With or Without Roo





The previous post made right after Ferguson announced his retirement did not really get any attention or bring forth any discussion at all. I guess people didn’t like the quality, what was written or were too fed up with the amount of blogs and newspapers sharing their opinion, to care about a rreddevils-post. Fair enough.  Following is an attempt on a better one.


It has been a couple of very hectic days for us Man United fans. Ferguson is retiring, Gill is leaving and Scholesy has kicked his final ball at Old Trafford. A lot of rumors about players coming in and players leaving followed the hiring of David Moyes, and the rumor with the most momentum has been that Wayne Rooney wants out. This was confirmed by Sir Alex Ferguson a couple days ago, and the latest news tell us that Giggs, Moyes and Ferguson met with Rooney in a hotel to discuss his future. Seeing as Giggs was brought in by the managers, it seems pretty obvious that Ferguson and Moyes have set out on a mission to convince Wayne to stay. This post is going to look at the concequences of Rooney staying  at United or leaving for another club. Who is getting the short end of the stick here?


The signal effect

Rooney wants out? How dare he! Many different opinions have been voiced out when it comes to Rooney leaving or staying. The fact that he comes in with a transfer request for the second time in three years has made me and most of the other United fans I’ve talked with, furious. He can stay or he can go, but either way, the transfer request can have a bigger impact on the future of the club than one first might think.

First of all, if he changes his mind (is convinced by Giggs, Ferguson and Moyes), we come off as weak. Is Manchester United a club where a player can dick around like that, TWICE, and still be wanted? Shouldn’t a player like that be thrown out? After thinking about it for a while, I realised that even if we might come off weak, it also shows strength. Being able to keep a player that we wanted to keep, shows some strength. Rooney also probably has the highest maximum level of performance of any player in the squad. A Rooney in top form is a top 5 player in the world. Other players would love to partner up with that, and having a player like Rooney in the club could be the deciding factor if another star player is debating whether to join United or say Arsenal.

Secondly, the way we are treating Rooney is very unlike Manchester Uniteds’ tradition. Having a look at previous players going against the way of the club, be that by whining about not getting enough play time, wanting higher wages, losing focus on the game or screwing with the team spirit, Ferguson has always offloaded them quickly. Jaap Stam, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Carlos Tevez, David Beckham. Players that in some way betrayed what the club stood for,  justified or not, have always been thrown out as fast as possible. Yet, we are, for the second time in two years, doing everything we can to keep Rooney.

Third, what does this show the other players at the club? You can whine your way to a better contract, the club still wants you. A couple of seasons later, you can be unhappy because you didn’t get to play full games (because you played sub-par), and then whine again. What happens? We still want you. That said, I realise it isn’t as black and white as I am writing it, but I figured this is how it could come off to some players. I also realise Rooney is a very special player, with the potential of leading Man United to five or ten new titles, and keeping him would have great benefits.


images (11)



So Rooney leaves, what then?

The most important point for me is selling him to a club outside of the Premier League. A Rooney at Chelsea or City wouldn’t just improve the team he joins by a lot. It also fucks with the team morale, the morale of the fans and ultimately can lead to a very weakened Man United.

The positives would be that Kagawa would finally get to play in his best role, behind Van Persie, and next to Rooneys replacement signing. With Rooney in the club, and on the pitch, Kagawa is very often pushed out to the left attacking midfield position. He is good at it, but he is A LOT better when he gets to play centrally. When Shinji is given the ball, faced forward and with team members moving, he is in my opinion just as good at orchestrating attacks as Cazorla, Mata and David Silva. He just has not been given the chance too many times. With Rooney in the club, Kagawa tends to get the short end of the stick when we put our starting XI, and Wayne is given the central position. And don’t get me wrong, Wayne is a fantastic CAM/SS, but it has kind of been crippling Shinji in many ways. They tend to run into eachothers’ space, and what happens is that we lose a valuable passing option by both of them having the tendency to drift into the middle of the pitch.

