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The Tactics Board- MUFC 4-0 Wigan: Slow start and strong finish

Manchester United played host to Wigan, with memories fresh of the 1-0 loss at the DW Stadium towards the end of last season. 3 points that the Red Devils could have used, but they played poorly and struggled to deal with the 3-5-2 that Roberto Martinez’s side played extremely well. This game started well for the Latics, as they were able to disrupt Sir Alex Ferguson’s side and keep them from getting into an offensive rhythm. Wigan’s pressure, combined with Fergie’s decision to rest key players ahead of the Champion’s League tie on Wednesday led both teams to go in at the half scoreless. Wigan was effective at limiting United’s chances in the first half, but they struggled to create any chances of their own. In the second half, Manchester United was finally able to unlock Wigan’s defense after 5 minutes. Once the Red Devils got their first goal, the flood gates opened and Wigan struggled to deal with the higher pace United played at. By the time the final whistle blew, United had netted 4 and Wigan only managed 1 shot on target in a decisive victory for the Red Devils.

Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic

Old Trafford – September 15th 2012

Game Setup-

Manchester United (4-4-2)
With the Champion’s League group stage starting on Wednesday, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to rest several of his important players such as Robin Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia, Tom Cleverley, and Patrice Evra. At home against a lower level side that he figured would struggle for possession against his side, he opted to play a 4-4-2 that he’s used successfully for many years.

Starting for the second game in a row, Anders Lindegaard started in goal over David De Gea. The defensive line was very similar to the side that lined up against Southampton before the international break, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic starting their second game together for the season. Rafael started at right-back, while new acquisition Alexander Buttner got the start at left back as Patrice Evra missed the start with an injury. The Dutchman, acquired for just under £4 million from Vitesse at the end of the transfer window came in largely unknown by most United supporters.

The center of the midfield consisted of Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes, getting another start together after the international break. In this formation, both players tend to stay fairly deep to control possession and switch the point of attack. Starting out on the right wing was Nani, while Ryan Giggs got a rare start out on the left wing. Up front, with Wayne Rooney still out injured, and Robin Van Persie starting on the bench after picking up a slight knock while playing for the Netherlands, Danny Welbeck and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez got the start together for only the 4th time in league games.

This formation functions as a traditional 4-4-2, with a couple exceptions. Up front, Chicharito and Welbeck are used to press high up the pitch, challenging Wigan’s backline when they have the ball. Also, against the 3 man defense that Wigan plays, one of them also marks any center-backs that come into the midfield when Wigan has possession. Offensively, it is more common to see Welbeck drop deep and move laterally to the wings while Chicharito stays on the shoulder of the last defender, trying the stretch the pitch length-wise. The only other change is that Giggs and Nani play defense further up the pitch than usual, marking the wing-backs as there are no full-backs to worry about.

Starting Formation

Wigan Athletic (3-4-2-1)
Roberto Martinez’s side came out in the same formation and lineup that they used in the 2-2 draw with Stoke City before the international break. Omani international Ali Al Habsi, fresh from the friendly against Scotland at Craven Cottage, started his fifth consecutive fixture for the club. Club captain Gary Caldwell started at the central of the three man backline, with Maynor Figueroa on the left side and Ivan Ramis got the start on the right side in place of an injured Antolin Alcaraz.

James McArthur and James McCarthy got the start in the central midfield, while Emmerson Boyce started as the right wing-back and Chilean international Jean Beausejour started as left wing-back, despite reports that he may miss the game due to a knock picked up during duty with his country. Ahead of the central midfielders, Arouna Kone started as the right attacking midfielder while Shaun Maloney starts on the left side. Maloney was responsible for the sole goal in the 1-0 defeat of Manchester United last April. Alone up front was Franco Di Santo.

