NOC review up!
Fantastic! This is exactly what I wanted to see in terms of performance, and nearly what I wanted formation wise.
First of all, everyone is saying the formation was a midfield diamond, but I disagree to an extent. It's not that I think it wasn't a diamond, but rather that it was more than a diamond. It was a very free-form formation, none of the attacking players really had a set position. The starting shell looked to me like a really compact 4-3-3 like this:
Which can take both the diamond shape when Di Maria stays back and Rooney and RvP move forward, and also a more standard 4-3-3 shape when Di Maria moves up the left wing and Rooney/RvP move forward. Mata is a bit of an attacking pivot in that the attackers sort of flow around him in a predominantly central position. I absolutely loved the free-flowing nature of our shape and how players kept swapping places and positions, and moving into space as necessary.
The only area where this wasn't on display too often was on our right. With the more mobile (than RvP) Rooney on the left, as well as Di Maria moving into the LW area, we had a more natural 4-3-3 type shape on the left for large portions of the match, but neither RvP nor Herrera can replicate that on the right. Mata, when ADM was in a more central role, could have shifted to the right and linked up with Herrera out wide to create some of that width and dynamic play on that side too. Or we could swap RvP with Januzaj.
In terms of individual players, Di Maria obviously was on fire today. What a performance from our #7! He is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. The hybrid CM/LW role was perfect for him, and it allowed him the freedom he needs to just wreck opposing teams.
Rojo linked up well with him down the left-hand side, but from the 4 signings that started today he was the most average. Still, good showing from him and I hope he keeps it up and keeps improving.
Blind was fantastic. Great distribution and good defensive cover. The only concern I have is that he is a bit lightweight and may need to add on a few pounds of muscle to withstand the physicality and wear-and-tear of the PL, but otherwise I was highly impressed by him.
Herrera showed his LA Galaxy side again. Hopefully this time it's here to stay, but I really like what I see in him. He thrives in a quick-moving style of play, and if we build around that then we can hopefully be a bit similar to how BVB in terms of their breakneck speed of attack.
By the time Falcao came on I had started eating and I was totally buzzing from the performance that I forgot to really check out how he did lol. I only remember bits and pieces of the game after his introduction, like the sexy 1-2 between Herrera and Januzaj that ended up with Januzaj making a terrible decision, and Falcao getting the ball played behind him. Fill me in on what I'm missing lol.
It's too bad we let go of Kagawa though, because he would have really thrived in that kind of a system (as is evident by him bossing things for BVB immediately upon returning). Oh well, BVB are a great team and I'm glad they're getting quality players back in.
Defensively we looked pretty solid for the most part. Not elite, and we'll probably need a bigger name or two for next season, but we should be good enough for a PL level if Evans regains his good form, Rafael stays in good form and Rojo keeps it up. Jones has been spectacular so far, Blackett has been a solid squad-role type player, and Shaw looked really good before succumbing to injury.
Evans looked better again today. He looked much more assured defensively. Apparently he gave the ball away a few times too many, which I can't remember happening too much but K L says so and I trust him. He needs to work on it but hopefully he's putting the horror show of his first 2 performances behind him now. He made some great last-man defensive contributions to make up for any misplaced passes though.
Wow DDG really scared me today! He showed more of what I wanted to see in terms of being a sweeper-keeper, but he needs to get wayyyy better at it if he wants to keep it up. Stylistically though I'm glad to see it, it's a good omen for the future that he's trying to sweep up behind the defense and give them the reassurance they need to hold a higher line. On that note, I just wanted to say that most keepers in the BuLi now are trying to imitate what Neuer does. Leno just last Friday for Leverkusen came out all the way to the halfway line! He's really revolutionized the GK game.
All in all I was really impressed by the performance. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out, and RvP and Rooney didn't look like they were meshing too well, but hopefully those things improve in the coming weeks. If we keep this up we will make top 4, no doubt in my mind, so hopefully we don't regress now or later and only keep improving.
Yaaaaay!!!! We finally won a match :P
Overall a good performance from everyone I really liked the diamond formation and hope it becomes permanent.
De Gea: Other than that miss communication with Rojo he didn't have to do much....made a good save in the second half. Two clean sheets in a row is also a huge positive.
Rafael: This is why I love Rafa so much. He made such a difference on that right hand side, his link up play with Herrera as well looks very good, strong in defense and kept his head straight you could tell the difference he made once he was subbed off. Hopefully he can stay fit.
