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Daley Blind: Manchester United's Marquee Signing

On this very website there was a really insightful piece of work that was posted a few of days prior to the start of this season. The writer made several very crucial and thought provoking points, but the one that stood out for me centered around the idea that the reason Manchester United hadn’t splashed out in the transfer market like originally anticipated wasn’t down to Ed Woodward’s negotiating ineptitude but was actually a method of protecting team unity and reinvigorating confidence back into the side. It makes sense; if the manager hasn’t invested in players that occupy your position then he must think that you’re good enough. That subsequently boosts confidence.

On the 11th August, that article had a significant amount of validity attached to it. Almost a month later and, rather unfortunately, it has been totally contradicted. The £89.7 million spent and the 10 departures since that traumatic afternoon against Swansea hardly infers towards a large amount of team spirit being maintained. That being said, changes were undoubtedly necessary and replacements for key names that had departed the club were imperative.

What have Manchester United sorely missed this season? Firstly, defensive equanimity. Playing 3 at the back mounts extra pressure on the technical side of your game of you’re a centre back, a demand that the likes of Jones, Smalling, Evans and Blackett have struggled to come to terms with. The acquiring of Marcos Rojo isn’t going to solve that issue. A 24 year old who does rabona clearances and has tattooed thighs won’t bring the required composure to that back 3. Louis van Gaal and his staff have a heavy task on their hands nurturing the relevant technical qualities into that defence.

More noticeably, the lack of a central midfielder who understands the much renowned ‘philosophy’ has been really painful to watch. This formation requires a dominant Central midfielder who sweeps things up and gets things moving. The sad truth is that Fletcher just can’t do that.

The attacking talent that Manchester United has on display is nothing short of mouth watering. That being said, its totally pointless is you don’t have someone in the middle that understands the system. The recruitment of Daley Blind provides a platform for the likes of Rooney, Van Persie, Januzaj, Di Maria, Mata and Falcao to thrive off. I’m making massive assumption here, I can’t confirm whether Blind will play in the centre but it is the most logical bout of conjecture I can confidently put on the internet.

Blind played in that central midfield role for Ajax in the past season. His endeavors in that position merited the award of Eredivisie player of the year, his defensive game and vision culminates in one believing that his Manchester United future lies in the middle of the park, that position requires a few things; quick thinking, positional know-how, positive attitude when it comes to passing and tackling capabilty. But nothing is more imperative than having somebody who knows the system and is able to obey orders impeccably. In that sense, Daley Blind fits the bill. The possibly of him playing at LWB isn’t something that should be totally ruled out, but in a league where a great deal of emphasis is placed on physicality it would most likely be a last resort move by Louis van Gaal to use the Dutchman in that role.

The question that leads from Blind’s arrival is whether he requires accompaniment alongside him. Against Burnley, Louis van Gaal decided that Fletcher would play with no help alongside him whatsoever, he employed a 3-3-2-2 system that relied on the wingbacks pushing up and wide in order to create space for the Fletcher so he can pick out Mata and Di Maria, who were just floating ahead of him.

This rather embarrassingly backfired; the wingbacks weren’t in the right positions, meaning Fletcher didn’t have enough space and we all had to sit through 90 minutes of poor Darren being forced to pass to Blackett and Jones instead of Mata and Di Maria.

Against lesser teams this formation can work to very good effect, providing you have somebody who can keep the ball, maintain a good level of energy and show a bit of equilibrium on the ball. Playing that formation with Blind instead of Fletcher could potentially wreak havoc with the attacking resources now at Van Gaal’s disposal. If Daley Blind is able to keep a lid on an admittedly energetic and committed but albeit mediocre midfield (Like QPR) then the likes of Rooney and Falcao will benefit immensely. This should undoubtedly be trailed in the next home game

Imagine if Manchester United were able to field 3-4-1-2 formation with Di Maria, Falcao and Van Persie as a front 3? How great would that be? Hang on a minute…

Although it’s an outlandish theory that will most likely not come to fruition, it’s worth considering nonetheless. But what if Louis van Gaal decided to use Wayne Rooney as a central midfielder alongside Daley Blind? This would be a system only utilised against the big teams in the Premier League, it’s an option that would, in my opinion, be more beneficial than playing Carrick or Herrera in that position.

Rooney’s tenacity and willingness to drive forward whenever he can could culminate in being a perfect formula with the partnership of Daley Blind. While the Dutchman neutralises powerful onslaughts, the captain takes the ball forward and acts as the counterattacking catalyst. It may contradict what Louis van Gaal said about his intentions to play Rooney as a 9. But now that attacking personnel isn’t a concern it wouldn’t be a bad move in the slightest. The physicality needed against big teams in the middle of the park won’t be fulfilled with just Daley Blind playing in the centre, using somebody like Wayne Rooney could give Manchester United a realistic chance of getting results against big teams away from home. If Manchester United is to return to the Champions League for next season then that is paramount.

Say what you like about the players that have come in, there’s every likelihood that this team could finish 7th again; but I can guarantee that it will be far more entertaining this time around.

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By Leo Nieboer

Mourning the loss of Danny Welbeck

11 replies on “Daley Blind: Manchester United's Marquee Signing ”

Must man u play 4 3 3, there is a berra chance usin d 442….shaw, rojo, jones, valencia, dimaria @ left wing and rafael @ right wing mid field, blind @ DMF and Mata plays a CMF while falcao and rooney pairs up front. I think Rafael has greater things to achieve in Man U, he has d drive, d pace, d agility and moreover he is still young with a team spirit in him. He can play wings with di maria along side.

This report is excellent… i love it so much but i will implore one or two things.. for now we need 4 at the Back so sad that Vidic that suits the 3 at the back is gone… also a Good team shudnt be on a formation alone, i think your opponent should determine what formation to use atimes cause PL is full of real drama from every team… Rooney shud sacrifice his role for a while en come to the midfield and dictate for his immediate partner, you move forward a lil while, i stay, you stay i attack n scare them a lil.. someone to read the Game more… which i think Blind is coming to do but what about the “Fear Factor” Blind will need to impact this and it might take time.. I hope it all Goes well… I love Man U with Passion.

I think Di Maria should b given a free role cos hes gud at dat and rooney dropping 2 d mid field with blind cause of his energy and Falcao starting ahead of Rvp.

What rubbish are you talking about, if the team wants to win against QPR, Rooney, Fletcher, Young, Evans just cannot star cause they weaken the team, slow attacking build ups, poor ball handling and passing, constantly losing possession to the opposition and largely just lack passion to work for the team especially Rooney.

How can you say Rooney would be better than Herrera in that position.Rooney is no longer good with keeping the ball.Rooney cannot handle the ball under pressure and Herrera has better vision than him so I believe his only job is to stay upfront.So many players currently are batter in that position.Stop saying it just to accommodate him.This is not English national team.

Considering the fitness of the current squad and technical abilities, I believe 4-3-3 is a much better formation as compared to the 3-4-1-2 (3-5-2). One reason is we need stability as soon as possible, and we need results. Van Gaal said himself the team knows 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 already. Why not use that, gain some very needed results, good stability and balance and then use 3-5-2 in certain games where appropriate? With the current squad it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Rooney or Mata could play in the hole behind the striker with Januzaj and Di Maria on either side, and Herrera – Blind behind. Back 4 of Shaw, Rojo, Jones, Rafael (will have plenty of options in defense).
LVG said himself Shaw isn’t fit enough for the current system, and Valencia and Young (esp Valencia) are not creative enough in attack. They just work hard, they don’t work smart. Valencia was woeful against Burnley, so predictable.
I say we need results, need dominance. And most of all, the fear factor.

Great points! 4-3-3 is our best option. A midfield of Herrera Blind Mata/Rooney should be capable enough of holding on to the ball as well as distributing it to the front 3. I personally think a front 3 of Di Maria Falcao/RVP and Januzaj would also give the team more balance. I doubt LVG will continue using the 352 formation. The guy is a tactical guru and also knows the best formations to use for his personnel. I think the 352 was simply used to get the best out of Mata Rooney and RVP, but with the new players we have it simply makes no sense in accommodating them. A win this weekend is a must, and if we can do it in convincing fashion I am pretty sure we can begin to scare a lot of teams. Especially with the attack at our disposal.

The problem is everyone is assuming LVG will continue to use the 352 formation. With Falcao, Di Maria and Herrera all in the ranks now its simply makes no sense in trying to accommodate RVP Rooney and Mata. If you look at the Dutch team Van Gaal only used the 352 formation to accommodate Van Persie Sneijder and Robben. Also baring in mind that he didn’t have Strootman to cover the defense and start the attacks for the team. LVGs real formation is 433 and with the like of Shaw, Herrera, Mata, Blind, Rooney, Di Maria, RVP and Falcao it makes no sense in reverting to a 352 now. But we will see what he chooses on Sunday. IMO 433 should be our primary formation.

De Gea
Rafael/Valencia Jones Rojo Shaw
Herrera/Carrick Mata/Rooney Blind
Januzaj Falcao/RVP Di Maria

Should give us a lot of balance and outstanding movement between midfield and attack.

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