A replacement would also have to be made. Not necessarily because we don’t have players to fill the gaps ability-wise, but because with a world star leaving, you need a boost. You need a signing that shows that United means business. We mean to win it again in 2013/2014. If Rooney leaves, I see Kagawa claming the role Rooney has had this season, with a top class LAM/CAM coming in to take the wide left position. That would be the ideal way to utilize both Kagawa, Van Persie and the new guy.





Rooney is convinced to stay, how do we solve this?

First off, an apology way bigger than last time. This is going to take a lot of time to heal. He will never be our captain or vice-captain now. He is going to have to find a way to make it up to his team mates and the fans, and find his way into the top form Wayne Rooney that we all know is world class.
In the formation department, Moyes will have to figure out if he wants Rooney as a midfielder, as a support striker, as a part of a three man attack behind Van Persie. Best case scenario for me, would be to have a fully motivated Wayne Rooney being part of a United attacking force next season, that has worked out a way for Kagawa and Rooney to play together. Having watched Steven Pienaar talk about how Moyes works on specific movement details in the attacking part of the game, I am pretty sure that the offensive movement patterns and team play between Rooney and Kagawa is only going to get better, and eventually flourish into something fantastic. We have seen glimpses this season, and there is no reason to think that it is not going to get even better.

If Rooney stays, the only position we have to strengthen, is the midfield position. Someone to play next to Carrick, or replace him long term. Perhaps Moyes brings Fellaini with him, or looks to Scotland where he has bought many players from during his time as Everton manager. A lot of fans want Victor Wanyama, and he could be the machine we need to control the midfield. With such an attacking line-up as we usually send out on the pitch, and seeing how Carrick has become more directly involved with the offensive play, a midfielder that can box-to-box it up, or be our anchor would be great. If Rooney stays, we can focus on that. Because our offensive 5-6 players are more than good enough with Rooney, Kagawa, RvP, Welbeck, Nani, Young, Cleverley, Valencia and the young players like Januzaj and Powell coming through.




With or Without Roo

Whether Rooney stays or leaves, he most definately deserves appreciation for his time here. Since he joined us in 2004, he has been our talisman. Our star player. Our warrior, our winner.  He started out as an immature kid who just loved the game. He was sent off for an ironic applause in the Champions League, he got booked constantly by referees for his big mouth. He has matured with us. He has won countless awards, including PFA player of the year, PFA young player of the year, PFA fans player of the year. He has been on team of the season, he has won 5 league titles, 2 league cups, 3 community shields and of course the Champions League in 2007/2008.

Most importantly, he was always an instrumental part of us the team winning the titles. He worked his ass off for them, and we should be thankful for that. No matter how betrayed we feel, we should thank him for what he did for us.







Can we do it like Dortmund?

In the wake of yesterday and tuesdays champions league semi finals, where Bayern crushed Barcelona and Dortmund made Real Madrid look average, there has been a lot of talk about the Bundesligas brilliance and how good the two german teams in the semi finals are. Reddit user kyith made an interesting post from zonalmarking.net that shows the tactical approach that Borussia Dortmund had in yesterdays game. This post is going to focus on the Dortmund way, even though Bayern and Dortmund did pretty much the same thing in beating their spanish opponents.


With reference to the photo above, you can see that Dortmund players have very defined roles, as we saw in the game aswell. Bender is exclusively picked to handle the likes of Özil and Modric, while Gundrogan is supposed to help out defensively, but also work as the connection between the deep midfield and the attacking trio in Kuba, Götze and Reus. We have played this formation several times this season with varying results. Most promising was the game with Jones in the place of Sven Bender, Kagawa centrally like Götze, Welbeck out left in Reus’ position and RvP up front. Phil Jones has to start playing regularly as a CB to fulfill his fantastic potential, and and Fletcher is very unlikely to return to his old top class self.

