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What is your formation?


This season, Manchester United has tried to play quite a few formations. No prizes for guessing the man masterminding these formations – Carlos Queiroz. Sometimes the change in formation was awful (negative 4-5-1 in Europe), but sometimes they left us with some sweet memories (4-2-3-1 in Europe).

Lets have a look at these formations, and which would suit the team more depending on the signings Manchester United make this summer.

1) 4-4-2: The traditional formation, which was behind the success of United for years. Manchester United had Giggsy and Beckham in those days using the width to the maximum extent. Now with Giggsy becoming old and Ronaldo who is more a dribbler than a Beckham-isque passer, we have found these wide men cutting in more often than sending in those crosses. This formation has done wonders for Manchester United and will continue to do so.

If Manchester United signs a winger like Nani/Quaresma/Anderson to replace Giggs, this formation would still be a big hit. But Scholes, Carrick and Owen Hargreaves(if he comes) can’t be on the pitch at the same time.

2) 4-5-1: This is a very negative approach and was used by Manchester United at the start of the season in the European games. It was very frustrating to see Rooney who was out of form(due to suspension or whatever) stuck wide left and unable to neither score nor setup someone. This would never suit Manchester United, as Rooney is neither very good stuck wide left or playing alone up front (England).

Who ever players United signs, this formation will not suit United because they are and will be pathetic at playing negative game.

3) 4-3-3: This approach is good but it is not so good on the eye to watch as the 4-4-2 as the width will not be used to that extent.

If Manchester United does not sign a winger, signs Hargreaves and a forward in the mould of Etoo/Berbatov/Tevez or Rossi comes back, United might be tempted to play this formation with Scholes, Carrick and Hargreaves in the center of the park and Rooney, Ronaldo and the striker playing upfront.

4) 4-2-3-1: I have become a big fan of this formation. United used this formation to devastating effect against Roma. The most attractive thing about this formation is the 3 interchanging all the time giving a lot of fluidity to the attack. They also went wide exploiting the width. Carrick and Fletcher have done well in this system, and if you replace Fletcher with Scholes, this is not so balanced, as Scholes tends to get forward a little.

If Manchester United does not sign a winger, signs Hargreaves and gets back Rossi, we might see United playing this formation with Rooney, Ronaldo, Scholes/Giggs (lets play these old guns in a mutually exclusive manner) forming the interchanging 3 and Carrick and Hargreaves comfortably sitting before the defence.

5) 4-1-2-2-1: Manchester United havent yet tried this formation, but if Hargreaves and a winger comes in they might be, with Hargreaves the one protecting the defense, Carrick and Scholes in the midfield, the winger and Ronaldo as the two wide men and Rooney as the lone striker (Note that in this formation, Scholes and Carrick would be sharing the burden along with Rooney and it wont be a long ball game like 4-5-1)

So whats your formation?



  1. Keith Moses Kaira II

    18 May 2007 at 17:32

    4-2-3-1 is the best we’ve used so far. I just wish we could use 3-3-3-1. The ultimate formation for me…

  2. perif

    18 May 2007 at 18:53

    Yup, 4-2-3-1 is the best. Ronaldo isn’t just a wide player anymore.
    Don’t think Scholes will play an advanced role though. Giggsy and Rossi will have to fight it out for the one spot. Scholes/Carrick/Hargreaves/Fletcher – any 2 of the 4 in midfield.

    The best part about getting Hargreaves is that his signing can actually lengthen the careers of Scholes and Giggs 🙂

  3. sharathciddu

    18 May 2007 at 19:11

    I don’t understand how a 3-3-3-1 formation suits united? Can you also say why its the ultimate formation for you?

  4. Red Ranter

    19 May 2007 at 06:03

    3-3-3-1 works best in Football Manager 🙂
    Other wise, teams with width can stretch your defence and screw you real bad.
    4-2-3-1 is the formation for me. Very fluid and easy on the eye, and terribly tough to man-mark at full flow.

  5. Ahmed Bilal

    19 May 2007 at 10:39

    The 4-2-3-1 is in fashion, certainly, but it’s a step away from 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 – both effective formations.

    The key is fluidity and adaptibility – and I think United have that flexibility – we can even use the 4-4-2 and change formations in-game according to circumstances.

    Damn, I miss FM 07.

  6. karl

    22 May 2007 at 17:42

    4-2-3-1 looked best so far. Only problem is, we need a real clynical finisher as the 1. Neither Saha, nor Rooney unfortunately fits this bill.
    If SAF is to fight for CL prize next year, then that I guess is the need to fill. We are known for our attacking 4-4-2, which is actually truns out to be a 2-4-4 (the way we employ our ‘wingbacks’). Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, SAF did / does not want to employ this tactic in Europe. Therefore, don’t be surprised to see a clynical no.10 arriving to accomodate for our traditional “attack-in-numbers” strategy.

  7. Red4ever

    25 May 2007 at 03:35

    4-2-3-1 is the best.

    Evra and Pique in LB and RB position (Pique can play in that slot) comming forward.