Evans: Few nervy moments needs to sort out his passes to De Gea because they always seem to be under hit and puts him in trouble. But he made the crucial of the line clearance so his forgiven haha
Blackett: Similar to Evans looked nervy at times but other than that he was alright.
Rojo: I was quite surprised how good he is on the ball, over committed once or twice but other than that I liked him.
Blind: Very good debut for him, always made himself available for our defenders and attackers. Almost got himself a goal. Looking forward to seeing more of him.
Herrera: My word, that's what we want from a midfielder. one goal and an assist, terrific performance from him. Always had an option to pass to linked well with Rafael as well.
Mata: That's more like it. We dropped a couple of levels when he was subbed off. That's all he needs is movement having Di Maria, Blind and Herrera will benefit him massively. 8 goals in 10 games as well it's about time our midfielders started contributing more goals.
Di Maria: Incredible just incredible. This hybrid midfield/wide role is tailor made for him, was involved in all our goals. We've lacked a player like him since Ronaldo left. I have never realized how ridiculous his vision is but how good was his outside left footed pass to RVP in the second half :P
Rooney: Much better from him as well. Had a few selfish moments, and I'm still worried he seems to be avoiding playing Van Persie in.
Van Persie: He really needs a goal just to get him going. But he looked better his hold up play was very good as expected and what was nice to see was he tried to get Falcao a debut goal.
Subs - Falcao: Incredible reception for him, I heard his chant a few times over the TV as well haha.....Almost got himself a goal, made some good movements once he gets some match fitness he'll score for us.
Januzaj: Hmm his suddenly becoming very selfish all of a sudden, his decision making leaves a lot to be desired this season, he had a very good chance to square it to Van Persie for a shot but went himself from an impossible angle and skied it. It's probably just him just trying to impress get into the team.
Valencia: Had a good moment when he tried something different but fecked up the pass hahaha.....but with Rafael finally back from injury I don't think he'll be in the starting 11 much.
Also Pereira made the bench, his been training with the first team as well. I was hoping he'd get a sub appearance :( so much for United losing their identity haha....they've completely ignored Blackett starting all our league games as well as debuts for James, Lingard, Pereira ect....just because we sold Welbeck. Very shortsighted from all these so called "experts"
Hey man! Whatsup? What do you think should be our attacking line against QPR today?
Yeah I'm also surprised Xhaka hasn't been picked up by a bigger club yet. He does have an on-pitch disciplinary problem, so maybe that's what's turned clubs off of him?
ONLY a few knife wounds! Fantastic lol!
Hmmm maybe you're right though that Giggs being next in line might be too early. If we can get Klopp though... Man it's too good to even dream about at this point :D
I dunno, maybe PSG, City, Real or some other stupid-rich club will want him lol. Awesome that you know Falcao's full name BTW.
Thank you, thank you. I do try to think outside the box, glad that comes across lol. We'll have to wait and see what LvG ends up doing. I hate this wait!
For Januzaj to catch up to Sterling at this point I think he would need to play week-in/week-out. Sterling is a central cog to Liverpool's game, and Januzaj would need a similar role to develop like that IMO. He's ready to be a part of the first-team picture and we should use him as much as possible IMO. It's hard to say who's the more talented of the two, though I think I'd also give it to Januzaj.
Yeah I know they needed to take Barney somewhere past the womaniser image, but I just felt like they went too far away from that. I don't know how much you've watched now but there are several arcs in a row that focus on Barney and are way too emotional in nature. Same with Marshall.
I never watched all of Friends, though I should really go back and watch it. I meant the final season of HIMYM. I watched every episode except for the final season. It had gotten so emotional that it didn't appeal to me anymore, with Barney and Marshall being the biggest culprits.
Pfft who cares if you've seen some of it! Just go back and watch BBT! It's amazing! My favourite sitcom-ish show ever. Just watch it lol.
Oh that sucks about Live Another Day.
Once you watch Game of Thrones, it will usurp BB as the greatest TV show of all time! Can't remember, I think you brought it up, but have you seen the Wire? That was also a fantastic show.
Wow I completely thought Lucy was supposed to be a horror movie LOL. I had seen nothing about it until I watched that trailer just now. I can honestly say it doesn't bother me to know what will happen in such a movie. If it was something like Rome or Game of Thrones it would bother me more, but those are story-centric. With more of a popcorn-flick like this there aren't really any twists in the story so I'm not bothered. BTW, have you seen Cloud Atlas? Judging by the feeling I'm getting from your tastes, I think you may really enjoy that movie.
