Tactical view of Manchester United ahead of Sunday.

I think we all know what to expect from Manchester United these days. A team that works hard for each other and for their Manager. What y...

Sir Alex Ferguson Manager Manchester United 2010/11 Manchester United V Arsenal (1-0) 13/12/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

I think we all know what to expect from Manchester United these days. A team that works hard for each other and for their Manager. What you see is what you get and I still firmly believe that if you finish above Manchester United you will win the League.

Fergie has had a pop at Chelsea this morning as posted by me earlier, but stepping away from my Blue Blinkered glasses for a moment you have to agree that in certain essential positions he has a point about his side having experience and of that there is no question. It's how they perform on the pitch that matters on Sunday in a game at Stamford Bridge where they have failed to win in the previous eight years!.

The interesting thing for me about Sunday looking at United is wondering whether or not Sir Alex will give it a go and play two up front, or play his tried and trusted formation for the "big games" and play 4-5-1 with Rooney up top by himself. The fact they have played Monday night against the Arse and won (albeit looking leggy if you ask me) may sway Sir Alex in sticking with the same formation. However, I wouldn't put it passed him to come to the Bridge and have a go!.

So here's my take on United.

Van Der Saar.
Strengths - Confident, Assured, Dealing with crosses,Communicates well with the back four.
Weakness - Is susceptible to shots that bounce in front of him and can take his eye off the ball.

Strengths - Bundles of energy, strong in the tackle, pacey.
Weakness - At times loses his temper, can get caught in behind. 

Strengths - Likes to get forward, loves a tackle and pacey
Weakness - Short temper, dives into tackles when should stand up.

Strengths - Strong, Reads the game well. Ariel threat from Corners.
Weakness - Get's turned easily, lacks pace and has been out muscled before by Drogba.

Strengths - Pace, composed on the ball, reads the game well.
Weakness - Not the best "defender", get's caught ball watching and sucked out of position.

Strengths - The original Duracell Bunny, works hard all over the pitch
Weakness - Not the quickest, get's tired and doesn't track back. 

Strengths - Will run all day, works hard in all area's of the pitch, composed on the ball and picks the right moments to get forward.
Weakness - Likes to dish it out but can't take it when the same happens to him. Likes to "moan" at the Referee rather than concentrate on the game.

Strengths - Skillful, quick feet, tricks up his sleeve and likes to get forward
Weakness - Labours defensively, tires quickly and isn't the most mobile of Midfielders.

Strengths - Great passer of a ball and composed with the ball at his feet in space.
Weakness - Put under pressure he panics, loses possession and isn't the best defensively.

Strengths - Pace, tricks, skillful bags of ability and scores plenty of goals.
Weakness - Doesn't track back, final ball at times is lacking and dives like he has been shot. Along with Fletcher likes a moan at the Referee when things not going his way. Added to that Greedy at times when a pass is the better option.

Strengths - Powerful, strong, scores goals, good in the air and deceivingly quick.
Weakness - Temperament, loses his head, isolated at times and gets frustrated easily.

The United Way..

It's plain and simple. They work very hard when they don't have the ball and it's the job of at least 9 players to get back behind the ball. In defensive area's they like both wingers to come narrow into the middle of Midfield and force the opposition to play wide. They have confidence in their full backs to deal with the threat out wide and the solid base down the spine of their side to deal with anything in or around the box.

With the ball there are two outlets to their play, Wayne Rooney and Nani. When United break on the counter you will often see a ball played to one of these two to either hold up or lay a quick ball off to someone and make a burst forward.

Nani Manchester United 2010/11 Manchester United V Arsenal (1-0) 13/12/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Nani will run at our defence all game. This season he has added a better final ball to his game but still at times is more than greedy when a better option is to cross it or play a pass (The other night when Rooney was screaming for the ball and didn't get it so made Nani well aware he wasn't pleased!).

To combat the threat of Nani you need to double up on him or mark him touch tight. If he is put under pressure he becomes frustrated and prefers to dive around making out he has been hurt rather than focus on using his skill to beat players. If you mark him touch tight with someone round on the cover, you can more or less deal with him comfortably. If Nani has time and space to first get the ball under control and then space to turn and take your man on, have a run at him or consider his option he will hurt you.

