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The best formation and tactics for Manchester United during the 2020/21 season

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
uday suri
Modified 09 Oct 2020, 23:11 IST

The 2020/21 season will be a big one for Manchester United. Their long-term rivals Liverpool won their 19th league title last season and are favorites to win the title again.

Another fierce rivalry will be revived this season as Leeds United won promotion back to the Premier League. Given the fact that they have an experienced manager and ambitious owners, the matches between Leeds and Manchester United (usually a matter of pride for both sets of fans) will be fiercely competitive.

Manchester United's board had a lackluster performance during the extended summer transfer window. They failed to land their main target i.e Jadon Sancho, a 20-year-old winger who is comfortable playing on the right side of the attack (something that they have been missing for the last 6 years).

However, this shouldn't be as big a problem as it appears as Manchester United's other transfer dealings have ensured that at least a few gaps in the team have been filled.

We look at the tactics and formations that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men can adopt in order to utilize their options in the best possible way, without letting go of their attacking identity.

4-4-2 (While defending) | 3-5-2 (While attacking)

A version of this tactic was successfully used by RB Leipzig in their run-up to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.

As for Manchester United, the inability to sign a proven right-winger leaves them exposed on the right side of the attack. This is because their first choice full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka hasn't fully developed the attacking side of his game yet.


In order to address this, a flexible system where United start the game with a midfield diamond of Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes, and a front two of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, is the optimal solution for the team.


While defending, Manchester United will have a flat back four of Alex Telles, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, which will be protected by Matic in the defensive midfield role. Pogba will play a crucial role as the ball-winning midfielder and his passing range will help the team break on the counter.


When Manchester United is attacking, Telles can switch to an LM role while Bruno Fernandes switches to the RM position to give the team additional width.

With Pogba playing the role of a ball-winning midfielder and Bruno Fernandes switching to the left when attacking, van de Beek will look to operate as a playmaker in the no. 8 position, a role that many believe is best suited for him.

This will help cover up Manchester United's defensive frailties while also compensating for the lack of width on the right flank. Implementing this strategy, however, will depend on the work rate of two players, Bruno Fernandes and Alex Telles.

We have already seen that Bruno Fernandes is a player that embodies excellence on the pitch and has a very gowork rate. Alex Telles also performs like a player who is ready to work his socks off for the team.

Published 08 Oct 2020, 17:50 IST
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