martedì 11 febbraio 2014

Utd tactics not a surprise

Things get worse for Manchester United as the season goes far. United recorded 42 points out from 25 Premier League matches this season, one point fewer than what David Moyes got coaching Everton at this same stage last season and 21 less than they had last term after 25 games. The points United have is the lowest total they reached at this stage in a Premier League season and their worst since 1989-90, when they ended the season 13th. Not so many years ago, the fans at the Old Trafford was booing the team calling for a return to their loved and classic "4-4-2" when the then assistant manager, Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, altered team's formation introducing a different shape. The switch was part of Ferguson's plan to ‘continentalize’ the team. Things have changed.  A recent criticism of Moyes' tactics is that United are relying too much on crosses. If the hiring of Juan Mata was a sign that United wanted to create more chances in central zones, it didn’t happen against Fulham as the Spaniard parked on the right. Barcelona enjoyed football success with short passing recent seasons and it ended overshadowing traditional wing play. But Moyes has gone back to basic and lined up United in a conventional 4-4-2 formation having Mata wide right while Ashley Young was on the opposite flank and with Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick was paired as central midfielders. Against Fulham, 81 crosses were put in the box over the game, 46 just in the first half alone, with Ashley Young and Rafael da Silva that delivered the major part of the passes into the box and with Nemanja Vidic as the only Man Utd player not to put in a cross. When Adnan Januzaj replaced Darren Fletcher and Moyes pushed Wayne Rooney into the midfield and when Javier Hernandez and Antonio Valencia came on for Rafael and Young, the tactical think didn’t change. Moyes denied that United's plan was merely to utilise the cross and suggested his approach wasn’t one-dimensional. "It was never one way," he said. "If you're just going to look at the stats and think about the crosses you need to think about the number of passes and I don't think we just went out and crossed the ball. Some people might say that one of the things that Manchester United do is play with width and cross the ball, that's in the genes here. But Fulham’s manager Rene Meulensteen disagreed: "When I saw Manchester United today I thought the game plan was quite straightforward – get it wide, get it in, whether it was from the full-back pushing on or the supporting wide man and midfielder." How hard is to defend against this kind of game plan? "If you're well-organised and the goalkeeper is in good positions to come and collect the ball at times, yeah, it can be easy," said Meulensteen. “I've never headed that many balls since [playing in] the Conference,” told Fulham 6-6 centre-back Dan Burn. Squawka stats clearly exposed Moyes’s tactics: United had 65% of possession and produced the above mentioned 81 crosses but had just nine shots on target out from a total of 31. They also were unable to score one goal from ten corners. By the way, this is not a news. It was Moyes's approach since he became United’s manager last summer and this is his background. Moyes’s tactical approach is reactive as the Scot is a manager who wants to nullify the opponent’s strengths, and expose their weaknesses. Moyes were never focused upon ball control. One of the key parts of Moyes's strategy at Everton was creating numerical edge in wide areas in the way to cross. Everton’s passing statistics from last season indicated that the Blues crossed the ball 989 times last campaign with an average of 26.06 crosses per game. Under Moyes, United’s passing statistics for 2013-14 are suggesting that the team is more direct and more careless in ball control. This tactics relying on long passes coming into the attacking third of the field were the same Moyes utilized at Everton. The high ball into the area from out wide was a key part of his strategy.

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