Roberto Martinez’s side has been using a 3-4-2-1 so far this season, to good effect. The danger of this formation comes from the wing-backs who have license to get forward and attack more aggressively than traditional fullbacks, as there are three defenders in the back covering their zone. Additionally, this formation ensures that the defense is hard to overrun at the back. Against a 4-4-2, there is a center-back for each striker with an extra ‘sweeper’ who covers any mistakes and patrols the penalty area.

Key Points-

  • Fergie rested key personnel in anticipation of the Champion’s League game against Galatasaray, leaving Van Persie, Kagawa, Cleverley, Valencia, and Evra out of the starting lineup.
  • Another game of two halves, as United struggled in the first half to deal with Wigan’s defense but then dominated the second half
  • Alexander Buttner puts in an impressive attacking performance in his club debut, scoring a goal and picking up an assist.
  • Wigan’s 3-4-2-1 gives United problems early on, as they slow United’s pace and prevent any operating space in the center of the box.
  • The Red Devils exploit Wigan’s weakness out wide, and overrun McCarthy and McArthur in the middle


A toothless Wigan attack

Wigan had success throughout the first half in disrupting Manchester United’s attack, but they struggled to present any real threat with their own attack. The Latics struggled getting the ball forward, and soon resorted to playing long balls into the final third. This strategy worked well for Everton and Fulham against the Red Devils, but Wigan struggled. Whereas Everton and Fulham had Fellaini and Dembele, respectively, Maloney and Di Santo weren’t tall or strong enough to go up and beat United’s defenders in aerial duels. They had some success playing the ball up to Kone on the right side, but even if he won the header, the Lactics struggled to control the ball.

Wigan’s attack is largely dependent on the wing-backs bombing forward aggressively, but Manchester United’s attack was strong enough to pin Beausejour and Boyce back fairly deep. In the 1-0 loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium in April, Beausejour and Boyce combined for 1 assist, and 2 key passes. In this game, they struggled with a pass completion rate of less than 80%.

One of Wigan’s biggest issues going forward was their central midfield, where James McCarthy and James McArthur sat extremely deep. By playing deep, they got space from Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes. This left the duty of shutting them down to Danny Welbeck and Chicharito, who gave them more time on the ball than they would have gotten further up the pitch, but they did little with this time. Instead, they primarily passed the ball back and forth to try and get some control of possession, with their  attacking passes out wide to the wing-backs. They struggled to get the ball forward, and having the central midfielders hold up the ball near the halfway line didn’t help the cause.

With the wing-backs not providing much attacking threat, Shaun Maloney was left to link the midfield with the forwards while also providing much needed creativity. He often received the ball near the left touchline, and would cut inside trying to get between the Red Devil’s lines. Nani and Rafael switched marking assignments on Maloney, depending on how high up the pitch Beausejour was. He struggled to get any space, and had no real success playing passes forward into the final third. On the right side of the attack was Arouna Kone, but he had almost no impact on the game except for winning a few long balls, but possession was quickly lost as he received little support.

The lone striker up front was Franco Di Santo, and United’s central defenders shut him down all game. He managed 2 shots on goal, but struggled to get the ball in a dangerous position. He would frequently have to drift out to the wings to get on the ball, and supplied 2 crosses into the box but there was only 1 Wigan target against at least 4 United players on both crosses.

Defensively, Manchester United was aggressive in pressing Wigan high up the pitch, with both Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez putting in impressive effort harassing Wigan up the pitch. The Red Devils had success pressing high up the pitch when they lost the ball. Frequently, when they turned the ball over, several United players would immediately put pressure on the player and force a turnover. United were able to recover the ball in Wigan’s half of the field 10 times during the game, and plays like this led to the Red Devil’s second and third goal.

The Red Devils struggle early

Manchester United started another game slowly, struggling to deal with an unfamiliar formation and tight Wigan defense. Going forward, Wigan operated as a 3-4-2-1 but when they drop back into defense, they become a 5-2-1-2. The wing-backs would drop to the backline and join the 3 central defenders, which made the defense extremely hard to break down. In front of the back line of 5 sat the 2 central midfielders, James McCarthy and James McArthur. They stayed deep trying to prevent the Red Devils from finding space just outside the penalty area. Manchester United struggled not only with the formation, but Wigan used fouls and throw-ins to slow the pace of the game throughout the first half. This left United’s attack disjointed, and allowed Wigan to get back and set defensively so they were hard to break down.

