Different formation, same performance. With Cambridge’s defence sitting deep behind a five man midfielder, Manchester United found it impossible to break them down in the first half. They were disciplined and well structured while Man United were stagnant going forward and very one dimensional.
It was always going to be tough to break Cambridge down as they were certain to sit deep but there’s no excusing the poor football from United in the first half.
Nothing changed in the second half despite some positive substitutions and United now have to try and beat Cambridge in a replay at Old Trafford.
Strikers feeding off scraps. Man United had so much possession over the 90 minutes but had very little opportunities because nobody provided any attacking impetus.
Radamel Falcao and James Wilson had almost no chances because they simply weren’t provided. United were devoid of any attacking impetus until Ander Herrera and Robin van Persie came on but even then, despite United having 80% possession, United couldn’t score against a League Two side. Woeful.
Genuine question, what is the philosophy? Tonight’s performance was Groundhog Day in many respects. The formation changed but the performance didn’t. It was dreadful. There was no fluidity, ten yard passes were regularly going adrift and nobody did anything to change it.
What next? The 3-5-2 formation was blamed for Man United’s stagnant attacking displays in recent weeks but using a 4-4-2 for the full 90 minutes, United put in an extremely similar performance, if not potentially worse.
What’s to blame? Where do the problems lie? It’s something that goes deeper than a simple formation. There seems to be a lack of understanding between the players and exactly what they’re supposed to be doing in attack.
The Phil Jones set-piece mystery continues… Not only did Phil Jones take Man United’s corners tonight, he even swung pushed Angel di Maria aside and took a free-kick. What a strange set of events. It’d be interesting to know Van Gaal’s thinking behind putting Jones on the set-pieces.