Analysis Opinion Insight

Monday, April 8, 2013

Attacking combinations, RvP, Welbz, Kagawa and what I'd do with Roo

Since Rooney's omission from the side that faced Real Madrid last month, a lot has been said about Wayne Rooney's future at Manchester United.  Robin van Persie's 12 game almost  goal drought has led many in the public to wonder why the goals have dried up. 
There are some not uncommon factors that have contributed to RvP's form slump:
1- fatigue- it's been a while since RvP has had to play 30+ games in back to back seasons, and even last year he had a mid-March form slump, and came back strong at the end of April to fire Arsenal into the top 4 with a final flourish. 
2- injury- having picked up a few knocks in previous games, and with 2 to 3 games scheduled for each fortnight, small injuries have little time to recover and given that they do not keep him from playing, may compound the problem, impacting upon the confidence he has in his own body and his footballing form. 
3-partnerships. Having played every side once, new ways of unlocking opponents are needed every game to continue good form. Early in the season, his partnership with Carrick and Young produced a lot of his goals, and without Rooney, he performed under pressure and delivered the goals in a rather direct fashion.    
 We are now playing a more possession based game, with Rooney and 2 wingers, the partnership between him and Rooney will be important in the next calender year.  

A lot of ex United players and fans have made some great points about the RVP/ Rooney potential partnership, I'd like to give you my take. 
1- RVP and ashley young seem to play really well together, as do RVP and carrick. the 2 pairs seem to have a natural understanding of space and time between them, and the midfielders don't seem to have a great understanding with Rooney. 
2- Wayne Rooney and Valencia, and Rooney and Welbeck seem to have a really good understanding. 
3- Kagawa has shown moments of brilliant interplay between himself and both RvP and Rooney,  
--> so i think it won't be too long until we see RvP, Rooney and Kagawa all click together. 

4: I do wonder about Rooney's long term position in the 1st XI, as I think Welbeck and Kagawa create better options for carrick and cleverly to find, and are more mobile and agile, and arguably have a better first touch.  Rooney doesn't really seem to like receiving the ball on the half turn, and usually gets very square on, back to goal, which makes it rare for him to hold the ball up, subsequently Carrick doesn't pass to him very often. 

I wouldn't mind seeing Rooney deployed as a central midfielder alongside Carrick and Cleverly in a 4-3-3 with Kagawa, Welbeck and RvP in the attacking trio. It'd make the most of Rooney's passing range, allow him to play his cross field passes, get him into mid range shooting chances, (goals of which we hardly ever see from United players any more) and allow the interplay between Kagawa, Welbeck and van Persie to flourish without him getting in the way too often. He's also got the tactical and positional sense to know when to attack from deep and when to stay back and shield the area in front of evra or rafael. 

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