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.
I was gutted at first, no doubt, but I've become content with the transfer. I'm more angry with Bayern than anything for allowing a club legend to feel like he needs to leave. Just a week before his "decision" to leave he was talking about targeting a record 4th consecutive title with Bayern, then suddenly he did a complete 180 and changed his mind? Something must have happened, like Guardiola telling him he would only be playing a less-significant role in the upcoming season once the transfer bid came in from us.
Bayern as a whole has been really disappointing me lately with the decisions they've made, like the way they effectively wanted Kroos to leave the club despite it going against Pep's wishes. He was on 4.5mil a year, and wanted around 8mil, the same amount as Mueller and Thiago while Goetze makes 12mil a year. The board vehemently refused, and as far as I'm aware barely wanted to increase his wages if at all. Very strange way to treat an academy graduate who'd become as central to the first team as Mueller. Then there was that whole medical staff debacle, and the slow replacement of the team's German core with a Spanish speaking one. It's all made me feel like Bayern is throwing away it's tradition and identity, which is why I'm glad he's come to United now.
I'm hoping he wins a CL title with us and beats Guardiola's Bayern along the way (hopefully getting Pep fired in the meantime).
So anyway, rant aside lol, Bastian was traditionally more of a box-to-box player but has now transitioned into more of a deep-lying midfielder like Carrick. He still has a foray forward or two in him per match, but his play style is more about setting the pace from deep.
I'd love to see Carrick at CB but it looks like, from the first preseason match at least, that he will be a 6 while Blind will fill in at CB. I would have preferred it the other way around but w/e. The starting midfield should be the Schmidfield anyway.
Memphis isn't really my style of player (too much flair, too much Robben rather than Mueller), but he does look rather effective. I'm hoping he can develop similar to how Ronaldo did with us, where he used his flair to great effect without overdoing it. He became more and more efficient in his style of play as he got older and matured, and I hope to see that from Memphis as well.
Darmian has me quietly excited. I think we have a real star on our hands with him. I think he'll turn out to be someone similar to Azpilicueta for us. A kind of under-the-radar, solid performer who glues the team together and puts in class performances on a consistent basis.
Schneiderlin has me the most excited though. I have a feeling that by the end of the season he will be widely regarded as a world class midfielder.
In regards to who we should sign, definitely a proven leader of a CB. My CB of choice is Hoewedes, but it looks like Otamendi is the most likely according to rumours. What I like about Hoewedes is that he's a captain, organizer and leader in the back, which is exactly what our younger CBs will need. I also don't know much about Otamendi lol. Ramos looks unlikely.
Otherwise I think that's about it. In an ideal world we'd sell Rooney (make Bastian captain LOL) and sign a real world class forward, but that won't happen. Since Rooney will stay and will play, I see no point in signing another 9. We have Chicharito, Wilson and Fellaini to play backup, and I think that should be enough.
What do you think?
I honestly think we have TOO much depth lol but thats never bad, Schweinsteiger Schneiderlin Carrick Fellaini Mata Blind Herrera... Looks like Blind's future for now is at fullback. And if that's so I think Rafael is going.
I'm happy we sold RVP but I dont think we need another striker, Rooney is enough with Chicharito and Wilson as backup. Loan out Blackett, sell Evans maybe if we get a new centerback.
On CB I honestly want Ramos over Otamendi, who's your choice?
I think we're set for the season if we get one more CB and keep de Gea, even if he goes for free next year.
SCHWEIN FREAKING STEIGER
holy crap i cant believe we actually got schweinsteiger lmao
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.