Thursday, September 23, 2010

Formation against Manchester United

Strange as it sounds, this may be a good time to play United for Bolton.  Just before a big Champions League match-up, teams can be distracted from the job at hand.  And United have a big one at Valencia on Wednesday night.  Alex Ferguson may decide to rest some players against Bolton, which has proved disastrous in the not so distant past.  But there is another reason I think Bolton could get a result here.

Wanderers strength, the midfield, especially central midfield, is Manchester United's weakness.  Either Scholes or Fletcher will be rested on Sunday, but Ferguson doesn't even have the personnel to rest both.  And the replacement will be Michael Carrick, who is useless.  Bolton can exploit this weakness, but I believe that to do so Owen Coyle will need to abandon his beloved 4-4-2.

Coyle will also need to switch around some players in the team, which he does usually seem willing to do, even after a good performance against Aston Villa (The performance against Burnley was not as good, but given the 8 changes that were made, it's not really relevant to the form of the first team).  I think he will have to go with a different formation to create the best match-ups against Manchester United.  Basically, a 4-1-2-3.

How would this work?  Fabrice Muamba sits in front of the back four, and he has one job, pressure Paul Scholes (or Carrick, if he plays instead).  Do not allow the playmaker space to play those little through balls Scholes in particular is so good at.

Just in front of Muamba we need two midfielders who will cover ground and pressure United, but also provide a threat going forward.  That should be Stuart Holden and Mark Davies.

The front three will have to work hard.  They will all have to run miles, provide pressure on United's defense, and show composure on the counter-attack opportunities Bolton get.  Kevin Davies will spearhead this attack, but I think interchanging movement with all three players is the best way to create chances, so Davies won't be in the center the entire match.  On one side, Martin Petrov, who is an intelligent footballer, and capable of pushing inside when needed.  On the other side, Rodrigo Moreno.  Pace, pace, and more pace from the young Spanish lad.  He may only last 45 minutes, but he can wear down the likes of O'Shea or Neville and maybe, just maybe, create the crucial chance for the Wanderers.

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