Anyone who has been associated with Manchester United these past few years know that we have a midfield equivalent of a null vector for the big games( and now,worryingly,even against the smaller teams). Any combination of Carrick-Tom-Fro-Anderson-Jones or even Giggs in a midfield two or three will hardly suffice to hold off an Arsenal team in imperious form. What we need is a concerted attempt to get hold off the midfield area, and in doing so maybe we will have to use most of the central midfielders in our disposal.
First the probable Arsenal line up in midfield- Arteta/Flamini or both in the '2' of the 4-2-3-1, Ramsey,Ozil,Cazorla in the '3'. Rosicky and Wilshere could come in for Cazorla and Flamini....it's a fluid 5 with Ramsey well suited to go box-to-box, Wilshere comfortable as the holding midfielder role or as a wide player in the '3'. What's more it is a formidable midfield five to play against.
The most effective way to counter midfield domination is to play counter-attacking football, something which has been our go to mantra against possession sides.However our wingers have been awful recently to put it mildly, Valencia looks more effective when he has space to run into,something which has seen him more suited for the RB spot, Nani- well, let's not get started on that one:(, Giggs is no longer a winger and Young has regressed to the point of being an infinitesimal in space-time.Kagawa was never a winger and Januzaj however well he plays there is better suited for the playmaker role. So what do you do when you have an array of excellent forwards, a decent defence, full backs who can play as wing-backs and a quantity of average midfielders?
Play a 3-6-1 would be the answer.A unique system that gives midfield dominance and gets width through the wingbacks, it is a criminally underused system. However let's bypass that one, David Moyes may not be a dinosaur coach, but his playing 3 in the back would be equivalent to a cockroach fondling a T-Rex in the Jurassic age.
A 4-4-2 diamond can be the way out, and here i explain why. Firstly it allows both our world-class forwards to play as forwards and not the confused soul that Rooney puts out tactically this days.We have place for a playmaker, and we have quite a few at our disposal.Oh and it ensures that Young isn't even in the matchday squad :)
More seriously with Arsenal playing inverted wingers in the absence of the Ox and Walcott there isn't a problem of wingers bombing forwards which is the usual drawback of the diamond system. So here is how i propose we send out the team.
Defence- De Gea- Rafael-Vidic-Evans/Jones-Evra
1-2-1 - Carrick- Tom-Fellaini-Januzaj/Kagawa
The No. 10 player sits on Arteta, stifling his passing, Rooney and RVP scare the shit out of Mertesacker and Koscieny,occasionally going out to the wings combining with the full backs and letting the No. 10 player and Tom/Fellaini to bomb forward. Tom and Fellaini protect Carrick, helping his passing game, while making sure that Cazorla-Ozil and Ramsey are pressed always to get back the ball. When the full backs bomb forwards the defence moves up forming a back 3 with Carrick in the middle
The problem here would be Carrick and Vidic. Vidic doesn't have the pace, forcing us to play a deeper line widening the space for the Arsenal '3' to do their magic.If only Jones and Evans were a good, established pairing we could have gone ahead with them. Carrick. Playing a diamond doesn't suit him that much.He can't pass the ball to the wingers and will have to rely on the full backs moving forwards. A fit Fletcher would have been perfect for this role. Infact the 2006-07 Fletcher would have been perfect for the Fellaini role as one of the shuttlers in this formations.However if Carrick keeps a level head and passes sensibly there wouldn't be much trouble.I would have put the 2011 Ando in for Fro, but not for this game.Tom-Jazz-Rooney will combine well to give Arsenal a run for their money
This the team I would put out. What do you guys think?