Tactical Thinker: How would you solve Manchester United’s defensive concerns?

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It’s no secret that Manchester United have had an abysmal season in 2021-22. After finishing as runners-up in both the Premier League and Europa League in 2020-21, many fans hoped and dreamed that this could be the season Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team kicked on and made a name for themselves again in the title race. The superstar signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane only increased the optimism around the team, particularly when the likes of Paul Pogba and David De Gea, who have been inconsistent over the past few years, started the campaign in such fantastic form.

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Unfortunately for Solskjaer and co., those fan hopes and dreams never quite panned out, and the Norwegian coach walked out the door in place of a man who has only managed a select few top level sides across the past decade. Things have been bumpy since Ralf Rangnick took over, with many players continuing to flounder under the new tactical ideals. The team’s defensive problems have garnered particular attention in the media, with the likes of Maguire, Varane, Shaw and Wan-Bissaka continuously lambasted for their performances. So with that, this week we ask the following question in our third Tactical Thinker:

How would you solve Manchester United’s defensive concerns? Who would you sign? How would you change the tactics under the current regime to fit the players Rangnick currently has at his disposal? And most importantly – how can United prepare for their desire to challenge for the 2022-23 Premier League title, by fixing the holes in their defensive game? Be sure to share your thoughts below, and check out more in our Tactical Thinker series.

ANSWER NOW!

Need more prompting? Check out all the articles we’ve written on Manchester United this season, including many already guided toward helping the Red Devils solve their defensive concerns.

-> Why Manchester United should play 3-4-1-2
-> Why Fred and McTominay are not the problem for Manchester United
-> United’s Tactical Follies in the Post-Ronaldo Era – In-Depth Analysis
-> Ralf Rangnick – Manchester United – Tactical Analysis
-> Fred – Manchester United – Tactical Analysis
-> Why Declan Rice is perfect for Manchester United


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Tactical Thinker: Picking the PFA Team of the Year

This past weekend, Mohamed Salah claimed the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year, with more individual awards soon to follow. Individual awards are fraught with controversy within a team sport that relies on all eleven players working in tandem, and sometimes fail to acknowledge those that didn’t do the flashy bits on a football pitch, but performed like their lives depended on it week in and week out. On both accounts, that’s what often makes the Team of the Year an intriguing award to follow. When it comes to the PFA Team of the Year, it becomes all the more fascinating to see who the pros themselves had the most difficult time playing against this season, and who they felt deserved to be remembered for their role in making the 2021-22 season special. So with that, we ask you to pick your PFA Team of the Year, if you were one of the pros.

The best young players outside of Europe’s top five leagues in 2021-22

We take a look at the six best (or the six most submitted) young players outside of Europe’s top five leagues, who have been catching the eye in 2021-22. But not only that! We also take a deep dive into the discussion vaults, describing where each of our youngsters could end up next season, both in stylistic fit and reported rumours.

Solving Manchester United’s defensive concerns

It’s no secret. Manchester United are struggling defensively right now, despite having very capable players all over the pitch. In David De Gea, they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. In Lindelof and Maguire, the Red Devils have a defensive pairing that spearheaded one of the league’s sturdiest defensive structures last season, and led a Europa League charge. Ahead of them, they have two defensive warriors in Fred and McTominay, who will never be world beaters, but are very competent in what they offer. Despite that, Ralf Rangnick’s team have conceded 10 goals in their last 5 games, floundering under the German’s style of play. So what’s amiss?

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