A 'Wide Warrior' is a full-back who hasn't quite kept up with the modern trends associated with their position. Rather than relying on attacking threat and potency to make their name, the 'Wide Warrior' continues to be an ever-present at the back, doing their best work closer to goal. They excel at the defensive side of the game above all else, even if they may offer certain advantages going forward (like a wing-back), or in half-spaces (like an inverted fullback). Further, not only do they excel at the defensive side of the game, their manager has made clear intentions for that to be the most important facet of their role within the team, restricting their attacking height.
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?
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 United's defensive concerns?
Since the start of Ralf Rangnick's temporary tenure at Manchester United, rumours have persisted about who the next permanent boss to hold down a legitimate tenure may be. Erik Ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino have been heavily linked, only continuing to take attention away from Manchester United's burning castle...and their desire to finish inside this season's top four. As the season nears Easter, the likelihood of Rangnick achieving that feat seems all the more unlikely, with Arsenal suddenly looking like the team to beat instead.
The current dialogue around Manchester United is boring. Every week, it's the same story in the media, whether or not they win, lose or draw. It's obvious that Manchester United are not at their best, but very few are discussing tangible ways for the Red Devils to fasten their seatbelts and shift the car into overdrive. So with that, today we take a look at why Manchester United should shift away from a back-four, and into a 3-4-1-2. Don't get us wrong, United need to drill several loose bolts. But, a change to the formation may help to mitigate several of their greatest issues.
Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United started off with a bang. The Red Devils secured a remarkable 4-1 win over Newcastle that day, with the Portuguese striker scoring a brace. Since that dream debut, United have only won two from seven matches, playing some of the worst football they've displayed in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era. Questions continue to persist regarding Solskjaer's future, but the problems at United lie far deeper than the manager himself. Here is a tactical analysis of United's tactical follies in the post-Ronaldo era.
Despite Manchester City's incredible form in recent weeks, the feeling going into the weekend's Manchester derby was that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could get a result yet again, as he had done in four out of his five previous meetings against Guardiola's team. Led by their robust defensive structure and impeccable counter attacking play, that's exactly what happened. Manchester United played with heart and fervidity and eventually succumbed Manchester City to their first loss since November 2020. Here is a tactical analysis of Manchester United's 2-0 win over Manchester City in the derby on March 7th, 2021.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been beaten and battered as Manchester United manager for the past two and a half seasons. But although Manchester United are nowhere near the level they were under Sir Alex Ferguson, Solskjaer has managed to get the Red Devils to play some fantastic football and achieve several impressive results over the past few years. The Red Devils currently sit second in the table, even after a horrendous start to the season that saw them all the way down in 15th just a few months ago. After fifteen Premier League matches, Manchester United have accumulated 30 points, only 2 less than Liverpool, and remain unbeaten in their last ten in the league. Although he looks destined for the sack in time, Solskjaer might be one of the most underrated managers in world football at the moment. Here is our Tactical Analysis of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United.
The first half of 2020-21 was not ideal for Manchester United by any stretch of the imagination. But in the final fourteen Premier League matches, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer took Manchester United on an unbeaten run, culminating in a final day triumph over Leicester City to secure Champions League football and third place in the table. It was a finish worth celebrating and with Bruno Fernandes firing on all cylinders, Manchester United fans will be hoping for better times ahead. But another year gone by without Premier League glory, Solskjaer and co. would have been hoping for silverware elsewhere. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they crashed out of every one of their cup competitions at the semi-final stage. So even with Bruno Fernandes and a powerful trio of attackers alongside him, the Red Devils will undoubtedly be turning their attention to the transfer market for new additions. Anything less than Premier League or Champions League glory is simply not enough to satisfy the Manchester United faithful's. Here is a Transfer Market Analysis of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United and who they can sign to achieve the dream of getting back to that level.