Early Doors

Tactics Bored: Revealed: The midfield Moyes should have picked

Early Doors

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There were two top, top games at the top of the table in the Premier League last night. The Manchester United - Manchester City game was the most tactically intriguing, as Juan Mata is a false nine, and false nines are more important than life itself.

As well as that, Arsenal drew at home with Swansea City, as they continued to become the first self-parodical football team in existence. Both matches showed that when it comes to analysis, there is still plenty to be mined and presented in an oversimplified way for the benefit of the gullible.

There are lessons below for Manchester United’s midfield, a proposed new formation for United against Bayern, key points about succession planning, and a thorough examination of Arsenal’s DNA.

MANCHESTER DERBY - AN ALTERNATIVE MIDFIELD SOLUTION

Tactically, it was a brave choice for David Moyes to go for an unusual tactical line-up, with Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini as a true midfield three, with a separate attacking triumvirate of Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata ahead of them.

It was an interesting selection of players for the midfield by Moyes, given Carrick’s lack of mobility and woeful performances this season, Cleverley’s cowardice in choosing where to run and pass, and Fellaini’s total unsuitability given the players around him. There was however, another midfield three that Moyes and United could have chosen:

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But for inexplicable reasons, United chose to ignore this option.

MANCHESTER DERBY - ROONEY SPIES A TEMPLATE

Rooney has received praise this season, and it is probably because he has scored a fair few goals, despite having a poor first touch, no pace, and no creativity left in his bones. He is a busted flush.

Obviously, Rooney knows that himself and last night it was reported that he was trying to improve by using the technique of positive visualisation.

To that end, Rooney tried to visualise he was an even better striker in the Premier League: Sergio Aguero. It actually worked, if you check the statistics below. Rooney and Aguero shared the same key metrics in their performances last night:

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You can see that Rooney managed to match Aguero’s contribution exactly. The only thing that Aguero did was run about 10 kilometres less than Rooney, so he is still the more efficient player. Something to work on for the United forward.

MANCHESTER UNITED VS BAYERN MUNICH - TACTICAL PREVIEW

As previously addressed, the wrong midfield three started the match last night. However, the problem was exacerbated by playing them in the wrong verticality. In fact, that was also the problem for every other player for Manchester United, except David De Gea, in the game against City. This can be altered for the Bayern Munich matches. The diagram below shows how United can line up in order to sort their defensive frailties.

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This should help them be more resilient in defence, and shouldn’t affect their attacking prowess against the big sides this year.

MANCHESTER CITY AND ROBERTO MANCINI SHOW THE WAY FORWARD

Another problem for Manchester United is that they fouled up their succession plan. As the abuse meted out to Alex Ferguson proved, the fans are slowly starting to turn against Moyes’ appointment, and very possibly the people (i.e. person) responsible for the sorry farce on show.

However, City managed to plan properly, because they also went through the same ordeal in the summer. Luckily for them, club legend and parting manager Roberto Mancini bequeathed City with the competent Manuel Pellegrini. The best tactic here would be for Manchester United to employ Mancini, sack him, and then ask him who he thinks would do a good job.

DECODING ARSENAL'S DNA

‘Arsenal DNA’ is a term often invoked, which refers to a counter-attacking style and intricate approach play. This was given to them by Arsene Wenger, who could possibly be described as the professor who created the DNA itself, by inventing pasta and fish, and banning Mars Bars, in an unbelievable scientific revolution. But what is Arsenal DNA made up of? Following the defeats to Bayern, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, extensive research was carried out.

Of course, this is theoretical analytics rather than any real science, so it is more of an approximation of truth, rather than truth itself. If you examine the pie chart below, you can see that which makes up Arsenal DNA:

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Alexander Netherton - @lxndrnthrtn

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