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Manchester United 2006-2009: The 4-4-2 That Never Was


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Opening Results:

There's a lot of transfer changes, both already in the side, and my own, so I'm not really expecting the fluidity to be quite there yet, but the opening game against Chelsea was strong despite being relatively even stats wise:

1114790774_ManUnitedvsChelseastats.png.433490cc40dcf70be98c7eeabb9e59fe.png

 

Pick of the goals came from Greenwood, after winning the ball back through the slightly aggressive but disciplined middle press, there's a couple of sloppy moments as naturally we're not fluid, but the counter is excellent (if anyone can work out how to fix the players bunching in highlights let me know)

 

 

The West Brom, Newcastle and West Ham were nicely routine,

Man United vs West Brom stats.png

 

Watch the movement of Rashford for the goal

 

Man United vs Newcastle stats.png

 

And important to also show one of United's main structured ways of scoring goals; overloading the box with runners for the cross

45505591_ManUnitedvsWestHamstats.png.061b4a3c9a16b36698a938dd4530cc88.png

 

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  • themadsheep2001 changed the title to Manchester United 2006-2009: The 4-4-2 That Never Was

If anyone is wondering about training, I use @Rashidi training programs, firstly because I am somewhat lazy with general training, and secondly they create extremely balanced players, and United were all about balance, I then use individual training to tweak aspects

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That was quite unexpected in the roles you chosen.

I would had chosen CWB for Evra and RPM for Scholes.

Wouldn't play out of def and the distribution be overkill?

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4 minutes ago, skyline72 said:

That was quite unexpected in the roles you chosen.

I would had chosen CWB for Evra and RPM for Scholes.

Wouldn't play out of def and the distribution be overkill?

Evra didn't always just dribble, but could pass as well. CWB puts too much of a bias on dribbling. Fernandes is a RPM or DPS depending on how deep the CMs need to play

United played out the centre backs a lot, but keeper still goes long when it's on

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50 minutes ago, themadsheep2001 said:

Evra didn't always just dribble, but could pass as well. CWB puts too much of a bias on dribbling. Fernandes is a RPM or DPS depending on how deep the CMs need to play

United played out the centre backs a lot, but keeper still goes long when it's on

I know they play out of defence a lot. But I remember reading somewhere that its an overkill using both POFD and distributing to cb/fb.

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Just now, skyline72 said:

I know they play out of defence a lot. But I remember reading somewhere that its an overkill using both POFD and distributing to cb/fb.

Can't say I've ever had a problem tbh. Only think I can think of is if you're under extreme pressure from a high pressing side, and your players aren't good enough to pass their way out then you might want to tweak it

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12 minutes ago, themadsheep2001 said:

 

Do you see the "Rooney, Tevez, CR7" roles interchange their positions frequently?

Or did you set the switch postions?

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Brilliant read and not a side that gets as much attention as it maybe should. 

As a Leeds fan I was in awe of this side, especially Ronaldo. 

Could you add the PI's for your alternate formations? 

Also, do you use any OI's? 

In what situations would you use the asymmetric 442 used against Chelsea in the final? 

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Great read. 

It was a long time ago, and therefore I might be mis-remembering, but I always thought the second formation - used in tougher games, especially in Europe, was more of a 4-1-4-1. Carrick would usually be the DM, with two 'runners' either side - usually Anderson and Fletcher. Either Rooney or Ronaldo would play upfront, with the other wide, and Park or Nani would be the other winger.

The other really interesting thing about this side was how it evolved during the 3 seasons. In 06/07 it was a 4-4-2, with Saha (or Larsson) upfront with Rooney and Ronaldo more of a winger. By 08/09 the arrival of Berbatov changed the shape again to be less flexible than in 07/08. 08/09 also saw the emergence of Fletcher (who was used sporadically in the CL season) and also Giggs playing as a CM. 

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Loved this! One of my absolute favourite periods as a Manchester United-fan. As you mentioned it is difficult to pin down the formation they played, but I would still argue that the 06/07-version is quite different to the 07/08 and 08/09-squad, when they added Nani, Anderson, Hargreaves, Tevez and later, Berbatov into the mix.

The 06/07-team was quite possibly my favourite of the lot, and the reason for that is because the title win was quite unexpected. This is my take on the aforemention 06/06-team, and I'll give my reasons for it.

Firstly, Ronaldo was more of a traditional winger, he was both a provided and goal-scorer. The same could be said of Rooney, who always was more of a Litmanen-type player, a 9 and a 1/2, if you could call it that.