Yeah do watch Bayern. It's fantastic to see them in the 4-2-3-1 again. Very exciting. Now all they need is to bring in the first-choice players like Schweinsteiger and Robbery and it should be amazing. I've been really impressed with Rode though, keep an eye out for him when you watch Bayern. He's been all over the pitch and been a real workhorse, both offensively and defensively.
Real have really shot themselves in the foot this season LOL. That's what happens when you take out vital cogs and replace them with shiny names I guess.
Chelsea is definitely being underestimated, though to be honest the team I think will win the CL this season is BVB if they can keep everyone fit. They have a terrifying squad right now and can rip teams open any way you can imagine. Guendogan is back in training too, so things are looking good there, but unfortunately Reus got injured again :(
Definitely dodged a bullet on Vidal. Now that he's pretty much out of the picture, who do you think we should get? For me Strootman or L. Bender would be ideal, and Xhaka and Kramer would be good fallback options.
Hmmm that is interesting. Perhaps Ed did fail in bringing in LvG's defenders. 7/10 window sounds fair. I think I would settle on an 8/10 personally because we did get some huge names and reinforced everywhere we needed, though it could have been better.
Oh man I did forget about Zaha and Powell, but who on earth is Milinkovic lol. Youth player? Never seen him lol. Yeah the wage bill has been cut pretty nicely with all these departures, it's something I don't consider enough. Though with ADM and Falcao's wages on the books now it's pretty much balanced out already :(
The way I see it, in regards to 3-5-2 vs 4-3-3, is that in the 3-5-2 we have 3 players competing for 2 slots up front and in the 4-3-3 we have 3 players competing for 1 slot up front. I don't see RvP, Rooney or Falcao as being an option out wide. The players I see as being the stars are RvP, Rooney, Falcao, Mata and ADM. Without compromising the system, we can fit 3 in the 4-3-3 (Rooney/Mata, RvP/Falcao, ADM) and 4 in the 3-5-2 (ADM at RWB, 2 of Rooney/Falcao/Rvp, Mata) IMO.
So Noah had the same concerns about ADM at RWB. This is how I rationalised it to him. Let me know what you think.
So anyway, if we do keep hold of the 3-5-2 for now you brought up some interesting points. I think, first of all, I explained what I wanted to see a bit poorly. If ADM were one of our WBs I would expect him to regularly push forward and stretch the play for us. He would be our Robben, and this is something you brought up in preseason. If our WBs can perform their jobs well, then they are the ones who will stretch the pitch for us, which would make it okay for our strikers (Rooney and RvP it was back then) to not be so good at that. Shaw and ADM are both electric going forward and incredibly pacey, so I think with them stretching the play we'd be fine (you convinced me lol). Also, due to how flexible our players are we could easily transition our formation mid-game to fit a 4-3-3 mould by taking turns with pushing ADM (primarily) and Shaw forwards while the other stays back to create a back 4, since both Jones and Rojo, who would presumably play as RCB and LCB respectively, capable of filling in at FB. The only concern is ADM's ability to fill in at RB, but to circumvent that Blind can fill in at LB, Jones could move to RB and ADM could fit into the CM. This kind of formational fluidity is something that LvG put on full display during the WC, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that throughout the season. I think if we fluidly changed shapes like that during a match then the lack of play-stretching players up front wouldn't be a problem. It would also make sense then to play ADM at RWB since he would be changing positions frequently to get into more attacking positions.
In regards to the 4-4-2 vs the 3-5-2, in all honesty they are almost the same formation, assuming you use the right players and hold the kind of back line you should (higher than we do). Now, I'm not saying we have to hold our back line as high as Bayern hold theirs, but we definitely shouldn't be sitting so deep. If we do that then suddenly this:
Rafael Jones Rojo Shaw
Jones Blind Rojo
Rafael ADM Herrera Shaw
They are really similar as long as you don't sit deep, and can fluidly become one or the other depending on what you need. I would personally prefer a 4-3-3, but if we have to play a 3-5-2/4-4-2 then I'd prefer mine to yours because I think it's more well-rounded. ADM transitioning into a winger mid-game gives us more explosiveness up front, and Blind positioned further forward beside Herrera would give Ander more freedom to get involved further up the pitch. All in all both should work though IMO as they are quite similar. If we don't hold a higher back line though then I'd go for yours as it ensures we are more evenly spread throughout the pitch, whereas with a deep 3-5-2 we basically are sitting only in our own half.
Didn't see ADM vs Germany. I usually don't watch friendlies, can't get excited for them really. Definitely sad to hear about Reus though.
Falcao isn't slow, but he's not very quick either.