For most of the first half, United struggled getting any quality chances. One of the best chances came in the 5th minute, when Nani put a nice one-touch lobbed diagonal through ball behind Wigan’s defense for Danny Welbeck by the left edge of the 18-yard box. As Welbeck was running it down, Al Habsi slid out to challenge for the ball. With no apparent contact, Welbeck went down and Michael Oliver pointed to the spot. While the penalty shouldn’t have been given, it ended up doing no harm as Chicharito couldn’t convert the penalty. He shot it low and to the right, and Al Habsi guessed correctly and palmed the ball away.

Wigan Defensive Setup

United overrun the midfield

Manchester United played as a 4-2-2-2 on the attack, with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick sitting very deep in the central midfield. Ahead of them were Nani and Ryan Giggs on the wings, but both of them played inside as ‘Interiores’ to attack the center of Wigan’s defense. Up front, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck led the attack.

Welbeck and Hernandez played as effective striker partners, with Welbeck more willing to drop into the midfield to get on the ball, overloading Wigan’s midfield. He also found considerable success drifting out to the left corner(red area above), where Wigan’s defense was especially vulnerable due to Ivan Ramis playing too narrow and Emmerson Boyce not dropping deep enough in defense. Chicharito preferred to stay on the last defender, trying to use his pace to get in behind Wigan’s defense.

The defense of the wide areas of the pitch, outside the 18 yard box near the corner flag is the primary weakness of the 3 man defense(red area). United took advantage of this repeatedly during the match, with Welbeck and Buttner frequently operating on the left side of the penalty area, and Nani and Rafael operating on the right side.

Behind the strikers were Ryan Giggs on the left wing and Nani on the right wing. Giggs played very narrow on the left side, and functioned in more of a central role to overload Wigan’s midfield. Nani stayed wide out on the right side, often receiving the ball near the touchline but he would then cut inside and try to get between Wigan’s defensive and midfield lines. The Portuguese winger had success with this strategy, finding space inside to take 5 shots and play 3 key passes.

Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes played fairly deep as the central midfielders, putting in very impressive performances. Scholes again was used to control the pace of the game, playing his patented long balls out to the wings to change the point of attack. Michael Carrick was used to play shorter passes, and his passes had a much more attacking thrust than they typically do. Additionally, when the Red Devils took control of possession, they would function as a double pivot and take turns pressing forward to ratchet up the pressure on Wigan’s defense.

By playing deep, marking Scholes and Carrick was left almost entirely to Shaun Maloney(blue glow above), as both Di Santo and Kone made poor effort to drop back to help defend. They preferred to stay up field, which could have helped Wigan spring a quick counter attack but they’re work rate to get into open space and receive passes left Roberto Martinez wanting.

Halftime and the breakthrough

Wigan had success disrupting United’s attack, and slowing the pace of the game. Going into halftime tied at 0-0 had to be considered a win for the Lactics. Unfortunately, the Red Devils started getting the upper hand just before the halftime break, and it was just after the game restarted that they were finally able to unlock some of Wigan’s defensive faults.

Wigan really struggled in the central midfield as the game went along. McCarthy and McArthur played fairly deep, in front of Wigan’s defensive line. With United’s central midfielders playing so deep, the task would appear simple as they were left to deal with just Ryan Giggs, who was playing as almost an attacking midfielder. However, United targeted this area and overloaded it with several players. Nani would often receive the ball near the right touchline and cut inside, but Beausejour was hesitant to follow him in. This led to Wigan’s central midfielders having to deal with marking Giggs, while also dealing with Welbeck dropping into the midfield, Nani cutting inside from the right side and Scholes and Carrick making the occasional forward run. This was too much for the Lactic’s midfielders to deal with, and United was able to start breaking down Wigan in the second half.