Secondly, Scholes and Carrick sat deep, both in the build-up and out of possession. Carrick in his first season tended to play the safe pass to Scholes, who would dictate play and roam around, making himself available for the ball. You could argue that Giggs was more of a classic winger this season, but you still saw him drift inside a lot, in front of Carrick, while Evra was bombing forward. Van Der Sar had a tendency to roll it out to the defenders if it was on, otherwise he would prefer to kick it long. 

Thirdly, they played a mixed set of passes, on a high-ish tempo, but they often slowed it down in the latter stages if they were leading. They tended to use the width, but could go central as well. They did not really press that much, preferring to regroup into two solid banks of four and Rooney harrying the oppossition just in front. Lastly, they always looked to counter at break neck-speeds. Also, the roles tended to change with the personal, as you said. If for example Solskjær was starting, he played as a pure poacher, as his legs had gone.

image.thumb.png.a4ac889e8c3c7dea6c3fa007f7983b5e.png



 

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7 hours ago, howard moon said:

Great read. 

It was a long time ago, and therefore I might be mis-remembering, but I always thought the second formation - used in tougher games, especially in Europe, was more of a 4-1-4-1. Carrick would usually be the DM, with two 'runners' either side - usually Anderson and Fletcher. Either Rooney or Ronaldo would play upfront, with the other wide, and Park or Nani would be the other winger.

The other really interesting thing about this side was how it evolved during the 3 seasons. In 06/07 it was a 4-4-2, with Saha (or Larsson) upfront with Rooney and Ronaldo more of a winger. By 08/09 the arrival of Berbatov changed the shape again to be less flexible than in 07/08. 08/09 also saw the emergence of Fletcher (who was used sporadically in the CL season) and also Giggs playing as a CM. 

If I had more options I would have put a 4-1-4-1 in. But really it varied on who was playing. If he had Scholes and Carrick available he'd tuck them deeper. 

I may yet drop the lopsided 4-4-2 for a 4-1-4-1

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18 hours ago, skyline72 said:

Do you see the "Rooney, Tevez, CR7" roles interchange their positions frequently?

Or did you set the switch postions?

I've done both. But i tend to leave them to make the decisions to move themselves

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10 hours ago, CJ_Randell said:

Brilliant read and not a side that gets as much attention as it maybe should. 

As a Leeds fan I was in awe of this side, especially Ronaldo. 

Could you add the PI's for your alternate formations? 

Also, do you use any OI's? 

In what situations would you use the asymmetric 442 used against Chelsea in the final? 

The PIs dont really change for the alternate versions, obviously you no longer need the STCL instructions

The CMA in the 4-5-1 alternates between that and a BBM (much like Anderson did)

I use one OI only, and that's tight marking a lone forward, that's it

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5 minutes ago, themadsheep2001 said:

I've done both. But i tend to leave them to make the decisions to move themselves

What I meant is, without you setting it, do you see them interchange on themselves?

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The forwards themselves will mostly stick to their side of the pitch (in a manner of speaking) so you have to force it via swap positions if you want them to really interchange.

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10 minutes ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

The forwards themselves will mostly stick to their side of the pitch (in a manner of speaking) so you have to force it via swap positions if you want them to really interchange.

Thats what I thought. So got to manually set the 2 forwards to swap in between themselves. 

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I'm so tempted to go 4-4-2 now. The only stumbling block is the current squad like you mentioned. I guess you definitely need 1 to 3 transfer windows to be able to do justice to the tactics imho.

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I’ve been thinking about the video that @themadsheep2001posted, and the bit towards the end where Fergie said he wanted the team to attack with pace, power, penetration and unpredictability.

Copying the 07/08 team is really hard because of the particular players that the team had - there’s not many Ronaldo’s or Rooney’s about! And the flexibility of the formation is difficult to copy in FM (especially the positional switching between the front 3).

But I’ve been thinking about how you might take these principles and apply them. I suppose there’s a few things you need.

