Analysis Opinion Insight

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reactions to Game @ Blackburn

Setting aside the fact that United got the point required to seal a historic 19th English domestic league title, the performance against Blackburn was representative of their away form all season.

Six things I learnt watching for a far:   
1) Tomasz Kuszczak's confidence is shot to pieces, he performs decently when he gets a run of games in the first team, but when he steps in for the odd game, his performance is riddled with errors born of a lack of confidence in his skills and a lack of understanding with the defenders. 

2) Wayne Rooney needs to learn a few tricks to beat a defender in a 1 v 1 situation. It was not a unique occurrence to see Wayne being dispossessed by a single defender on or near the edge of the 18 yard box. He was also beaten to many through balls by defenders who had to make up ground on him. Is the fact that he was injured and out of form for the first half of the season playing a negative effect on his base fitness level?              
Look at the amount of passing he does in the final third, in years and season's gone by, he wouldn't be afraid to take on shots from on or just outside the 18 yard box.

3) Javier Hernandez needs a rest. 1 shot vs Blackburn, 3 shots including a goal vs Chelsea. I have a big fear that by the time next season comes around, most defensive coaches will have worked out how to effectively negate the threat he posses. He currently beats defenders by sticking close to them and beating them with explosive pace and subtle movement, but if defenders drop off him but mark his runs, as Chris Samba did on Saturday, they'll be able to keep him out of the game.  

4) Nani playing on the left drifts infield too often, and doesn't stay close to the touchline often enough. The fact that he only got in 3 crosses from deep positions on the left, none of which were completed, is indicative of the bad game he had. Having lots of little passes infield in non threatening areas isn't really why he's in the side. Keeping possession is no doubt important, but he didn't provide the thrust from neither left nor right wings. No doubt the defensive formation employed by Blackburn contributed to Nani's performance, as he was almost always double marked when he got the ball in advanced left wing positions, forcing him infield, and passing short. He is no doubt more effective on the right, but he has not shown the effectiveness previously shown on the left, where he would either cut in and attempt to shot or pass to the forwards, or beat a defender on the wing and cross from the by-line.  

5) Park is vital  to the effectiveness of the Giggs & Carrick midfield partnership. Without his offensive energy, the central midfielders don't have the time and space to develop meaningful attacking passages of play.  
Without him, both Giggs and Carrick are forced to play a much deeper role, playing shorter passes to keep possession in deeper positions. Viewing the passing areas of the midfield duo between the two games leads to an interesting insight. Discounting the final minutes where United played keep ball in defense/midfield, both Giggs and Carrick were allowed the time and space to roam around the field, as they didn't have the defensive duties they had vs Chelsea.  They played less passes vs Chelsea, but from deeper positions, arguably more incisive and longer, finding the attacking players in more dangerous positions.

Passing            vs Chelsea              vs Blackburn
Carrick                 42/50                           96/107            
Giggs                    48/62 (1*)                     66/88
Rooney                 30/34                             36/52        
Park                      35/45 (1*)                     DNP
Scholes                  DNP                             61/64 (in 28minutes) 



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