    Carrick and Hargreaves as holding midfielder (Hargreaves can mark the most creative player in the opposition and Carrick can work as link between defence and mid…….. remember he has a great vission and is a great passer of the ball .

    Bale (we need to get him or a good free kick taker) and Ronaldo in the wings. Rooney in center (creative attacking midfielder and gets forward too).

    A powerful striker with great finish in the front (sad to say but someone like Drogba)

    1. EDV (Foster has greater organization ability and is extremely good to spot eye pieces. If we play this formation then the major threat would be set piece as it will be very hard for opposition to break the defence in open play)

    2. Scholes (He needs to be given some rest but can change regularly with Rooney. I would prefer Rooney as he is a power player with good tackling abilty. He may not have great vision as Scholes or “one touch” but still one of the best.)

    3. Giggs (No disrespec but I personally would prefer Bale instead of Giggs cuz I find Bale a better free kick taker than Giggsy. He also has a good pace and is getting faster (quote The Mirror Scout Report). He is taller than Giggs at 6ft 1 inch and will also provide a good arial threat.

  8. Keith Moses Kaira II

    27 May 2007 at 23:40

    @ sharathciddu:

    This is why I feel it is the ultimate formation for United:
    1) 2 man marking center back to mark the opposing strikers. and a free central sweeper to organise the defence and stop late runs and offside trap breakers (Neville/Brown, Ferdinand , Vidic) and to help squeeze the midfield with his organisational and game reading brilliance.

    3) Three defensive midfielders .The two wide ones acting like fullbacks tracking wingers, providing us with fullback width going forward while helping, the central DM, a deep lying play maker, to harrass the attacking midfiedlers of the opposing team and to squeeze the midfield. (Hargreaves/Neviile, Carrick/Hagreaves, Evra)

    3) 3 out and out attacking midfielders, dong nothing but attacking the oppostion all day long in support of the main striker (Rooney, Scholes/Giggs, Ronaldo)

    4)A mobile lead the line target man who plays with skill and pace (Saha/new forward)

    the above system leaves you with 6 defenders ( 2 lines of defence) when defending, 6 midfielders 9 2 lines of mifielders) when on the attack and 4 out and out attacking players supported from deep by fullbacks, who’s runs would be conducted by the deep lying play maker, and the forward playmaker conducting the two wide attackers and the main target man.

    If executed properly it is relentless in the attack and as solid as a 5-3-2 while defending. I know no team that could live with us if we had 4 players with the license to do nothing but attack them, with the quality of Rooney and Ronaldo. Only falling as far back. as the center line to keep numbers behind the ball then pouring forward again Just attacking all the time. While we had 6 guys behind them capable of holding the fort defensively against any attacks
    Even with our current equipment. prior to our getting Hargreaves, we would have beaten Milan with such a system. Because Vidic, Heinze and Brown would have had no problem taking care of Inzaghi on his own. Carrick, helped by O’shea and Fletcher would have been more able to keep a better eye on Seedorf and Kaka as three defensive midfield players while also helping to squeeze the midfield, reducing Milan’s playing space, while harassing Gattusso. Ronaldo, Scholes, Giggs and Rooney would have played further up the pitch as a result. Helping to keep Milans’ fullbacks from advancing and helping to keep Rooney from being so isolated as the main target man. .

  9. boro

    3 June 2007 at 18:03

    4-3-1-2 is the best because u hav an equil amount of attack and defense and the 1 is an attacking mid so someone with bood passing or good shooting can go there

  10. boro

    3 June 2007 at 18:08

    so man u next season can use thr normal defense n use hargreves defensive mid, scholes or anderson attackive, ronaldo on the right n nani or giggs on da left and up front manu can use rooney and a new striker they sign

  11. BootifullGame

    3 June 2007 at 19:56

    4-4-2 has always been United’s best formation. Even this season there have been times in games where we have been playing 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 and we’ve looked awfull, and having to change to a 4-4-2 before getting a grip on the game. Admittedly the 4-2-3-1 worked quite well at times, especially Roma. It worries me sometimes when we dont play 4-4-2, we don’t look as solid somehow. Hopefully Hargreaves’ inclusion will change all that. Looking at the signings we’ve made 4-2-3-1 is looking more and more likely. It blows you away when it works, but eually, when it doesn’t work, it looks and works badly.
    (Oh, and Boro, the team you suggest has 12 players, one too many)
    You might be looking at Hargreaves and Carrick in front of the back four, the three ahead of them would most likely be Giggs(Nani), Scholes(Anderson),Ronaldo(Ole?), with El Blanco Pele up top. Rotated with Rossi, Smith, Etc. Plus whoever else we sign.
    Thats what i think anyway, United’s future could end up being a tribute to the Brazil 70’/?80’s national team. Namely, the best football the world has ever seen.
    🙂 You never know

  12. Chris Traverse

    13 June 2007 at 01:07

    4-2-3-1 by a mile. VDS in goal. Neville-Ferdinand-Vidic-Evra. Carrick-Hargreaves. Ronaldo-Scholes-Giggs. Rooney.