  1. Deeper formation (so 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 rather than a top heavy 4-2-3-1) to encourage the mid-block and the counter attack
  2. Players with high ratings for pace, strength, balance, decisions, flair, vision, off the ball movement, as well as high work rate and teamwork
  3. A relatively balanced mentality (I’m on FM17, so in my game that would be counter, balanced or control)
  4. If using a lower mentality, you’d want something like ‘more direct passing’ to move the ball forward quicker (I assume this happens more in the higher mentalities and the instruction wouldn’t be needed).
  5. Be more expressive applied to the forwards. (On older versions like mine where you had the team shape modifier, perhaps a ‘fluid’ shape, which encourages creative freedom: in fact, the in-game description of ‘fluid’ describes how this team played “the team is split into broad attacking and defensive units with the more creative players responsible for the attacking phase... the team will be encouraged to play more flowing football with players allowed more creative freedom”)
  6. The right PPMs: ‘drops deep’ for the forwards, ‘get into opposition area’ for the ‘Ronaldo’, perhaps ‘plays 1-2s’ for the forwards as well. The Carrick and Scholes roles would need ‘dictates tempo’, ‘switch ball to opposite flank’.
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2 hours ago, Bahamontes said:

I'm so tempted to go 4-4-2 now. The only stumbling block is the current squad like you mentioned. I guess you definitely need 1 to 3 transfer windows to be able to do justice to the tactics imho.

You need two summer windows really. The good thing is that a decent season means you can flog almost everyone you couldn't in the first window, and because your players have relatively high wages, you can claw back so much extra cash. And lots of the player requirements are relatively easily met. The hardest is probably a Ronaldo type, buy Rashford does well here. Dybala is a other great Rooney/Tevez option too

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European matches and a couple of tweaks

So here are the set of results, going as well as can be expected given we're still gelling as a team

Fixtures 1.png

Few key results:

Absolutely crushed Zenit, they matched formation with formation but found themselves outnumbered in both midfield and attack, and never got into the game. If Shortire could finish it would have been closer to 10

1512353526_UnitedvsZenit.png.dabfdb725ad40a61e488dfa5db018d1e.png

 

Pick of the goals:

 

Leicester was a really hard game, Vardy was a handful, and their midfield combined really well. The DPS role for Fernandes was actually very passive, and our CM/D, CM/A, DP/S did not function with the same balance as United's 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 shape

Got the result, but it prompted a little tweak for the big away game against Lazio

1246837236_UnitedvsLeicester.png.23826668bda3d444e19cf629c938bcf3.png

So the main tweak was to drop the tight marking, noticed it disrupted the aggresssive but disciplined middle press

The DPS went back to being the roaming playmaker role, and I went Box to Box for the Anderson role

278528182_UNited4-5-1tweak.png.45c0fc39f008ca4fbaf6ab8505785d51.png

The changes for the Lazio game were excellent:

402346783_UnitedvsLazio.png.49c81894f55b5ce0912d74fe75594c98.png

Did to Lazio what United did to Roma back in 2008, with the exception of Pogba ( who was sent off) the team was excellent.

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I do sometimes wish Bruno would play in a deeper role in real life like you have him here. His work rate and technical ability would make him a brilliant no.8, and be a much more effective way of getting him and Pogba or VDB in the same starting 11.

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My own interpretation varies a bit (the Ronaldo role being on the right mainly) so the mileage might not be 1:1 but I really can't stress enough that when looking for a potential 'Ronaldo' buy if you're not keeping it in house, to have a pretty high priority on either already having a strong aerial presence or the potential to be molded into one. So often I see the roaming IW-A crop up centrally between the strikers in the box, let alone the benefits coming in at the far post when he doesn't.

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2 hours ago, skyline72 said:

@themadsheep2001

Have you tried using 1 Treq and 1 CF(s)?

Since Rooney is more of a creator between the 3 of them. 

No, Martinez is just about to finish learning killer balls, and then I'll decide on comes deeper. What I need is the killer pass that Rooney has. Martinez not far away from being that player

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The biggest problem modern United have is that they have neither a "Tevez" or "Rooney" up front. You're going to have to be prepared to sign two forwards capable of being creators. Haaland can be an elite all rounder, Dybala fits the bill, Depay is a great option

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This is the kind of quality you're trying to replicate, it's sometimes forgotten that the trident were right up there with the best in Europe. Even if the player isn't elite, you're trying to buy someone who has a strong all round game. Twice. 

8-273752-wayne-rooney.jpg.8c4eb191ceb6c92c6dc1b2b23ed8ad97.jpg

 

8-273758-carlos-tevez.jpg.e3934ae2153b8329265db25f35fb42ca.jpg

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Awesome post! Really motivated me to create a similar tactic to arguably Fergie's greatest team. Used a tactic similar to yours albeit with some different roles and instructions and also used it with a save that is about 15 years into the future. My team was constructed and youth developed to accommodate a possession heavy tactic that I've been using to great success. I'm not sure if its due to the specific development process I used to develop my player into highly technical players capable of playing such as possession oriented style of play, but most of my players specifically the forwards developed into technically brilliant footballers but not so much physically. Below is a picture of Toni Portilla one of my re/newgens that encapsulate the type of footballer I believe is needed to play a possession style effectively.