The roles



The BvB sidebacks are very similar to our own. Both Evra and Piszczek are experienced, top class attacking sidebacks. Piszczek is probably better at the defensive part than Evra, while Evra is better at creating space with his offensive runs. Rafael has cemented into our RB slot over the past two season, and ha been the best right back in the premier league this season. Rafael vs Real Madrid was a testament to his ability to defend well when given the opportunity. We barely saw Di Maria and Ronaldo pass him over two games, and he sure as hell can do as well or better than Schmeltzer did for Dortmund. We are able to play with the same dynamic sidebacks that Dortmund did.


The challenging area – midfield

Taking a look at the Dortmund 2-man midfield, that for me was the most important part in their victory against Real Madrid, you see a very traditional CDM in Sven Bender and a very, very versatile CM in Gundogan. Both players are engines in a hard working team that wins the ball countless times during a game and are able to set up dangerous attacking plays by linking up with the three attacking players in Reus, Götze and Blaszczykowski.

Looking at Bender (or Kehl) and Gundogan, it becomes very clear that the Sven Bender does not exist in todays Man United squad. Did you watch the Dortmund – Real Madrid game? Did you see Mesut Özil? Me neighter. I saw Sven Bender. Darren Fletcher was brilliant in this role, and if you look back since Fletcher got ill, we have struggled a lot with breaking up attacks from midfield. Michael Carrick has become the guy who carries our midfield in about every single game. Cleverley has had a very good season up until just a few weeks ago where he seemed to have lost his good form. We have the Gundogan in Cleverley. Maybe not as good yet, but I have great faith in Tom to keep progressing like he has done. He is very good at creating plays going forward, and has improved by a lot defensively by running a lot and winning a lot of close battles. Carrick reminds me more of the Xabi Alonso (and has been a better version this season, if you want to make the direct comparison), and would be absolutely fantastic in a 3-man midfield, with the freedom to go forward without the heavy defensive responsibilities. As I’ve been nagging on about for months now, we need the defensive piece in our midfield team puzzle.


The attacking trio in midfield – we got it

Blaszczykowski is a hard working right midfielder, and does both the defensive part and the offensive part very well. Does this remind you of last years Valencia? The more I think about it the more similar they appear to be. In terms of formation, Dortmund usually plays with “Kuba” out right, and as a more traditional winger in the modern game formation, it still works. This should be an indicator that Tony V can do the same for us. He has been picking his game up in the past three or four games, and will hopefully be back to his good, normal self from next season.

Götze played behind Lewandowski in the role Kagawa had for Dortmund last season, and was brilliant at creating space, doing brilliant build up passes and creating goalscoring opportunities for Lewandowski. Kagawa fits this position in United just as good as he did at Dortmund. We saw him against Norwich just dictating the play for United, and he has been given the central attacking role more than earlier in the season after showing us his ability starting behind the striker. Being played in his best position has showed us how brilliant Kagawa can be if he gets to see a lot of the ball and is behind players in quick movement. Rooney can also do this role very well, allthough his skillset it different from Kagawa in many ways. Rooney comes through with more power, and  makes pressure with long passes over the opponent sidebacks and being threat with his long shot abilities.

Marco Reus had an amazing performance against Real Madrid. He was out left, he was in the middle, he was in the box, he crossed and dribbled and created chaos at the galacticos defense. For United we have several different options for this role. We can play either Kagawa or Rooney out left, which gives us a player with passing and team playing ability rather than the ability to create things by himself. We are seeing Wilfred Zaha coming in during the summer who is a modern type winger that can dribble, take the defense for a run, cut in, go around and cross, create goals. Nani in form does this aswell, and should not be forgotten, and the Young we saw at Aston Villa was very much a similar type of player to what Reus showed against Real Madrid. Danny Welbeck has the ability to do similarly, and was fantastic against Real Madrid and in many other games this season in a wide role. He creates a lot on his own with his physique, speed, ability to not give a fuck and just go straight past players. If he gets better at delivering the ball after his good dribbles and runs, we are going to have a very exciting attacking player in Welbeck. We have the players, though many of them have not performed up to par this season.