Rooney is inconsistent. I'll just leave it at that. One match he'll look like he's unstoppable and then the next match he'll play as though he shouldn't even be on the pitch.
Di Maria himself providing pace in attack isn't enough. Shaw, Rafael can only attack if we have possession in the opposition third.
Not denying Falcao isn't quick, I just hope his knee injury hasn't caused him to lose that burst of pace he showed all the time for Atletico. Also he has better movement than Van Persie and Rooney. Shaw and Rafael are rapid but I have no clue what's happening with Rafael these days It's almost like his been sold :/ It pains me to say but I wished we signed a RB in the window so at least when he isn't fit we don't have to resort to Valencia.
This is arguably our most balanced side we can side field. Personally I am still worried Van Gaal will continue to persist with a 3-5-2 it just doesn't seem to work but I think given likely at least 5 of our 6 new signings will go into the starting 11 he'll continue using it.
- When we're dominating games, Di Maria can move into the wide areas while Rooney can go inside, where it basically turns into a 4-4-2 shape.
- Januzaj wide right, adds width while also being able to cut inside on his left foot.
- We can always play Di Maria wide right and put Mata somewhere just not sure where hahaha
- And of course the best part no Valencia and Young lol
I'd give it an 8/10. I think Falcao was needed especially considering Welbeck and Hernandez both wanted to leave (Van Gaal didn't force them to stay so instead acted and signed a forward and let them leave) Di Maria was definitely needed. A blind man could see our team lacked pace mixed with creativity and bags of energy. Herrera adds some energy and movement in our midfield but it's disappointing we didn't add a Vidal/Strootman to partner him. Blind I hope surprises a few in midfield and he was quite cheap. Agree we definitely needed to add a dominant experienced central defender but we didn't get one but it's guaranteed we'll get someone next summer though.
Some don't realize how much of a mess our squad is in, while we cleared our a lot of players we still have the likes of Young, Valencia, Fellaini and Anderson all leaching from the club all who I expect to be sold next summer. We messed up big time last summer realistically we would've fixed the midfield issue last summer but Moyes' signings weren't in the right areas.
If I had to choose I'd go with the second one. But both do lack pace as KL below said. It's something that's taken it's toll on our ability to break at pace. That attack is to slow and labored, I think we need to get Januzaj in there somehow. Even if that comes at the expense of one or possibly two of Mata/Rooney/Van Persie.
Anyway, what's your thoughts on our transfer window? Personally I think it was excellent but given how poorly planned last summer was it wasn't enough. It would have been perfect had we got in another midfielder or defender.
I'm not a fan of either lineup to be honest. There's no pace up front which is what we're really missing these days.
Mata is slow, Falcao isn't really quick, Rooney isn't fast either. RvP same thing.
Hmm, hopefully you don't say that at OT then. I'd hate for you to get shot lol. I believe in him though! Okay I pretty much believe in everyone, which is weird because I'm generally a rather pessimistic type of person, but Giggs is a special person. He'll come through! He's got LvG to learn from, hopefully G. Neville to support him later (who seems to reaaaally know his stuff) and a few years of experience of being on the managerial staff.
And I'm still sort of hoping that Rooney get's sold or retires before then lol.
I'm not sure we'll play 4-3-3 now that the transfer window closed and all our players are in. The way I see it, our "stars" aren't suited to 4-3-3, and if LvG wanted to bench stars then he would have just sold them and kept guys like Welbeck and Chicharito. I'll get back to the formations later though.
Sterling makes me jealous of Liverpool too. He would have been perfect for us! Maybe we can pull a Bayern and snatch him away though lol.
Barney is a really funny character, but they try to humanise him more in the latter seasons and it takes a bit of the edge off him. The whole show becomes more emotional in general and isn't quite as funny, similar to what happened with Friends. I actually didn't even end up watching the final season because I couldn't bear with it anymore. Sheldon Cooper BTW is a better character :D You have to check Big Bang Theory out! He's definitely the funniest character on TV right now, maybe ever. Chandler was hilarious too so it's hard to say.
I've watched a couple seasons of 24. Not sure if I agree it's always 8/10, because that second season was a 10/10 for me. The intensity was just insane! Generally though, yeah 8/10 sounds about right.
Fargo... noted. Will check out. The cast looks really good.
It's not that I don't like Breaking Bad, it's just that it isn't one of my favourites. I loooove Walter in the later seasons, but as he becomes more likeable Jesse becomes unbearable. I really liked Jesse early on, but he became far too whiny and heartbroken for me. And pathetic. I was really happy to see him enslaved by the neo-Nazis, but unfortunately he was set free in the end. Okay, that makes me sound like a lunatic I guess...
