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.
Sorry, mate, I hadn't checked my bulletin board until now. I don't even remember what my comment was.
Hey man, you caught me at a bad time because I just ended up becoming really busy, but I'm back now lol.
Yeah the results have just been terrrible!!!! I couldn't believe the MK Dons match. I only watched until Wilson came on (had to go to work) and I was shocked to find out the end result. Crazy!
In regards to what needs to be addressed:
1. Yes it's a problem now, but I think LvG might want to keep it TBH. It's hard to say when it comes to him, but the fact that we have 3 top tier strikers makes me believe he will persist with the 3-5-2 because it lets us use at least 2 at a time. Hopefully the CBs grow accustomed to it soon enough.
We didn't get Vidal :( but we did get Blind. In your 4-2-3-1 I would put him in instead of Fletcher, play Di Maria out with Januzaj and Falcao up top over Rooney. Rooney really doesn't excel anywhere, but he'd be great off the bench because he can replace any attacking player.
2. Yeah these youngsters really aren't ready yet. I'm not ready to say they aren't necessarily talented enough, but they certainly aren't good enough right now. I've seen many players blossom later in their careers (or at least not that young) so for me it's still a bit early to say that. Blackett and Januzaj I agree are the only ones who look good enough for first-team football, but Wilson and Lingard look good enough to be squad players IMO.
It's interesting that M. Keane was let go on loan. We need cover at CB, and with him going out that could signify that either Blind will be play at CB or we're going for a 2 CB setup. Can't tell what LvG will do but it's interesting to consider the options.
3. He's gone D: I'm so angry about Welbeck being sold, and to Arsenal of all teams! If he fulfills the potential I think he has, we'll really regret this IMO. I agree that Chicharito should have been sold and Danny loaned.
What would you do with our formation now that the transfer window is closed? I've got a lengthy post on Noah White's page about what I'd do, and I'll copy/paste it here so you can read if you're interested.
What I'd personally use is the modified version of your 4-3-3 I suggested. This is how I summarized the formation conundrum to Trey Tak, let me know what you think. I only really settled on this 4-3-3 after I saw yours again though lol.
I can honestly say I have no clue how to best fit our players in ATM. Our squad is so attack heavy! In FIFA when I made the transfers, United's attack jumped to 89, the highest in the game, but the defense was down to 71 lol. Our squad is so lopsided in talent right now it's ridiculous.
I'm going to assume that we play either 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 since those are LvG's formations.
This isn't quite what I'd do, but it's the only way to fit all our new players and big names into the same 11. I could see LvG try to convert Di Maria into an attacking WB to fit the formation. I'm not too impressed with Rooney in the midfield though, especially in a 2 man CM. He would need a third CM beside him to operate well in that area I think.
TBH I don't think we have the players for a 4-3-3. We have 1 good winger and 3 good strikers, and this formation needs 2 wingers and only 1 striker. I don't really see us using this now TBH. RvP doesn't have the legs to play as a traditional LvG wide-player, but Blind Herrera-Rooney in a 1-2 shape could be really good. Lot's of energy and grit in the box-to-box pair, and Blind is a great passer.
I think in the end LvG will stick with 3-5-2. I think the best way to use it would be to make some tweaks to the formation above.
Falcao is more of an out-and-out striker so I would want Rooney beside him rather than RvP because he is a bit more versatile and mobile. He also drops back more which is necessary from the player beside the ST IMO, and with Falcao staying up top we need Rooney more. Blind is in the midfield to provide defensive cover for Herrera so he's more free to push forward and join the attack, with Evans or Blackett (preferably Evans, despite his horrific passing so far because that HAS to end at some point) coming in in the center of the CBs. I would have Jones on the right because he's been the most defensively solid of our CBs, and with the more attack-minded Di Maria on that side as a WB I think it'd be better to have him there. The formation would also allow Shaw to step back in to the back line and form a defensive 4 with him as LB and Jones as RB, Mata could shift backwards, and Di Maria could move up forming this 4-3-3:
Jones Evans Rojo Shaw
Mata Blind Herrera
Di Maria Falcao Rooney
Giving us an option to change our shape without changing players. We could also use Di Maria in the midfield here with Mata and Rooney behind Falcao to make a 4-3-2-1. I feel like this group of players is the most malleable in terms of positions and roles, and that they'd make our strongest 11 because of that.
To clarify, if we were to go the 3-5-2 route that's what I'd do, it's not what I really want. It gives us interchangeability in our formation and positional fluidity, but it doesn't allow us to preserve the system with substitutes coming in... actually I just changed my mind because I forgot about Lingard at first lol. Lingard for Mata, Januzaj for Rooney (hard to replace Rooney as always due to his skill set, but Januzaj can be the positionally-free forward beside the striker). We can be fluid in our formation and reasonably preserve the system. I would prefer the 4-3-3 but this ones doesn't look bad now that I look at it again.
And the 4-3-3 I was talking about is this:
Rafael Jones Rojo Shaw
Di Maria Falcao RVP
I like this lineup, but I don't like RvP on the wing. The ideal would be to replace him with Januzaj. Star players are important, but I'm not a fan of compromising the system to fit names (typical German I guess lol). I wouldn't even make him play his way ahead of RvP TBH, because if we do it the way you've suggested we wouldn't have anyone to rotate Falcao with at ST to preserve his energy. It shouldn't be too much of an issue this season since our schedule will be pretty light. But if injury strikes it would be an issue for me. I personally like to have backup players to fill a starter's role so that the system can remain intact. Falcao/RvP, Januzaj/Young, Di Maria/Valencia, Rooney/Mata (not a good replacement, but the only real option), Herrera/Anderson, Blind/Fletcher, etc. I don't like it when a system is built around unique talents, instead I want them to be secondary perks to the core qualities of the system in place.
So hi Jihoon,long time no speak mate. How's it been going recently,enjoying life?
No problem about the late reply,I'm probably going to reply as late this year as i'm expecting to be really busy throughout the whole year.
Yeah I know haha but LVG is always a slow starter so I'm trying to stay patient even though it's really hard after the disaster of last year. WBU,are you keeping your faith?
But if I remember correctly you also backed Moyes last year right?
I think we should go for the 3 at the back formation for a bit longer time,LVG has brought "his players" that suit "his philosophy" so hopefully it'll work now but if we drop points against QPR then screw the 3 at the back formation!
"I really think we shouldve sold RVP",seriously mate? Don't you like him?Well then I guess signing Falcao is great news for you then because if RVP doesn't play well then he will go out of the starting line up.
"This batch of young talent is NOT the class of '92",yeah i know haha. Lots of people just want the joy of seeing a group of talented players coming from the reserves like the class of 92 but I don't think it'll ever be repeated. Yeah 1 or 2 players will come up from the reserve team and play well but the class of 92 was just a one of a kind.
So what's your thoughts on our transfer window?
Just to let you know, I've been extremely busy and will continue to be for a while. I won't be able to respond during this time.
I was trynna tell you that you've been removed from the league...
Ignore that message
What do you mean?!?!?!
oh thank goodness :) thought you would hate me for life D:
naw. i was born and raised in the Philippines but am currently living in the States
Something went wrong tho'....