Yesterdays exciting news regarding Januzaj should be mentioned aswell. A player with all the traits requried to play in an attacking trio, either in the middle our out wide, in the future for us.


Two (or three) top class strikers

Where Dortmund has Lewandowski, who obviously is a top class striker, we are very much spoiled at United having three very different, top class strikers. Hernandez offers clinical finishing, hard work, quick and smart runs behind enemy backline and has become quite good at build up play. Van Persie has proved himself to be one of the best three or four strikers in the world, and is the complete package. He can cross, dribble, shoot from afar, score goals on crosses, score goals on difficult chances and be fantastic in the build up play. The Wayne Rooney we saw after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo was amazing in front of goal. Scoring 34 goals in 42 games in the 2009/2010 season proves that he has what it takes to do the job as the man up front. Adding to that, we have exciting prospects like Will Keane and Angelo Henriquez coming through the ranks.

Conclusion and possible United XI

Looking at the Dortmund squad and the Manchester United squad, you find that many of the players fit in to the same position and has the ability required to play in the dynamic Dortmund system. A new midfielder might be required to take care of the enemy attacking trio together with the centre backs, atleast against tough opposition, but the rest of the squad is good enough to fit it. We also have great, versatile attacking players in Rooney, Kagawa, Young and Welbeck who all can fill in more than one position with their allround skill, which makes it easier for the squad to handle injury situations. I didn’t talk much about the centreback pairing, because the Dortmund CBs in Subotic and Hummels/Santana is very similar to the one we have at Man United. Both are good with the ball, are good at starting attacks and brilliant at defending. The vital point here, is the ability to take part in build up play rather than just smashing the ball forward while clearing attacks up.

I’ve made a little attempt on showing how our squad can fit the Dortmund style


Which could work very well for us. If Cleverley is to play, we’d see him swap positions with Carrick in this formation, but if a new player is signed, the defensive one takes on the Sven Bender role and helps out defending together with the centrebacks.

I also thought about another possible formation that looks pretty similar, but with a more narrow setup in defense.


In this formation , Cleverley works as an engine connecting the defense, midfield and attack while running like crazy. He is probably more suited to the role where Rooney is put, where he gets more creative freedom though. The player names in the spot is not necessarily the most important part about the pictures, but should act as an indicator of how we COULD play if we wanted to.

Bonus picture of future United starting XI?



1. By using any type formation creator (I used http://www.footballuser.com/post) this one, which kind of formation do you think United should aim to use as the main formation for next season?

2. Does any of the players in our squad not fit the new, modern formation?

3. Which position needs strengthening during the summer to make this a sustainable, effective way for us to play football?

The CDM role and Manchester United

I was going to write an angry post to ventilate the anger after the City game, but deleted it last second. Believe me, it was not good for anything but self therapy! So we’ve decided a post about the CDM (or lack of) at United is next up, so here goes.


We used to be spoiled

Remember Roy Keane? Nicky Butt? What a main CDM and what a backup. The vacuum after Keane left the gates of Old Trafford was filled with the presence of a promising Ronaldo, a Rooney, exciting youngsters like Guiseppe Rossi and the feeling that the future was bright. Sir Alex had put his faith in young Darren Fletcher to become a main man, and the year after, Carrick was bought. We had one of the best teams (atleast on paper) that I can remember, and the urgent need for a CDM was kind of gone. We played a smart type of football, and the Scholes+Carrick partnership was one of the best in the world. We rarely lost the ball in midfield, and had offensive players that created chances left and right.

Fast forward a few seasons

And look back at last seasons embarassing defeats in the ECL. Game after game we were punished super hard through the middle. Teams just ran through our midfield, or exploited the space behind Patrice Evra. We had nobody to rule over the space between the defense and midfield, and every opponent knew it. Some were good (and fast) enough to exploit it, allthough we did decently in the league considering injuries, and won a decent amount of games, but especially in the international games, we were destroyed.

