With the approaching arrival of Frenkie de Jong on the playing cards, we check out how Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United might line up within the coming season.
Earlier immediately a “broad settlement” was reached relating to the Dutch playmaker, and with United in talks over an audacious double swoop for Ajax duo Antony and Lisando Martinez, the wheels of recruitment seem like turning simply in time for the Pink Satan’s preseason tour.
These wheels have seen a contract already tabled for Christian Eriksen and along with his choice set to be made within the subsequent few days, the potential exists for a swashbuckling model of “Whole soccer” acquainted to the brand new supervisor.
That model of soccer – maybe surprisingly – begins with defending.
The brand new boss’ former facet had been relentless out of possession, urgent excessive up the pitch and searching in packs to take care of management over their opponents.
Such an strategy calls for a excessive defensive position able to smothering opposition counter assaults by the use of doing as a lot defensive work as potential as far-off from your individual objective as is sensible.
Of their Champions League video games in opposition to Dortmund final season, the bravery proven by Ajax in permitting Erling Haaland a number of one-vs-one conditions was solely potential as a result of unbelievable restoration tempo of his central defensive unit.
It’s for that cause that we’ve opted for Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as a defensive pair.
Even when Harry Maguire is to recapture his kind and put his 12 months of woe prior to now, his basic skillset is much extra suited to a deep block, wherein his skill to dominate in aerial challenges involves the fore.
On this new set-up, Lisandro Martinez (as argued in our three-part sequence on the hunt for a centre-back) would permit United to take care of aerial supremacy of their backline while additionally protecting areas to a top-class stage.
Forward of them, Frenkie de Jong sometimes traces up as a single pivot for the Netherlands Worldwide facet below Louis van Gaal and whereas some might want to see a tough-tackling midfielder line up alongside him, the time ten Hag and de Jong spent collectively at Ajax would counsel that the brand new boss doesn’t see such a participant as important.
Taking to the sphere alongside Lasse Schone in Eredivisie membership’s memorable Champions League semi-final run, the playmaker was tasked with defending the defence as usually as he supported the assault, along with his midfield companion a transformed attacker.
It’s due to this that we’ve opted for an adventurous midfield setup, with Frenkie at its base as a easy operator, and two “free #8’s” forward of him.
Such a setup would permit freedom for Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes to maximise the group’s penalty field entries, be it with their chic passing ability or their direct objective risk.
Frontman Cristiano Ronaldo demonstrated his behavior of drifting out to the wings in quest of the ball final season, however with two skilful offensive midfielders behind him it might be no shock to see him extra often enjoying on the shoulder of the final defender, eagerly anticipating a defence-splitting go from both playmaker.
For that to work, there must be sufficient house between opposition defenders and with Antony a possible new recruit, that should be in abundance.
Over the previous couple of seasons United have had a irritating tendency to clog up the left half-space, with gamers bunching up in a single part of the opposition third and subsequently giving the opposing facet a really small and manageable space to defend.
Nonetheless, with Sancho and Antony each able to stretching defences, and with the latter particularly comfy enjoying out on the correct touchline, opposing groups could be pressured to stretch their traces with a purpose to defend their flanks from the harmful vast pair.
Put 4 top-class artistic abilities behind him, and one other possession aficionado behind them and there’s actually advantage within the curtness of Ten Hag’s reply when requested what Ronaldo would carry to the group: