Gary Nevill say Manchester United's treble win helped the Premier League
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There have been many times this season where Manchester United have looked stuck. Stuck for ideas, stuck in a rigid formation, and stuck with an outstanding group of individuals who can shine on their own, but not glimmering as a unit.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the golden strobe light, whose blaze is brighter than the very lights which illuminate the iconic Champions League evenings at Old Trafford, but one bright star is not a galaxy.
Solskjaer’s men have enjoyed glorious displays against Leeds United and Newcastle United, but in the other matches they have often found themselves – well stuck.
The 4-2-3-1 formations Solskjaer has deployed in every match this season appears to be the best way to crowbar the abundance of talent at United’s disposal into a starting eleven.
However, unfortunately when it does not work the lack of malleability in the formations means it is very difficult to change.
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United midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred appear to be Solskjaer’s first choice midfielders to sit in between defence and attack, but they have found transitioning the play and looking after the ball difficult; particularly in the recent defeat to Aston Villa.
Paul Pogba has often been deployed as one of the two, but Solskjaer’s lack of trust in the Frenchman’s defensive capabilities is evident, otherwise one of Fred or McTominay would sit out.
If United and Solskjaer have found themselves in a tactical rut, then midfielder Donny van de Beek has found himself in a swamp in the middle of the wilderness.
However, United have found themselves in this position as their midfield options are too far back and forward, with no in-between.
McTominay’s defensive awareness and qualities are so strong, he has also been deployed as a central defender for Scotland, while Bruno Fernandes and Pogba’s statistics are best viewed through an attacking lens.
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What United appear to be missing is the midfielder who can receive the ball from McTominay as fast as possible, before shifting onto the attackers who can charge at the opposition like shooting stars.
And with Leicester City struggling this season, United should perhaps consider a player in the mould of Youri Tielemans.
The Foxes find themselves in 13th position in the Premier League, and their 1-0 away defeat to Legia Warsaw has left them at the bottom of their Europa League group.
His contract expires in 2023, and if Leicester fail to qualify for the Champions League this season and cannot convince the Belgian to sign a new deal, next summer will be their best opportunity to cash in on his services.
United need to consider a midfielder who can expand their game and help them move the ball from A to B quicker.
Tieleman’s successful passing percentage is currently at very respectable 85%, but he can also tackle and intercept passes.
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The Belgian could also be an excellent alternative to Pogba who will leave Old Trafford on a free transfer next summer unless a new deal is agreed.
While he is perhaps not as technically gifted and penetrative as the Frenchman, he will provide a strong balance to the midfield which can bring the best out of McTominay and Fernandes.
Pogba and Fernandes are outstanding in the passing and goalscoring departments respectively, but Tielemans’ brings a little bit of everything to the team.
United have some of the best finishers and passers in world football, yet goals and chances have deserted them at times as they have not been able to get their danger men into enough positions of influence.
Tielemans could be the one to find these spaces and bring out the best in United’s talented arsenal.
Ronaldo, Pogba, and Fernandes will likely be the main players to pull United up out of the rut, but perhaps United need to consider a man who can make the tripartite’s responsibility easier.
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