Man Utd’s banks of three can silence Spurs

15
1167

Jose Mourinho’s customary safety-first approach against Manchester United’s Premier League title rivals will come under the microscope again this weekend.

Will his team sit back and view a point as a decent return, like they did earlier this month at Anfield?

 

Or will the hosts opt to take the fight to a Tottenham Hotspur side who arrive in wonderful form?

 

To achieve a positive result, the answer will almost certainly lie somewhere in between.

 

2016 Blueprint

 

A 1-0 success for Man Utd in last season’s corresponding fixture is a good indicator of the strategy that may work best.

 

That day the hosts were happy to let Mauricio Pochettino’s men have 59.9% possession and drop off inside their own half.

 

This ploy denied Spurs’ forwards space. Forced to play in front of them, the north Londoners were limited to just three efforts on goal from inside the area.

 

Defending was not Man Utd’s sole focus though.

 

When opportunities arose to break on the visitors, primarily through the pace of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial, the Red Devils were sharp and penetrating.

 

So even though they adopted tight, counter-attacking tactics, the defensive players did not have to hold firm under spells of relentless pressure. Indeed, Mourinho’s men spent slightly longer inside their attacking third than they did at the other end.

 

The balance was spot on.

 

Covering the wide areas

 

Much like their last meeting at Old Trafford, part of the gameplan will be to deny Spurs’ full-backs the room to make a difference.

 

In that fixture United’s three-man midfield worked overtime to provide extra cover in wide areas, with the nearest man sliding across to close down Kyle Walker and Danny Rose on the ball.

 

Chelsea used a similar ploy at Wembley Stadium earlier this season, successfully negating the influence of the full-backs.

 

This tactic forced Spurs’ wide men to sling crosses into the box from deep, or move infield where there was congestion.

 

As shown in the graphic below, on Spurs’ last visit United broke up a stream of attacks in the wide channels.

How Manchester United’s approach forced Spurs wide at Old Trafford last season

With this in mind don’t be surprised if Mourinho reverts to a three-man central midfield on Saturday.

 

It will strengthen their spine where danger men Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli tend to roam, as well as provide assistance on the flanks.

 

Keeping Kane quiet

 

Taming the in-form Harry Kane won’t be easy, but United will focus hard on ensuring he is not allowed to run on to passes played in behind their defence. In those scenarios he has looked deadly in recent weeks.

 

With this in mind, should Mourinho’s men switch to a three-man rearguard?

 

A quick glance at the teams who have successfully kept Kane at bay this term suggests he finds it tougher against back threes.

 

Chelsea, Swansea City and AFC Bournemouth all coped well with Kane using that shape, which in theory should limit the opportunities he has to sprint clear down the sides of central defenders; a favourite run of his.

 

From a tactical perspective Mourinho has plenty to ponder ahead of kick-off.

 

Sitting deep for 90 minutes and playing for a draw is not acceptable on home turf, but don’t be surprised if the Portuguese comes up with a plan designed to stop Spurs in their tracks.

 

He may even consider trying to match them up in a 3-1-4-2.

 

Whatever system he chooses, this is a match the hosts should be looking to win, despite Spurs’ outstanding form.

 

If they are to contend for this season’s Premier League title United must take three points off some of their main rivals, so these home encounters will be critical to their prospects.

 

On the back of a chastening loss to Huddersfield Town, I expect a purposeful and positive response.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  2. Thank you for all of the hard work on this web page. Ellie delights in setting aside time for internet research and it’s simple to grasp why. A number of us notice all relating to the lively method you give very important secrets via the blog and even improve response from visitors on this point so our favorite daughter is certainly becoming educated a whole lot. Have fun with the rest of the year. You are always conducting a great job.

  3. I do love the way you have presented this situation and it really does supply me personally a lot of fodder for thought. Nevertheless, coming from everything that I have personally seen, I simply just wish when the remarks pack on that individuals keep on point and don’t get started on a soap box involving some other news du jour. Still, thank you for this exceptional piece and while I can not really concur with the idea in totality, I respect your perspective.

  4. Thanks for another great article. The place else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  5. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  6. Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  7. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many
    of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you
    personally? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post
    or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you
    write regarding here. Again, awesome blog!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here