Manchester United are not in the midst of their best pre-season this year but it is understandable, given almost all of their first team players are still on vacation due to their commitments at the World Cup. Names like Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Ashley Young, Matic have not yet joined up with the United squad touring the United States.
Although this gives Mourinho a huge headache going into the new season as he cannot get his main players ready in time to face Leicester on the opening day of the season, it gives some players on the verge of a first-team chance to impress the boss and possibly get their name on the teamsheet. One such player who will undoubtedly be the first name on the team sheet is Brazilian youngster, Andreas Periera.
Many fans have voiced their concern over the possibility of Andreas Pereira finding proper game time in a midfield with the likes of Pogba, Herrera, Fellaini, Matic, and Fred. But we may just have the solution for Mourinho where Pereira can be a part of the same team as the possible starters in Pogba, Matic, and Fred.
The Diamond Formation:
Managers in the modern game have been very brave in the way they set up their teams as they have constantly experimented with new formations. Such as Conte using the three at the back formation successfully and Klopp pushing his team to press the opposition high up the field without having concerns over the possibility of an opposition counter.
In that regard, a rarely used formation is that of the midfield diamond. The diamond is one formation where most managers have not been able to find a counter to, but most teams cannot use it to perfection as they don't have the right type of players.
The Diamond requires all four players in the midfield diamond to be very physical and good in the air, even the players who create chances have to be very physical as the team playing this formation can only win if they can win the midfield battle against the opposition first.
Enter Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Andreas Pereira. In this group of players, we have four very strong, physical players. Matic is never afraid to put in a tackle and is very clean with his tackles. He will hold the fort at the bottom of the diamond.
Then we come to the middle of the diamond where two players need to hold the diamond and not drift apart too much as that would leave gaping holes in the middle and they need to be physical players with good technique as well.
We have Fred and Andreas Pereira for that role. Both strong and technically gifted players as well. This role can be filled up by Fellaini and Herrera as well, but given recent form, Pereira and Fred should get the nod.
Then comes the player at the top of the diamond, who is the player who would be creating chances. We have a world class player in Paul Pogba who is technically gifted and has the naturally strong physique that is required at this position.
With Lukaku and Sanchez at the top, they can easily feast on any half chance that Pogba and company can create in the middle of the park. This is a winning formation on paper for Manchester United, but we can observe the problems associated with this only if it is deployed by Mourinho.Published 29 Jul 2018, 11:11 IST