1862470286_ToniPotilla.PNG.632ae465aae1ce7b70db9d0caff0bda0.PNG

As I previously stated, technically gifted but physically ( acceleration, pace, balance, agility) lacking. My other two forwards are pretty much of the same mold. Anyway, I used the Ferguson tactic I had created for a whole season and as to be expected results were mixed. Finished 4th in the league and knocked out of the champions league quarter finals despite employing a team that had consistently made the later stages of the tournament routinely. I guess I thought I could brute force the tactic to work through my teams sheer talent level but that was not the case. As you mentioned, you really do need the right players, specifically the all important trident to be not only technically but physically talented, which was the part that most of my players lacked. Part of Ferguson's Man Utd that made them really special and dangerous was their ability to punish teams on the counter, which I guess isn't something you can accomplish with a bunch of forwards with 12 acceleration and 11 pace. Either way it was a fun experiment that really showcased the need for specific players to make certain tactics work and it also made me start a new save where the goal is to perhaps focus on the physical side of player development which I haven't really tried and see if i can then make the tactic work once the correct type of players have been developed/recruited. Once again, awesome post! 

Edited by Yellowbucket58
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Has anyone given Mohanad Ali a look at? Not sure what his potential ceiling is like and he isn't ready out the gate, but he does start in the mold of a pressing forward (and thus has pretty good starting mentals which are harder to target IMO) whilst also being fairly cheap.

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8 hours ago, themadsheep2001 said:

This is the kind of quality you're trying to replicate, it's sometimes forgotten that the trident were right up there with the best in Europe. Even if the player isn't elite, you're trying to buy someone who has a strong all round game. Twice. 

8-273752-wayne-rooney.jpg.8c4eb191ceb6c92c6dc1b2b23ed8ad97.jpg

 

8-273758-carlos-tevez.jpg.e3934ae2153b8329265db25f35fb42ca.jpg

Football Manager 2009?

Edited by AceCream
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15 hours ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

Has anyone given Mohanad Ali a look at? Not sure what his potential ceiling is like and he isn't ready out the gate, but he does start in the mold of a pressing forward (and thus has pretty good starting mentals which are harder to target IMO) whilst also being fairly cheap.

Dusan Vlahovic  at Fiorentina is worth a look as a longer term option, as is potentially Breel Embolo (havent seen his PPMs yet, but also covers right mid)

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21 minutes ago, themadsheep2001 said:

Dusan Vlahovic  at Fiorentina is worth a look as a longer term option, as is potentially Breel Embolo (havent seen his PPMs yet, but also covers right mid)

I'm playing as Schalke, creating a version of this system and I'm hoping Juventus send West McKennie back as I'm looking to use him in the Tevez role. image.thumb.png.47377f7f6f12073bae776090c1595c10.png

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On 16/04/2021 at 00:54, themadsheep2001 said:

This is the kind of quality you're trying to replicate, it's sometimes forgotten that the trident were right up there with the best in Europe. Even if the player isn't elite, you're trying to buy someone who has a strong all round game. Twice. 

8-273752-wayne-rooney.jpg.8c4eb191ceb6c92c6dc1b2b23ed8ad97.jpg

 

8-273758-carlos-tevez.jpg.e3934ae2153b8329265db25f35fb42ca.jpg

It’s easy to forget just how good Rooney was back then. Pretty much the complete footballer. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I watched it and it really got me thinking, because I don't remember Ronaldo being on the left that much that season vs the way it was talked about?  Maybe I'm getting old and my memory is failing me. :idiot:

Does have me wanting to try the midfield pairing in the DM strata though to see how that plays out.

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On 27/04/2021 at 00:05, NotSoSpecialOne said:

I watched it and it really got me thinking, because I don't remember Ronaldo being on the left that much that season vs the way it was talked about?  Maybe I'm getting old and my memory is failing me. :idiot:

Does have me wanting to try the midfield pairing in the DM strata though to see how that plays out.

Your memory is quite correct, Ronaldo rarely played on the left. In this game it most probably was because Essien played RB and Fergie wanted to exploit that. 

The left was typically occupied by either Giggs or Park

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