Nani’s play bringing the ball inside led to the Red Devil’s first goal, as they took control of the game in the second half. In the 51st minute, Wigan was pinned deep in their penalty area after conceding a corner. It was played short, and Nani proceeded to dribble rings around his marker, Shaun Maloney. He brought the ball in towards the 18 yard box on the byline and played a low pass to Danny Welbeck near the penalty spot. Welbeck had his back to goal and was forced to play it off to Carrick. Instead of taking a rash shot, Carrick passed it back wide to an unmarked Nani. The 25 year old Portuguese winger put in a low hard shot towards the far post that Al-Habsi was able to deflect, but it fell right to Scholes in the 6-yard box. Rarely in 700 games has he had an easier goal.

Buttner makes stellar debut

Making his first start for Manchester United, Alexander Buttner had a debut to remember. Starting as left back for an injured Patrice Evra, he put in a very impressive attacking performance.

With Ryan Giggs playing fairly centrally, it was left to Alexander Buttner to provide the width to United’s attack on the left side, and he was very effective. He used his pace to constantly take on defenders, and drive into the box near the goal line. He took advantage of the same space that Welbeck exploited, left near the corner flag. He proved to be a very dangerous attacking option, but it was a very different type of danger than Patrice Evra provides. The strength of Evra’s attack frequently comes from his skill crossing the ball, but Buttner struggled with his crosses. He attempted 7 crosses early in the game, and didn’t complete any of them. As the game went on, he stopped trying to cross the ball and instead drove into the box to link-up with the strikers and Ryan Giggs.

His defensive positioning is still a bit rough, but that is to be expected from a 23-year old. He showed great pace, and determination going forward on the attack. In the 63rd minute, he provided the assist on Manchester United’s second goal, which was earned through defensive pressure high up the pitch and the space Wigan left open on the left side of their 18-yard box.

The play started deep in Wigan’s area, with the right center-back Ivan Ramis intercepting a centering pass by Ryan Giggs to Chicharito. Ramis was able to intercept the pass, but Welbeck quickly challenged him and got the ball straight back for United inside Wigan’s penalty area. Giggs recovered the ball from Welbeck’s challenge and laid it off for Buttner, who took a shot turned pass that Chicharito was able to deflect into the goal. With Emmerson Boyce keeping him onside, Hernandez scored his first goal of the season in a typical poacher’s fashion.

If an assist wasn’t enough to cap off an impressive first appearance, he was able to claim a goal of his own 3 minutes later. This goal came from a mix of determination by Alexander Buttner and poor defending by Wigan. Carrick played a ball across the pitch to Buttner wide on the left side. Chased by Kone, he was able to retain possession and advance towards the goal. He easily wrong footed Boyce, then nutmegged McCarthy before stepping around Ivan Ramis and then taking a shot from a terrible angle that deflected off of Al Habsi’s leg and into the goal.

Wigan shuts down

After the Manchester United’s second goal, Wigan seemed to completely lose the plot. Their defense became truly lackluster and the effort put forth was a shadow of what was seen in the first 50 minutes of the game. The Red Devils third goal was a perfect example of this, as Wigan were also troubled with the loss of what little attacking spark they had. In the 59th and 69th minute, Roberto Martinez brought both Shaun Maloney and Jean Beausejour off the pitch. Maloney was responsible for what little creative spark that existed to Wigan’s attack, while Beausejour is arguably Wigan’s best play and his withdrawal allowed Rafael to make more aggressive runs down the right side.

Up by three goals, with the game well in hand, Sir Alex Ferguson took Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Nemanja Vidic off and brought on Robin Van Persie, Jonny Evans, and gave a league debut to Nick Powell. Nick Powell arrived early this summer from Crewe Alexander, and came into this game and slotted into the central midfield.

