Sir Alex Must Rethink His Team Formation

Posted by Saim Wednesday, September 16, 2009
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Sir Alex needs to put out his best team and not his favored formation because he no longer has the players for a 4-3-3

Sir Alex Needs To Rethink His Team Formation
Manchester United started off the European campaign with a win against Besiktas. Three points in the bag should mean that the campaign has started pretty much as expected. We went to a noisy, hostile environment facing a difficult than it seemed team and came out unscathed with three points. So, job done and let's move on to the Manchester derby.

However, there is something that bothers me. I cannot but think how much last night's performance mirrored the one we put on show on that fateful night in Rome about four months back. There were the same faces for starters, except the obvious missing ones but more importantly there was the same toothlessness in attack, the same lack of ideas in the middle of the park, the same running with the ball towards the corner flag without any idea of what to do with it. All this I put down to one decision...going in with the same formation.

Yes, Sir Alex Ferguson went in last night with the same 4-3-3 combo as he had done against Barcelona and it backfired almost as royally as it that night. The only reason we came away with three points was because we were playing Besiktas last night as compared to Barcelona four months ago. Don't get me wrong, the nightmarish performance against Barca was in no way down to the formation and Sir Alex, to my mind, did start with the best XI he could. But since that night the personnel has changed and Manchester United, to my mind, do not have the players to play a 4-3-3 formation anymore.

The 4-3-3 is a combination that requires a lot of dynamic interchange and the front three need to be very fluid and mobile. Along with this, it is imperative that the front three all have the ability of taking chances and scoring goals on a regular basis. Now, no questions over Rooney but if Fergie thinks that Nani and Valencia can be part of his fluid, dynamic front three, then I would be very alarmed. No offense to Nani and Valencia but they are just not good enough, at least not yet. In effect, what a 4-3-3 now does, is give us a 5 man midfield with Wayne Rooney toiling alone upfront without any support as was amply evident last night and also against Arsenal.

Why Sir Alex chose to go in with a single striker even against a team as low on confidence as Besiktas, I fail to understand. Wayne Rooney's visible frustration on being substituted had as much to do with his inability to find any support as with a sense of disappointment on being subbed. I am sure Sir Alex had given instructions to Anderson and Nani and Valencia to be the support cast but that is not how it panned out. Anderson, for one, needs to think himself of as the attacking midfielder that he is rather than the defensive hard tackler he seems to have become. Michael Carrick needs to up his game very soon otherwise Sir Alex would be tempted to give Gibson a go. He has already indicated to the same earlier in the season.

Perhaps, Sir Alex would have learnt his lessons from last night's insipid performance and would now change his mind about his formations in Europe because simply put a Rooney-Nani-Valencia threesome up top hardly inspires much faith and neither does it strike much fear in opposition ranks.

To Sir Alex now...In him do we trust, still.

What should be the 1st choice midfield combo for United?