United Held by Chelsea at Old Trafford in Stalemate

  1. When I saw the line-up before today’s nil-nil against Chelsea, I was almost sure that we would lose. James and Mata – albeit I am sure that they are fantastic gentlemen and great around the dressing room – simply cannot be used in the first eleven against top opposition. Mata has had an amazing career and few in the United squad are skilled as he is. But I was shivering in my boots just thinking how he was going to cope with Chilwell’s forays down Chelsea’s left flank. Non-starter. James on the other side is a hard-working and quick winger but lacks the maturity to pick up the final pass in most circumstances. It will hopefully develop in him in the coming years but right now he should not be starting for United against top-six teams. As things turned out, both teams were very tactical and defensive in the first hour or so and it was only when substitutions started to be effected by both sides that the match became more interesting.
  2. A formation with two all-action midfielders in front of the back four seems to be the solution that Ole has reverted to in the last two weeks, following the international break. Undeniably, it is working well, particularly defensively. I had called for such a solution in the aftermath of the humiliation against Spurs. The defence is playing better now, not only individually but even as a unit. Both Fred and McTominay – the Ole shield – are excellent in picking up the second balls in that midfield, they never stop running and are always snapping at people’s feet, which makes it easier for the defenders to close quarters. The only flaw that has been created with this formation style is that only Matic is acting as understudy to the duo, a scenario which lacks depth. With Pereira and Garner moving out on loan, Ole might need to make an acquisition in January to plug this gap, unless he plans to use Bruno in a deeper position than what he is used to play in since he arrived. Bruno alongside Fred or Scott might not be such a bad idea after all, since it would help United to get the ball up the pitch with more flair and at the same time, Bruno is also hard-working and might be able to do a job there.
  3. The Ole shield formation is leaving just four places that need to be filled by our attacking players. This means that whenever everyone is fit and available, Martial, Cavani, Rashford, Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba and Van de Beek – not to mention James, Mata, Lingard and Ighalo – are all fighting for the diamond formation up front. Seven excellent players for four positions is a very good problem to have for Ole.


QUESTION – Who would you choose to fill the four positions from the seven names in contention? Mine are:

  • Right wing – Rashford
  • Left wing – Pogba
  • Attacking midfielder – Fernandes
  • Main striker – Greenwood

Looking forward to receiving your thoughts on the Facebook page.


Article contributed by Contributor RoderickComments are appreciated on our Facebook page.