This season, Cleverley has done a lot of the dirty work on the midfield. With his crazy energy, safe passing and high work-rate, he has been a huge factor in Carrick having the season of his life. Tracking back, tackling, starting attacks and generally being a driving force in our midfield.


This picture (from february) illustrates my point pretty well. The next question has got to be if he is suited for the defensive midfielder role, and is he really? Yes and no. Playing for England, he shows his best side with a more free and attacking role. Taking part in link-up plays and controlling the flow of the game seems to be his strong cards. On the other hand, his defensive stats appear very impressive.


Michael Carrick

Has been brilliant this season. He is about to be 32 years old this summer, and that is the only issue when it comes Michael. Our best player is old. And don’t get me wrong, I think we can  expect to see a very good Carrick for atleast a few more seasons, but perhaps we should start thinking about a long-term replacement, that either Cleverley (preferably) and Carrick, can play next to, or one that fills in for either Carrick or Cleverley throughout the season, if we want to run a 2-man midfield. Until then, we have the opportunity to play in a 3-man midfield, which is something that has been overlooked a bit this season. Phil Jones has done a brilliant job as the third man on several occations this season, so why not go for another player that can do the job Jones did so well for us? Jones is going to be a CB in the long run after all, and we can’t rely on him filling in on the midfield as Rio and Nemanja gets older.

The different kinds of CDMs

You got the type that Carrick is. A “used to be”-CM pulled back in the pitch to control passing and defend with his intelligence rather than sheer strength. Xabi Alonso and Lyon midfielder Gonsalons are other examples on this kind of player. The difference in Xabi Alonso and Gonsalons’ play, and Carricks role, is mainly the fact that the two first ones usually play with two midfielders around them. The players around them do a lot of the dirtywork, and Xabi Alonso for instance can focus on positioning defensively and start attacks with smart passes. Carrick is often seen using his energy tracking back way more than ideal for a player with his qualities.

You also have the choice to use a more physically oriented midfielder to do the role as a CDM. That giving space for a player like Carrick to focus on the constructive parts of the game, rather than the defensive ones. This can be done, either by playing with a formation like a 4-2-3-1 or by letting him play as an anchor in a 4-3-3 kind of formation. The latter one is meant to look like Real Madrid or Chelsea with Makelele. Fletcher did this fantastically for us, but as we all know, we can not count on that in the future. Good examples would be Tottenhams fantastic brazilian CDM Sandro, Roma star Daniele De Rossi, or Citys’ Javi Garcia.

Last, you got the player that is good both ways. There are not many of these out there, but Steven Gerrard used to be one, aswell as Gundrogan at Dortmund. They are (used to be, Gerrard) potent defenders and great offensive threats in a team. That is where Cleverley fits the best for me. Having a player like this in the team, brings forth a challenge in which you need to utilize their potential to the maximum. That is by my own opinion best done with having a designated defensive midfielder (Macherano), a good both ways midfielder (Gerrard) and the passer type like Xabi Alonso was back then. I am sorry for using Liverpool as an example, but you have got to admit that the midfield they had back then fits perfectly into what I am trying to explain here!


Todays challenges

If Cleverley isnt having an amazing game, like the sub par one he had against Chelsea in the cup, their three-man midfield just crushes our two man midfield. We have nobody to put on when that is the case. We can not put our faith in Anderson or Fletcher anymore. Granted, the situation with Fletcher is rather unfortunate, but Anderson has had plenty of time to make the midfield his own. We need a new player in. A player we can trust and that does the job. I would like Man United to have the possibility to play with both 2 or 3 in the midfield. To play with wingers or in a diamond. To have the flexibility to be unpredictable.

Questions up for discussion

1. Who can fill the space next to Carrick and Cleverley when we need a third midfielder?

2. Would you prefer us to play in another way than the two suggested formations in midfield. If so, which formation and why?

End note

We’ve been recruiting heavily the past couple of days. I am happy to announce that both Shnieder88, JS1000boy aswell as my stepbrother Stian(without a reddit account!) will be writing posts in the near future. Which brings me to another question; would you like to write for rreddevils.wordpress.com ? Let us know. We want as many good writers as possible, so that content can be published regularly and with high quality!