Haven't seen the Lucy trailer lol. I usually don't mind knowing most of the plot of the movie beforehand TBH. It's about the presentation and how the story progresses rather than what specifically happens for me. To clarify that a bit, I like to see the journeys the characters get to reach the points shown in the trailer and how they are shaped into becoming that person, which is why I generally prefer TV shows now because they're longer and leave more room for character development.
Nope, people are delusional TBH. It's like back when Bayern played a 4-3-3 and people insisted it was a 4-1-4-1. What happened before (against Wolfsburg) was that the team set out in a 3-4-3 (not 3-5-2) with Lahm as RCB and Robben as RM/RWB and Bernat as LM/LWB and Mueller as the right-sided forward.
Lahm Boateng Badstuber
Robben Gaudino Alaba Bernat*
Mueller Lewa Goetze
*I'm pretty sure it was Alaba in midfield and Bernat at LM, but I'm not 100% sure. Alaba played for sure, so he was either CM or LM, which for the shape meant the same thing.
What happened then is that Lahm would often move forward and out a bit, Bernat would move back a bit, Robben would move forward and Mueller would drop in centrally, changing to the shape suddenly to:
Lahm Boateng Badstuber Bernat
Robben Mueller Goetze
The reason why this tangent is important is that with Alonso playing Pep scrapped the 3-4-3 and went to 4-2-3-1 immediately.
Lahm Boateng Badstuber Alaba
Shaqiri Mueller Goetze
With the AMs being fluid in their positioning. I watched the whole game through in crisp quality, and this was the shape pretty much all the way through. Alonso played as a holding midfielder, so with the high back line Bayern holds and his naturally deeper positioning it often looked like a 3-3-3-1:
Boateng Alonso Badstuber
Lahm Rode Alaba
But that's only because of the high line. It was a 4-2-3-1 (FINALLY! It only took Guardiola a whole season to realise it's Bayern's best formation lol).
It was Vidal I think. You said if he landed Vidal you'd stitch him a banner lol.
Decent? Naaa it was pretty fantastic. He landed huge names, and I'm not ready to blame him for the lack of CBs and CMs because I doubt a non-football related individual like him set out our targets. LvG probably told him "this is who I want" and he went out and got them.
That's crazy, we've moved out 17 players!?!? It can't be that many, that sounds way too much. Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Giggs, Buttner, Cleverley, Welbeck, Chicharito, M Keane, Lawrence, Bebe, Macheda, Kagawa, Nani... who am I missing? Still, that's 14 players already. Unbelievable!
I wanted Kagawa to stay, and Buttner, and Evra, and Welbeck. Cleverley, thinking about it now, needed this loan move. He'll either step up outside the limelight, or he'll be in a more suitable environment for his abilities. He will come back a good player or play at a team where he won't be under so much scrutiny.
I think selling Welbeck will come back to bite us hard. Definitely agreed with you on this one.
Fellaini... "Let's see how he dies when he returns" LOL. I know you dislike him, but c'mon let's tone it down a little! Kidding of course, obvious typo/autocorrect.
What do you think our formation will look like now with our players? K L's 4-3-3 was exactly what I'd proposed to Noah, and I only realised after when I replied to him that they were identical. I don't think LvG will bench our stars, like I said above, and a 3-5-2 gives us the best options for fitting them all in.
If we're going for a pure name stacking lineup then this is what we're left with, which is bad IMO lol:
Jones Blind Rojo
DM Rooney Herrera Shaw
Too little dynamism in the front 2, not enough pace throughout, fairly unimpressive midfield and Rooney is too deep. It could theoretically work, but it wouldn't be winning us any big games IMO.
What I think will happen is something more like this:
Jones [Evans/Smalling] Rojo
DM Blind Herrera Shaw
With RvP rotating frequently with the front 2. Rooney is more mobile and more capable in a deeper role, so I think he'd start over RvP. DM can already play as a box-to-box CM, RW and RM, so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to play RWB, especially with the defensively solid Jones behind him.
Having Blind partner Herrera gives him the freedom to push forward and join Mata in the AM areas, especially if we make our formation more compact from front to back (in terms of length, not width). Bayern and Barca, the kings of possession, already do this (to extreme levels, admittedly) and we really need to hold a higher back line if we want to play a similarish style. I think it'll happen though since both those teams were built off the LvG foundation.
I think this is a serviceable formation and it gives us decent rotation options in every position, as well as genuine quality at WB. The 4-3-3 is still preferable to me, but I wouldn't mind this one either.