Manchester United’s biggest transfer mistake of last summer

Manchester United’s disastrous run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starting after their famous victory in Paris can be explained due to a multitude of factors. Solskjaer’s inexperience, injuries, incoherent transfer strategy, etc. But the biggest difference between the initial run of games under Solskjaer which convinced Ed Woodward to give the Norwegian the full time job is the presence of Ander Herrera in United’s midfield.

A look at Man United’s results under Ole last season (All the games highlighted in red were the ones Herrera missed) Source:Reddit

Now, blaming all of United’s problems this season on the absence of Ander Herrera is certainly wrong and over-simplification of United’s current problems. But, the fact remains that United played their best football when they were set up in a 4-3-3 formation during the initial phase of Solskjaer’s reign as a caretaker manager. The midfield three of McTominay-Herrera-Poga was crucial to United’s attacks as it allowed Pogba to operate in a more advanced role where he has been the most effective.

This season, Solskjaer has majorly deployed the 4-2-3-1 formation with Paul Pogba in a deeper role as part of the midfield two. With Pogba being the only source of creativity in this dull United side, the change to 4-2-3-1 has backfired spectacularly as United have struggled to create chances in games. Injuries have exacerbated this problem, but the fact remains that Solskjaer simply doesn’t have the players to a play a midfield 3 thereby restricting United’s sole world class player in Paul Pogba to a more ineffective role. We have written extensively on Paul Pogba’s role at United previously and the problem never seems to go away.

It is understandable that Ander Herrera chose to move on, but the failure to replace such a key player in the summer is shocking and Solskjaer definetly should shoulder most of it. United’s single proven goalscorer in Romelu Lukaku was also let go but excuses can be made for his transfer by claiming that he doesn’t fit Solskjaer’s “style”. But the Norwegian’s failure to recognise that Ander Herrera was key to United’s midfield and to bring out the best out of Paul Pogba is unforgivable.

Read More

A look at Chris Wilder’s tactics at Sheffield United

It is perhaps no coincidence that the two in-form English managers were honing their craft in the Championship a year before, they now sit...

The Forgotten story of the Basque in South America

This article is sourced from a string of Twitter posts by Impedimento, translated by the author. Exactly 80 years ago, a French steamer called SS...

Manchester United’s biggest transfer mistake of last summer

Manchester United's disastrous run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starting after their famous victory in Paris can be explained due to a multitude of factors....

The tactical flexibility of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton:

  Hasenhuttl has certain areas of the first team’s play that he wants to improve before the Premier League kicks-off again in August. Having arrived...

Mason Mount: Chelsea’s Golden Boy

When Frank Lampard was appointed, Derby County fans everywhere collectively held their breath in the hope of whom his widely spoken about “contacts” might...

A look at Gian Piero Gasperini’s tactics at Atalanta

After almost 3 years with Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm of Atalanta, they finished 3rd in the Serie A this season, securing European...

How will Manchester City lineup in the 2019/20 season

Pep Guardiola will be looking to repeat on last year’s success and win the Premier League title for a third straight year. The Manchester...

Football Tactics for Beginners

Best Football Tactics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football tactics books for the casual football fan. Football tactics has become an essential part of...

Football Tactics For Beginners:How To Watch Football-Part 2

You can read the first part here Defensive Phase I always try to analyse the defensive phase of a team before the attack. Most professional managers...

Football Tactics for Beginners- The False Winger

A relatively new one to the lexicon of the footballing world, the false winger is often associated with players that drift inside to make...

Football Tactics For Beginners- The False 10

In recent times the traditional No 10 position has been losing its importance with managers opting for either multi-functional players playing in that role or...

The Rise of the forward destroyer

Over the last decade we have seen the disappearance of the classic number 10, especially in European football. The most famous example of course being Juan...

Football Tactics for Beginners-The Regista

The rapid rise of the 4-2-3-1 formation over the past decade has seen the importance of the regista or the deep lying playmaker skyrocket....

Football Tactics for Beginners- Juego de Posición

The main principle behind "Juego de Posición" is to always look for superiority on the football pitch. This superiority can be achieved by being...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Multi-Functional Players

Introduction: In times gone by, multi-functional players may have been viewed less glamorously. No-one would wax lyrical about the right back who was able to...

Adopting the Right Mindset: How Mental Tactics Can Create Champions

Football is a funny old game and, like all sports, the margins between victory and defeat are often razor thin. In fact, as the...