The Role of the Center Forward

Me (DirectionalVector) and Rdzzl had a lengthy discussion today. The role of Center Forwards in United’s tactic. By the end of the discussion, I began to brush up on the whole technical phrase thing in Football.

A Center Forward or CF is a player who plays right below the striker. He holds up the ball, passed through the air or along the ground, and plays other players in (with through balls or over the top balls) or scores goals himself.

I got this definition from Wikipedia which is surely not trustworthy. I am sure that the above definition is a closed one and I’ll try to include the varied significance it has on United’s play-style.


united 4231

The above picture shows the 4-2-3-1 formation which we’ve employed quite often in matches. This formation is similar to the one used against Sunderland with Kagawa in the Center Forward role. Before going on about how CF is an important role in United’s playing style, we can check out the different types of CF we can have:

  • The first type is the burly, Fellaini-esque CF. These guys are going to be strong, bullying defenders off of the ball. These guys get the ball through the air (mostly) rather than the feet. 
  • The second type is the eel-like, Kagawa-esque CF. These guys are smallish, quick and athletic who glue themselves to the ball and slither through the tightest spaces. In the end, its either the player who goes into the box or the ball is threaded like a thread through a needle to the striker.

Shinji Kagawa vs Wayne Rooney

Kagawa has not been played regularly in his best position as CF due to injuries and the prolific form of Wayne Rooney in the same position. Comparing Rooney and Kagawa with respect to their CF position gives interesting insight. Kagawa is the second type of CF who slithers and moves. Rooney is a hybrid born from his start as striker and then adapting to a play emulating Paul Scholes.

On the ball, Rooney tries to drop deeper and push the balls into positions which will best suit the style of play. It is pretty much similar to the type of orchestration Paul Scholes does. This leads to some interesting options to our play style. Off the ball, again, Rooney drops deeper to receive the ball with his back to the goal and switches flanks; a proper target man.

Kagawa is a different breed of a player compared to Rooney. On the ball, he is quick, crisp and short. Its a pass and move type of game that he was used to in Dortmund. Off the ball, his positioning is always in the tight spaces where you need quick 1-2s and tricky movement. His play is very very similar to the type of combinations that Barcelona and Manchester City have up front with Messi, Silva, Tevez and the like.

Playing Kagawa and Rooney

Essentially, if you take a match, Rooney would be pulling the strings and making things happen. Kagawa on the other hand requires everyone to work together; he will be in the middle of all the things. This makes putting Rooney and Kagawa in the starting eleven a tough job.

  • Rooney in the middle, Kagawa in the wings: This setup fails on many levels as Kagawa is not a winger; he is not a crosser. He can’t cross for the good of it. Also, putting Kagawa wide requires the fullback to overlap him and try to cross which is not a safe proposition.
  • Kagawa in the middle, Rooney in the wings: Much more balanced and attacking. With Rooney in the wings, he gets the best of both worlds. Rooney can now drop deeper and get the ball to put in those mega-diagonals, push new positions and build up different plays. Additionally, any pull back to the center will make Kagawa dangerous as his positioning would enable through balls beyond him to the Striker or lay-offs for the midfield to have a blast at the goal. This setup was great when we played Tottenham early this season.

Team Composition

Looking back at the Sunderland match, Kagawa had a great game that day. It was not only the lethargy of Sunderland but also the top notch play down the left by Young and Buttner to support him.

Team composition takes an important place when we play this 4-2-3-1 more than any other formation. Looking at how we’ve been arranged there are different options.