After seeing the excellent debut for Alexander Buttner, what were the chances of Nick Powell marking his arrival in style? United’s final goal came in the 82nd minute. Coming off a quick counter-attack, Chicharito laid the ball off near the top of the 18-yard box for Nick Powell. The 18-year old shifted the ball to his right foot, and hit a screamer past Al Habsi inside the left post.


This was another slow start for Manchester United, as they struggled to deal with the slow pace that Wigan was able to force onto them. As the first half developed, the Red Devils started to find gaps to exploit in Wigan’s defense but it took them until the second half before they were finally able to score. In the course of 15 minutes, Manchester United had a 4-0 lead as Wigan’s defensive structure and formation seemed to disintegrate under the pressure. Defensively, Manchester United were able to keep their first clean sheet of the season through effective pressure high up the pitch, forcing turnovers deep in Wigan’s half. Additionally, Wigan’s attack struggled with poor performances by Jean Beausejour and Emmerson Boyce. A poor result for Wigan, but a solid offensive and defensive game by Manchester United while also resting players for the Champion’s League game, what more could Fergie have wanted?

By RangeRooney



  1. Craig Mc

    18 September 2012 at 16:15

    Wow very in depth mate – good job Range Rooney. I don’t know if anybody saw the photo gallery of our players in traing for the CL game today, but if you did, and are in the know, can you please tell us why Nani was ??? training on his own with Fergie looking over him in one photo. Is the poor sod in SAF’s doghouse, because all the other players were lauging and joking, but Nani looked so miserable. I could be very wrong about this of course, wouldn’t be the first time, and Nani could be carrying a knock or something. Can anybody give any insight on this, or am I just seeing things that are not there guys? 😀

  2. Traverse

    18 September 2012 at 21:11

    Am I right in saying all our new signings have scored already this season? RVP, Kagawa, Buttner and Powell. Can’t complain about needing time to settle!

    • Opti

      18 September 2012 at 21:18

      @Traverse: remember the accolades for Phil JOnes early last season…

      If by December we are still as excited as now, THEN can’t complain about needing time to settle 😀

  3. Opti

    18 September 2012 at 21:19

    Mourinho getting sacked in the morning…
    Mourinho getting sacked in the morning…
    Mourinho getting sacked in the morning…
    😆 😆
    He’s coming to United…
    He’s coming to United…
    He’s coming to United…
    😥 😥 😥

    • Opti

      18 September 2012 at 21:38

      @Opti: Word has just come in that Mourinho gets to stay on for another week! 🙂

      • Redrich

        19 September 2012 at 01:53

        @Opti: So that means Fergie gets another week too!! 😆

  4. Moscow

    18 September 2012 at 21:36


    • Opti

      18 September 2012 at 21:38

      @Moscow: Ronaldo? 😉

      • Moscow

        18 September 2012 at 21:40

        @Opti: 151 goals in 151 games for Real Madrid, not bad either 🙂

  5. Redrich

    19 September 2012 at 01:37

    On Welbeck. I remember back to when he first came into the side and thinking to myself what a complete waste of a uniform. He was confused about every concept of his game, possessed a dreadful touch and for a man his size, he seemed physical unable to win the ball.
    So has any of this changed for the better? To a degree, yes. He seems more comfortable about what is asked of him now and seems to have the confidence to take risks and pounce on the half chances.
    He has shown that he has a nose for scoring goals and there are glimpses of elegance and style creeping into his play that could bode very well for the future.

    Big question is, will he ever become a United Legend or will he just be another journeyman that simply cycles through our squad?
    I think the answer lies in how well he continues to improve and how well he can cut out the bad elements of his game (like always running directly at the heart of the defense, as if he can somehow, magically, make them get out of his way!) and of course, miss less opportunities and score more goals.
    Time will tell but I do think the clock is already ticking down for him.

  6. Redrich

    19 September 2012 at 01:48

    Buttner looks very lively. He seems alert and aware that he is primarily a defender but marauds well on the flank.
    Is he better than Evra? He couldn’t possible be any worse, could he? I say start him tomorrow and at Liverpool to see whats what.