Wayne Rooney Manchester United 2010/11 Gael Clichy Arsenal Manchester United V Arsenal (1-0) 13/12/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Now Wayne Rooney and what can you say about Rooney that we don't already know. Some people say he isn't playing the best or is in the best form right now but we have to remember that class is permanent. He will find his feet and his goal touch again of that there is no doubt. Strong with the ball at his feet, composed and willing to run in behind the defence he is an obvious threat.

Playing up front on his own is something he relishes. He loves a battle with John Terry and will look forward to it. He isn't scared of going up against two defenders and loves the challenge. We must not let him have any time and space in and around our box as we all know he likes to have a pop from distance. Also Rooney is better in the air than people give him credit for.

Rooney will work hard for you all game. Will close down defences to put them under pressure and is willing to track back if needed.

There is a question about his temperament which we are all aware of. I think deep down if someone asked you what's the best way to play Wayne Rooney then the answer would be to "wind him up!". His temper is suspect and if he finds himself on Sunday with Ivanovic up his arse and niggling away at him, as time goes on his will become distracted, frustrated and play right into our hands. It will be interesting to see how he copes with Ivanovic. He may think he is comfortable going up against Terry but Ivanovic is a different type of defender all together.

How to play United.

For me the way to play United is to move the ball quickly and play at a higher tempo. You Isolate Rooney up front and man mark Nani to take them out of the game and focus very much on your own attacking play. On Sunday Paulo Ferreira could have a big influence in the game as it depends on how United line up. Patrice Evra seems to me at times isolated in defence down his side, our right hand side. How many times on Monday did Arsenal look to get the ball wide right. Park or whoever plays there needs to get back and help him, but they are vulnerable down that side.

Aruna Dindane Portsmouth 2009/10 Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda Chelsea Chelsea V Portsmouth (1-0) 15/05/10 The FA Cup Final Wembley Stadium Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Another part of our game to focus our left hand side. Nani doesn't track back and if he does he is more or less powder puff in the tackle. With Lampard back, Florent Malouda already ahead of him, Ashley Cole getting forward linking up with Malouda in particular is a threat for anyone. If and I mean if, Rafael plays this could be the main area Chelsea look to attack. If Malouda can keep him occupied, Cole can really have a positive affect on the game getting forward.

Chelsea also need to get in behind their Midfield and in to the space between them and the Defence. If Frank Lampard and Michael Essien can find themselves in space goal side of the likes of Fletcher, Carrick and Anderson then we can cause them all sorts of problems. If this happens, Ferdinand will get sucked out of the defensive line to deal with threat and leave Vidic isolated one on one with Drogba. I don't know about you lot, but I would back Drogba to turn Vidic and use his strength to get in the box.

Wembley Stadium Chelsea v Manchester United (3-0) Community Shield 08/08/2010 Didier Drogba (Chelsea) is robbed of a shooting opportunity by Manchester United Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Ferdinand and Vidic are not happy playing against Didier Drogba or any powerful centre forward at the best of times. Vidic is the one to pick up the man and mark and Ferdinand likes to sweep up. At times Ferdinand gets caught ball watching or get's sucked out of position and does leave Vidic isolated as I have just said, but this also is key for the likes of Lampard making a late run into the box. Carrick isn't your stereotypical defensive midfielder. Ok, yes he can win a tackle and is not scared of putting his foot in, but he doesn't track the late run. Ferdinand getting sucked out of position is one to watch for on Sunday. As I have said, Drogba finding himself one on one with Vidic and Lampard not being tracked making a late run could be key to a Chelsea win.

So there we have it, my (trying to be) unbiased look at Manchester United ahead of the game on Sunday. I could include someone like Scholes or Berbatov in my look at their side, but think Rooney starts and with Sir Alex starting out with the 4-5-1 formation it means he will stick with the players that played on Monday. There maybe one change with Scholes coming back in, but I am taking it at the moment that he isn't.

Like I said with United, what you see is what you get. A hard working side with obvious goal threats to consider. They have their set defensive shape without the ball and will look to break forward on the counter attack whenever they can. They do have their weaknesses individually as I have listed above and as a team and let's hope that Chelsea can exploit them all on Sunday!.


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