  • The Midfield: Taking the normal 4-2-3-1 formation, the 2-man midfield in front of the defense can have various roles. The major role we tend to have is the box-to-box midfielder paired with a deep-lying playmaker. We have a superb deep-lying playmaker in Carrick but not a replacement for the future. As for the box-to-box midfielder, we have two choices in Anderson and Cleverley. I prefer Cleverley in this formation because he is a much better player if you compare him with Anderson in short passing, agility and overall energy. If we had Fletcher in good nick, he would’ve been an amazing anchor man who can bully people off of the ball in front of the defense and pass it on to Cleverley or Anderson; setting off superb counters. Sadly, he is injured.
  • The Wings: On the wings, we have many options. Valencia/Young/Nani who can put in a stint on the wings. In my version of the 4-2-3-1 there can 3 different combinations which I see as effective. The first one is the Young-Nani combo. This gives a lot of pace and trickery on both sides of the pitch. It also includes some threat from the distance. I don’t want Valencia as having Young and Nani would actually enable beautiful switching of the players causing all sorts of mayhem. The second combo is completely different Rooney-Nani on the wings.  I really want to see this with Kagawa in the middle as it creates all sorts of interesting combinations thanks to the creative genius that all of them have. The movement of the trio up front will be sure to cause great problems. The other combination that I see as viable is Welbeck-Rooney on the wings. Having the raw energy of Welbeck on the wing with the creative acumen of Rooney in the other can be a strong attacking formation. Another great point would be the strong combining potential between Kagawa, Cleverley and Welbeck to cause further problems.
  • The Striker: The striker is the last part of the puzzle. For me Robin van Persie and Hernandez can be strong players in this formation. My first preference is Robin van Persie because of his strong crossing qualities and creative vision. Having the ability to cross would definitely help in rotating among the above said wingers. That said, having Hernandez enables us to have a strong foil who can just run beyond the defense after strong build up play from Kagawa and the others. Also said, both of them provide strong threat in the box from crosses too.

Alternatives in CF at United

The above team composition shows only the players who can be a compliment to each other. A cohesion that Rdzzl gave me an idea about. Their movement and play would actually provide additional threat to the opposition when none can exist. As of now Kagawa and Rooney are the main CFs we’ve played and the players who have actually proven a lot in there.

Nick Powell: This guy is brilliant. He is fearless with a mean shot. From the little I’ve seen, playing him as a CF would be great because of his quickness, long shot and composed play. He is not the tricky and slimy Kagawa but he provides something different. Even though we see him as a great replacement for Carrick in the future, we can try him out right in that hole. 

Ashley Young: Young is a mixed bag; a bag of tricks which can either blow up in your face or just blow off the opponent’s face. His pace and agility would gladly make him CF material and as a lone striker when defending to unleash a quick counter. Beyond that I don’t see him as a CF. But he can be played in that position.

Robin van Persie: RvP is not fast but he has excellent ball holding skills with good passing and positioning. His close to the body ball skills may not be awesome but he can gladly take on the CF role. He has enough technique, finesse and vision to work that role. The only problem is that he requires pacy support all around him as he is definitely not the fastest.

Danny Welbeck: I have strongly polarized opinions about this guy. He can run all over the pitch but suffers from low finishing confidence and first touch. Either way, seeing him combine with Kagawa shows his strong positioning and attacking insight. He can play those strong 1-2s, quick one-touch passes that can beautifully set things up.


The centre forward role is going to be play a huge role in the next season as I suspect a transfer of play-style to use both the wings and the middle. One of the strengths in having a hybrid CF based formation will be the difficulty in parking the bus against this tactic. You’ll have multiple threat points throughout the attack. The wings, the center, midfield, one-twos will prove to be strong threats to the opposition. The only downside is the requirement for a very strong midfield that can hold the ball under pressure. That is something we don’t have. Instead we’ve adapted this formation in our own way to add the counter attacking aspect we’ve always been famous for. Down the road, I see strong potential to add different perspectives of attack to this strong formation by transfers. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Kagawa in this formation in the future.


  1. How do you feel about the role of CF in our team?
  2. What about the alternatives for the CF role from our youth team?
  3. Team composition; do you think what I’ve suggested for the wing players to be a great alternative to what we play now?
  4. Any other ideas on what to write in the future?