    • Opti

      19 September 2012 at 04:03

      @Redrich: SPeaking of Liverpool… if we do not try to win, I will be FURIOUS!!

      • Redrich

        19 September 2012 at 04:32

        @Opti: What history do we have of not wanting to beat Liverpool??
        Just because the morons are asked not to be blasphemous to each other, doesn’t mean that the players wont want to win and rub their scouse noses in it. 😈

        • Opti

          19 September 2012 at 14:38

          @Redrich: Last year at Anfield, we started with the following XI, which did not look like a genuine attempt at going for 3 points. Recall, this was the United which had played magical football for 5 games already (e.g. 3-0 tottenham, 8-2 Arsenal) that season, but Fergie decided to be too careful at Anfield with an idiotic lineup. We were second best that game:

          ——— De Gea ———–
          ———– Jones ———
          ——- Welbeck ————

          I mean, how does that lineup inspire a feeling of “wanting to beat Liverpool.” Carrick, Rooney, Nani, and Chicharito (who scored late equalizer) were on the bench… idiotic. 👿

      • Daniele

        19 September 2012 at 12:27

        @Opti: We’re due a win at Anfield and all the talk about Hillsborough might backfire against them. Remember when be played City on the 50th anniversary of Munich? We were completely overwhelmed by emotions and lost 2-1. Plus I fancy RVP to score. 😉

  7. Redrich

    19 September 2012 at 02:27

    On Berbatov and why he was benched by Ferguson.
    Berbs is a talented player and a great goal scorer. He knows what it takes to put himself in the position to score, and for him that trumps all other considerations. When given that opportunity with United he excelled, but then when he was asked to play a more supportive role against strong opponents, he did not perform that task well or refused to perform that task, in preference to his main objective of putting himself in the position to score.
    You can hardly blame a striker for wanting to add to his tally, but I believe it became an exclusive passion for him and ultimately it put him in a confrontation with Ferguson, who has always preached the team ethic.
    I couldn’t guess as to whether Berbatov refused to play his part or whether he simply could not find it in his game to do so. Regardless, Ferguson was miffed at him and the rest is ancient history.
    Good luck to him at Fulham.

  8. Owen

    19 September 2012 at 18:55

    De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Kagawa, van Persie.

    Strongest line – up in Rooney’s absence.

  9. jos

    19 September 2012 at 21:06

    whats the use of giving penalties to us?

    And people here mock rooney for scoring them!!!

  10. Owen

    19 September 2012 at 22:03

    Nani has become a major liability.He has been given a chance in the last few weeks and has failed miserably.And why he took penalty when RVP was on the pitch…?

    • Opti

      19 September 2012 at 22:10

      @Owen: copy cat from BBC 🙂

    • Stephen

      20 September 2012 at 09:02

      @Owen: RvP should certainly taken the penalty.
      It was a typical Nani performance, a mix of moments of brilliance and others of total madness, yes he is inconistant.

  11. Opti

    19 September 2012 at 22:09

    Just a quick overview:
    1) De Gea is an outstanding talent.
    2) Evra played well today (for once)… maybe he’s feeling Büttner
    3) Kagawa was fantastic (my MoM today). Intelligent fella!
    4) Rafael did really well… I feel this is HIS season!
    5) Chicharito got into fabulous positions during his 10-15 minutes on pitch. Could have scored 1.75 goals.
    6) Welbeck was on for less than 10 minutes and showed same old elephant feet.
    7) Nani can pull off fantastic passes and dribbles and then s**t himself 5 minutes later.. frustrating.
    8) RvP was quiet and fumbled with the ball
    9) Scholes passing is sublime, but his pace isn’t 🙂

    Can’t wait to have Rooney-RvP-Kagawa, the “triangle of Death”, in our starting 11!!!

