After a rocky start to life at Manchester, Erik Ten Hag has quickly become one of the only managers since Sir Alex Ferguson to restore faith in the fans, and restore equilibrium back into the eleven. United might only be fifth in the table, but continue to grow in confidence under the influence of the Dutchman, and look destined for a top four finish on current form. With that, here is our tactical analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Manchester United since the Dutch manager took over.
It has long been hypothesized that 'Zone 14' is the holy grail of chance creation. The ideas around this concept were built around a study from the late 1990s that specified that successful teams had a higher frequency of getting into this zone when compared against their peers. Since opposition clubs often compact central channels out of possession, it's logical to reason that teams who are more successful in advancing into one of the most congested areas of the pitch are more successful overall. But while everyone conducting public analysis is busy studying 'Zone 14' (not all that well), the best chance creators are consistently conjuring up magic from a different area of the pitch, due to the desirable outcomes that follow
When we say 'Creative Ten', I'm sure you immediately conjure up an image of a classical painter of a player, who wonderfully creates art with their passing and incisiveness in the final third. But as has been well documented over the past few years, that type of player does not tend to exist in the modern game. The Mesut Ozil's, David Silva's and Cesc Fabregas's of this world no longer tend to exist as they once did, or play in the same positions that they once held. Nowadays, 'number ten's' must not only be capable contributors in the final third, but highly active in pressing from the front, and contributing to rotations that spread the width of the pitch.
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.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton used intelligent positional patterns (or automatisms) to gain crucial advantages against United, and come out with a massive away draw. Particularly vital on the day to finding space and gaining tactical victories were Oriol Romeu and Mohamed Elyounoussi, who took on various roles over the course of the match away from their 'normal' position.
It's time for the finale! Two weeks ago today, we launched our voting polls for the best player in each position across the calendar year. It’s all part of our annual Top 100 Footballers list, where this year, you get to have your say. In just one week, we had hundreds of votes in each category, helping us develop a comprehensive list of the very best footballers on planet earth this year. Here is our Top 100 Footballers of 2021, as voted by you, ending our countdown with numbers 20-1.
The end of year is almost here, and that means it's time for our annual Top 100 Footballers list. This year, you, the readers of our website, will get to have your say. Just simply see the list of nominees below, and rearrange the list to suit your preference of first to last in each position. When we rank the Top 100 Footballers of the Year, we take into consideration a player's form throughout 2021, their club and national team success, difficulty of league, and their reputation + performances in the year prior. You can rank based on any criteria you desire! Below is our poll ranking the best attacking midfielders in 2021.
After an entire week of calls for his head, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put together a United masterclass, with the Red Devils smashing Nuno's Spurs by a scoreline of 3-0. The former United legend exemplified innovation by implementing a 3-4-1-2 formation, getting the best out of the likes of Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes, and completely undoing Tottenham's 4-2-3-1 bra in the process. Here is our tactical analysis of the match.
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.
The Premier League's opening weekend saw Manchester United smash Leeds into bits, Tottenham stun Manchester City, and Chelsea and Liverpool get off to flying starts, albeit against weaker opponents. The Futbol Masterminds are there to break it all down!
We're not sure why his hair is blue, but Paul Pogba put on an absolute masterclass this weekend, assisting four goals in Manchester United's stunning 5-1 win over Leeds. It was an incredible performance all ends up from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, and one that certainly sets them on the right path toward a title hunt this season if they can keep up this sort of form. Here is our analysis of the match. performance all ends up from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, and one that certainly sets them on the right path toward a title hunt this season if they can keep up this sort of form. Here is our analysis of the match.
The signing of Jadon Sancho brings a world class winger to Old Trafford, and one with the longevity still left in his career to become an all-time United great. Raphael Varane and Ruben Neves are also reportedly inching for a move to Solskjaer’s team, which would bring two more top quality players into the mix and give United more strength in depth. So ahead of the 2021-22 season, we take a look at how Manchester United could potentially challenge for the Premier League title, with a special focus on Jadon Sancho and how he’ll fit into the team.