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) canâ€™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?
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