    Bring Liverpool and hand her to me 😆

    • Owen

      19 September 2012 at 22:18

      @Opti: What about Carrick ? He was the best player on the pitch along with that former Madrid guy.He must have completed more than 110-120 passes.

    • Moscow

      19 September 2012 at 22:19

      @Opti: Oh yeah, and Galatasaray dominated our midfield. But that’s a given these days I suppose.

    • Stephen

      20 September 2012 at 08:59

      @Opti: How someone can dislike that post is beyond me, spot on.
      I am going to Anfield this weekend, please win!

  12. Jay wire

    19 September 2012 at 23:02

    Not sure how they dominated our midfield. They definitely countered well on the break. We had the game in midfield. The problem is the unbelievable wastefulness of our players upfront. Nani could have had at least 3 assists, meaning, Rvp and Chicharito should have scored a goal and a brace respectively. Oh, and Nani himself missed a penalty. And 2 clear chances. He was our best player upfront with Kagawa, but they both messed up chances. Somehow Valencia discovered that he’s also allowed to dribble and that really stretched Galatasaray.

    What I was pleased with more than anything is the way Nani and Kagawa link up everytime they play together. Dribble, pass, dribble, pass. I said it during preseason. The most important thing for us in attack, is for us to get Kagawa,Rvp and Nani flowing together. I haven’t changed that opinion. So far it’s Kagawa and Nani then Kagawa and Rvp. Somehow they all need to find a way to synchronise their act.

    Rafael was brilliant both defensively and mostly in attack. He really gives us an attacking option down the right and seems to be more comfortable playing with Valencia than with Nani. Evra was also great, particularly going forward and seems to have forged a good understanding with Nani on the left. I think the team therefore picks itself. We need to play that very team on Sunday. Carrick was brilliant too. My Man of the Match. Vidic is a little suspect for me this season. De Gea should not be benched. Let’s avoid the Howard-Caroll syndrome here of interchanging goalkeepers. He’s clearly the right talent for the job.

    Finally, credit to the technical team for trying to be more varied in attack. Or perhaps it becomes natural, when players like Kagawa demand it and Rvp refuses to play wide. Still, they brought these players, so credit still to the technical team.

    • Redrich

      20 September 2012 at 03:08

      @Jay wire: There was a massive gap in the MF every time we had a sustained attack. So, you’re right, they didn’t dominate MF they just caught us on the rebound because of the high flying play of Carrick, Scholes and Kagawa.
      Our attack was free flowing at the beginning when we flooded their lanes with 5, and sometimes 6 players – making thrusts at their back line. It worked well until we were caught repetitively too high up the field for the comfort of our dodgy back 4. We then we withdrew to a much more defensive stance that categorized the remainder of the game.

      Other factors were dominant too. Like the failings of both sides of our wing play to put in decent crosses to our 24m man. Nani in particular is proving with each game that he just cannot improve over his early successes at this club, and moreover, with the pressure of trying to do so, he is simply falling apart at the seams. Sad to see, but I fear I’m right here.
      Clearly this is a “back-to-the-drawing board” situation for this team. There needs to be a “chemistry moment” when we see a starting eleven that are in form and appear to gel with one-another also.
      I think there is enough talent in this squad to do so, lets hope we don’t leave it to the 68th minute. 😉

  13. jos

    20 September 2012 at 05:29

    what a strange game it was. more penalty shouts in it than i have ever seen – for both sides, some even legitimate. another story of missed chances for united and misfiring frontline.
    rvp barely had a shot on goal in his 80 mins while chicha had 3 decent ones in only 10 mins!
    nani’s penalty was comical. why is he so blatantly trying to become ronaldo – that he is not???? Keep it simple silly.
    what was not comical was his theatrics. almost cost us a goal at the wrong time. and people here say he is in a doghouse (what is a doghouse?)
    lovely interplays by united though. I’m sure things will start falling in place soon. its coming together. even the defense has stopped leaking goals. plenty of positives… all set for ainfield now

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