Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tactical Blunder

Sir Alex Ferguson got it tactically wrong. It’s as simple as that. In my opinion, Ferguson pulled off a ‘Benitez’ yesterday by picking a team that was brimming with attacking talent and playing them in a system that somehow did not do justice to their abilities. When a team plays with conventionally central players such as Rooney and Anderson on the wings, it is of immense importance that the full-backs bomb down the wings to provide width to the team. Yesterday’s performance against Liverpool was very unlike Manchester United in both the manner of performance and in the manner in which the team was set-up. Anderson and Rooney were constantly tucking into the middle, leaving gaping holes on their respective touch lines which remained unfilled for almost the entirety of the match by Evra and Brown. The very presence of Brown as a full back itself in my view warrants the presence of a conventional right winger in the side, especially if a regulation 4-4-2 is employed. Unquestionably the team as a whole were dismal to say the very least, but I believe Ferguson needs to take a fair share of the blame for getting it surprisingly wrong on the day. 

It’s not often that Sir Alex gets outsmarted in a big BPL game, but that in my opinion is exactly what happened against Liverpool at Anfield. If Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov are to be picked in the same team, it’s of vital importance that a system whereby one of Rooney and Tevez is deployed in a role behind the other two is utilized. Using Rooney on the right side by itself isn’t disastrous, but when Wes Brown is playing at right full back, it’s nothing short of catastrophic. A 4-4-2 works best when you are either playing with traditional wide players or when the four in midfield are engaged as a diamond. On hearing the team line-up I felt Ferguson was installing a midfield diamond with Rooney at its apex, but sadly for Man United it was not to be. No doubt, the team at times defended worse than school boys do, but had Ferguson adopted an approach whereby the composition of the team could have better benefited, Man United might not have come away with nothing from the trip.

Rafael Benitez on the other hand, who was lambasted by critics before the game, got it right for the first time in a big game in the BPL. The pressuring high up the pitch, worked like magic for Liverpool. Dirk Kujt who has the worst first touch in the world, was at his unsurprising industrious best playing in his now familiar role of a defensive forward. Albert Riera the new signing from Espanyol enjoyed a superb debut and caused Brown more than a problem or two with his excellent burst of pace and clever movement. The system that Man United adopted allowed Carragher and Skrtel to both concentrate on Berbatov, with Tevez being hounded by his compatriot, Mascherano for almost the entire match barring the third minute when he failed to track Tevez’s run leading to the opening goal of the game. The defensive efforts of Mascherano permitted the stylish Xabi Alonso to pick up the pieces for Liverpool and run the game in whatsoever manner he deemed necessary, from the middle of midfield.  Overall, Bentiez got one better on Ferguson on the day and United need to sort their tactics out soon. With Ronaldo set to return, probably even for the midweek Champions League encounter, Ferguson I am sure will bring all his experience into moulding the wealth of attacking options that he has at his disposal and you can expect Manchester United to be back with a bang before too long. 


Rahul Saha said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. And we won yesterday too.

A Couch-side View said...

As i said, we will be back!