Tag Tactics

Tag Tactics

Flexibility key as daunting run-in looms

April 10, 2017 Tags: , , Opinion No comments
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José Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United last summer was met with excitement and skepticism in equal measure. Supporters raised questions not just about Mourinho’s style of play and its relevance, but the manager’s tendency to court controversy. Yet, Mourinho has demonstrated another quality – flexibility. It may be key as the season draws to a close.

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Mourinho gains from back three experiment, but Pogba is the man to lose out

March 20, 2017 Tags: , Opinion 8 comments
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Antonio Conte’s decision to adopt the 3-4-3 formation at Chelsea has been influential in the narrative of the Premier League season. While Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have stumbled over different formations and team selections, Conte has persisted with the shape that brought him so much success with Juventus and the Italian national team. Chelsea’s balance of defensive solidity, work ethic in midfield, and mercurial attacking talents have pushed the Londoners to within touching distance of the title.

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You are the weakest link: Mourinho must not be ruled by the squad’s flaws

September 26, 2016 Tags: , , Opinion 7 comments
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As the saying goes you’re only as strong as your weakest link. It certainly applies in football. For all a team’s strengths, opponents will target and exploit any weakness. World’s best attack? There’s little point if the midfield can’t deliver the ball or the defence can’t keep opponents from scoring. This is the difficulty of team building, as José Mourinho is discovering.

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How Mourinho could evolve United’s tactics this season

August 20, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 6 comments
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a man used to the spotlight. The Swede eventually stole the headlines with two goals against Southampton on Friday night, but Paul Pogba was firmly the centre of everyone’s attention during Manchester United’s first game at Old Trafford this Premier League season. The Frenchman’s integration could encourage manager José Mourinho to change his approach this season.

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Pogba’s rise may necessitate Rooney demise

August 16, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , Opinion 6 comments
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“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.”

Rant doesn’t often get biblical, but in a summer of tough decisions for Manchester United, it is true that success sometimes necessitates sacrifice. Trimming the fat can be the price of moving forward, making tough calls for the betterment and progression of a club. United might need to address the elephant in the room – Wayne Rooney is the hand that might need to be severed for the body to survive.

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Van Gaal’s oddest tactical decisions as United manager

April 11, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 27 comments
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It was, perhaps, the absolute nadir of Louis van Gaal’s miserable two-year reign as Manchester United manager. The Reds’ devastating loss at Tottenham Hotspur probably excludes Van Gaal’s team from next season’s Champions League competition, although by then it certainly won’t be the Dutchman in charge. It was, however, the manner of Sunday’s defeat that shocked most. Disjointed to the point of chaos, disfigured beyond horror, this was a United side utterly blown-away by Spurs – the same team Sir Alex Ferguson used to so pithily dismiss. The real horror came not with defeat, though, but Van Gaal’s baffling approach to it.

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Five lessons from Barcelona’s victory over Arsenal

February 27, 2016 Tags: Opinion 7 comments
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It is, of course, unfair to compare Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side to Barcelona – the latter boasting possibly the best attacking trio ever. Yet, Barcelona is a side heavily influenced by Van Gaal – one that still adheres to some of the Dutch manager’s philosophy. Van Gaal’s current side faces Arsenal on Sunday and would do well to learn lessons from Barcelona, which swatted aside the Gunners at the Emirates in midweek. Read More

Boring but better: why the Van Gaal experiment is not an unqualified failure

February 3, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 18 comments
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Although it may be obscured by a veneer of short-term relief, Louis van Gaal’s inevitable departure from Manchester United, in such unfavourable circumstances, will make for unfortunate viewing.  It is regrettable that one of the most decorated managers, charismatic personalities, and cutting-edge tactical minds of his generation will sign off from a glittering career with his tail so firmly between his legs.  Read More

Tactical Rant: three issues behind United’s impotent attack

January 24, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 15 comments
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“Attack, Attack, Attack” – a frustrated imploration of Manchester United fans that has echoed around the stands, pubs and living rooms with monotonous frequency in recent months. Although branding Louis van Gaal’s United as ‘boring’ and ‘unwatchable’ has progressively evolved into a media caricature, it is inarguable that the Reds’ style of football under the Dutchman has become increasingly impotent. Read More