegrown, domestic player with a foreign one by choice, assuming they are relatively equally talented. To make it worse, Kroos is better than Thiago too.
The first thing LvG should be looking at is which players he thinks he can use. I think that he needs to assess the options he has, where and how he wants to use them, and then bolster the squad with reinforcements in the areas he deems necessary as soon as possible so that we have enough time to outline and pursue our targets.
I think that LvG should give everyone a chance in preseason even if he's of the mind to sell them. You never know, they might do something impressive or something may catch his eye. I think it's only fair they are given the chance to impress their new manager before being sold.
I'm not too fond of Fellaini's new haircut because the afro just looked right on him lol. It certainly does look more intimidating though, and if it helps him perform better I'll be happy.
My worst fears have come to pass. Losing to Argentina in the final is not an option. It would be the single worst moment of my life for Germany to hand Messi his World Cup glory, thereby validating the collective existence of his entire bandwagon of man-juice guzzling fanatics.
It is unquestionably the first game I've experienced where losing is just not an option.