    Eventually, it’ll be Ronaldo-Anderson-Nani. And that looks sexy.

  13. Gilbert

    14 June 2007 at 17:41

    Manchester United’s BEST Future Formation would be…


    Pique – Ferdinand – Vidic – Evra

    Carrick – Hargreaves

    Ronaldo – Anderson – Nani


    *A new striker might be included in the squad.

  14. Pingback: Man Utd: 07/08 Formations and First XI | Red Rants

  15. when scholes and giggs retire

    22 June 2007 at 07:27

    from wat i see, anderson will be the replacement for scholes, nani the replacement for giggs. and u will see tis formation using the 4-2-3-1 style :
    GK – Foster

    RB – G.Neville
    CB – Rio Ferdinand
    CB – Nemanja Vidic
    LB – Patrice Evra

    CM(right) – Michael Carrick
    CM(left) – Owen Hargreaves

    SS/OM – Anderson

    LW – Luis Nani
    RW – Cristiano Ronaldo

    CF – Wayne Rooney

    but if SAF managed to buy a target man, things will become like tis

    GK – Foster

    RB – G.Neville
    CB – Rio Ferdinand
    CB – Nemanja Vidic
    LB – Patrice Evra

    CM(right) – Michael Carrick
    CM(left) – Owen Hargreaves/Anderson

    SS/OM – Wayne Rooney

    LW – Luis Nani
    RW – Cristiano Ronaldo

    CF – Torres/Huntelaar/Anelka/Gudjohnsen/Eto’o/Saviola/Tevez

  16. dan brown

    24 June 2007 at 02:21

    rooney This is my 3,2,4,1

    nani giggs anderson ronaldo formation.The front

    hargreaves scholes 5 is awsome!

    ferdinand vidic neville

    van der sar

  17. Luca T

    9 August 2007 at 13:22

    i really like this blog but ye should really keep it up to date because ye havent mentioned tevez in any of your formations or discluded rossi from your formations also i disagree with most of your formations….in my opinon it will be 4-4-2 or an attacking 4-5-1..
    GK-Van der sar
    RB-Gary neville
    LB-Patrice evra
    CB-Nimanja vidic
    CB-Rio ferdinand

  18. Luca T

    9 August 2007 at 13:24

    (4-5-1)which i dont think will be used often!
    GK-Van der sar
    RB-Gary neville
    LB-Patrice evra
    CB-Nimanja vidic
    CB-Rio ferdinand

  19. Hong Kar Weng

    24 October 2007 at 16:04

    I will choose 4-4-2 formation:

    CF-Rooney(10) CF-Tevez(32)

    LM-Giggs(11) CM-Scholes(18) CM-Carrick(16) RM-Ronaldo(7)

    LB-Evra(3) CB-Vidic(15) CB-Ferdinand(5) RB-Neville(2)

    Key Players:Ronaldo,Rooney

  20. korab

    15 February 2008 at 09:16

    the best formation for the man utd are :GK- Van Der Sar RB-G.Neville CB-R.Ferdinand
    CB-N.Vidiq LB-Evra CM M.Carrick CM-O.Hargrevas LW-Schooles LW-C.Ronaldo
    CF-Rooney Cf-Tevez
    It is my best formation

  21. manutd 4 ever

    16 March 2008 at 16:23

    listen to it all , we got more than formations,and that wich makes as nervous we got 4 keepers and 9 defenders and 9 midfielders also and 4 attackers,4-4-2 doesnt get an excellent attack but 4-2-3-1 get Sir Alex Ferguson with it we will go a head to good points and good wins, with 4-2-3-1 u get




    wich is this formation is incredible u can pull up there attackers and midfielders and attack with in face of u(4) anderson got 2 on his left and right and 1 is upfront u can pull up the two defenders and get it to the side to ronaldo and hell make it to the SCORE ,BRILLIANT, and i think its the best formation 4-2-3-1, and thanks for listening

  22. Raja

    27 July 2008 at 14:29

    This is the best Manchester United Formation, 4,4,2.

    Van Der Sar

    G.Neville Ferdinand Vidic Evra

    Ronaldo Anderson Scholes Nani

    Manucho Tevez

    Sub: Rooney, Carrick, Hargreaves, Giggs, Brown :mrgreen:

  23. Manchesterutd fan 4ever

    10 September 2008 at 01:50

    this is the manchester united best formation


    ——————–Van der sar————–

    Ferdinand Vidic

    Brown/Hargreaves Evra/Oshea







    this is the ultimate form for me

  24. Bobbby

    22 December 2008 at 16:19

    I think the 4-3-3 would work the best…
    GK: Van Der Sar
    RB-Gary neville
    LB-Patrice evra
    CB-Nimanja vidic
    CB-Rio ferdinand
    LM-Ryan Giggs

  25. abdul

    10 December 2011 at 22:05

    I think the 4-1-2-1-2 would work the best…
    GK:De Gea
    RB-Rafael Da Silva
    LB-Patrice evra
    CB-Nimanja vidic
    CB-Phil Jones

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