Hi I’m Masa United.
22-23 Premier League Matchday 3. United faced arch-rivals Liverpool at home. United opened the scoring in the 16th minute with Sancho’s superb goal. In the 53rd minute of the second half, Martial stole the ball in the opposition box and made a through pass to Rashford. Rashford calmly sank it in to take a two-goal lead. Liverpool also scored a goal in the 81st minute when Salah pushed in, but United brought on Wan-Bissaka, Ronaldo and Van de Beek in the 86th minute. Including Fred, who entered the pitch in the 71st minute, he refreshed the squad and succeeded in escaping. With a 2-1 win over their arch-rivals, they scored their first victory of the season.
Click here for the highlights of the match
Why did United, who had been sluggish from the start, beat tough Liverpool? This time, we will look back at the match with 4 points for the victory against Liverpool!
The following items are included.
The first point is the lineup and player selection. United’s starting line-up against Liverpool has changed four wickets from the 4-0 defeat against Brentford. Out of the starting lineup were Maguire, Shaw, Fred and Ronaldo. They were replaced by Varane, Malasia, McTominay and Elanga. The four players who were out of the starting line-up were not the reason for the defeat against Brentford, but I feel that they were judged comprehensively by combining performance, condition and tactical fitness. Also, the key points against Liverpool were to increase the intensity, launch a speedy attack and work hard as a team. I will write more about it from the next section, but I think that this year’s selection of starters is the result of placing these three points on points.Embed from Getty Images
As for the system, it uses a 4-2-3-1 instead of the 4-3-3 used in the pre-season and opening two games. The double DMF between McTominay and Eriksen put the center of gravity behind the table is largely due to the fact that their opponent is Liverpool. Against Liverpool in a 4-3-3 formation, they can almost hit the man-mark and this system was chosen because they expected to be pushed in for a long time. Especially in pressing, it would have been easy for a United player to have a clear marker. Anchor Henderson was manned by Bruno and McTominay watched Milner take a fuzzy position. I think that the role of the press was clear, such as Dalot’s relentless hitting against Diaz and Varane’s defence going to intercept Firmino in the opposition line.
(2) Tactical changes
It has a lot to do with the lineup and system mentioned above, but the next point was the tactics of this match. Ten Hague has made possession a pillar of his team’s tactics since joining United. Connect passes from your own side, build up, form units and move forward. The ideal football is for a coach to overwhelm the opponent with possession and take a long time to attack. In the pre-season, we had a good feeling in possession and we were definitely improving, but when the Premiership started, the build-up scene was targeted. They struggled with Brighton’s high press in the opening game and conceded two goals against Brentford due to a build-up error.
*Click here for the previous article.
In response, Ten hag changed his team’s tactics against Liverpool. They stopped the build-up from their own side and used a counter-tactic to quickly get behind Liverpool’s back line when they got the ball. This is why the starters were Rashford and Elanga instead of Ronaldo, and as a result, these two players came on the counter-attack in the first half. Rashford’s second goal was a short counter, but the build-up didn’t force it, and in fact, almost all of his goal kicks were like kicking long balls. Liverpool’s possession rate is 70% and United’s 30%, which is clearly different from the opening two games numerically.Embed from Getty Images
In a way, this way of fighting is the same as that of former coach Solskjaer. However, the big difference between Solskjaer and Ten Hag is that coach Ten Hag doesn’t let his guard that much. That’s where it is. Especially in the first half, we pressed from the front and tried to steal the ball from a high position by linking with a man mark at the back. As the second half progressed, we were pushed more time and our centre of gravity dropped, largely due to Liverpool’s up-gear up. And even when we attacked quickly, we didn’t just complete it with the players in front of us, but we also pushed up the back line firmly and supported them so that we could bring it to the late attack. The opening goal came from United pushing in possession and just before the finish it was a typical form of Ten Hag coach Ten Hag’s style of breaking down, with Elanga taking the near zone and then sending a negative cross to Sancho.
In this way, Ten Hag has revised his tactics from the perspective of facing Liverpool, but in a sense, it can be said that he has returned to a tactic that suits his stature from the contents of the opening two matches. Fights that stifle opponents in possession will likely require a lot of training, but with regard to the Liverpool game, this change of course can be said to have been a good fit.
(3) Stepping on the back line
Another point of this match was the hard work of the four defenders. The starters Varane, Martinez, Dalot and Malacia gave great emotional performances. Starting in place of Maguire, Varane took on the role of defensive leader and defended more aggressively than Valane usually would. He has a 100% chance of winning aerial battles, four tackles, the most in the world, and eight clearances. Dalot also sealed Diaz with a tight mark. There were times when I was taken by a foul, but obviously I was hitting more aggressively than usual.Embed from Getty Images
Two new signings, Malacia and Martinez, also put in impressive performances. Facing Salah, Malasia did not let the ace do a decisive job despite being the Premiership’s first starter. Both teams have recorded a record of eight tackles, the most of any team combined. Anyway, his concentration and speed were excellent, and I am confident that he and Martinez acted as a “bulwark” on the left flank. Martinez, who was selected for MOTM, gave a passionate performance just like a “dog fight”. In the opening minute, Salah went to crush him fiercely, and in the 40th minute, he threw out his body and blocked Salah’s shot inside the box. After this play, he received a high touch from the backline members. Martinez has a high ability to detect crises and has the impression that there are many moves to quickly notice and fill dangerous spaces. In the first half, he returned with all his might the moment the long ball he kicked passed to the opponent and prepared for the counter, and in the 57th minute, a play from Liverpool’s throw-in blocked Diaz from running into the space on the right flank and Martinez came into the cover. It’s really great to be able to hit hard but always be calm and one step ahead and play. Height may be an issue in future matches, but personally I’d give CB Martinez the lead. No, seriously, I love it (lol).Embed from Getty Images
By the way, the point of the opening goal was Martinez’s direct pass. Martinez sent Malasia’s back pass directly to Elanga, but Liverpool’s reverse pass left the Liverpool defence in a pause. It was a casual play, but I think it was quite effective. Being able to pass is also an attraction of Martinez. He’s a player who gets caught up in the CB.
* Lisandro Martinez vs Liverpool!
(4) Team Spirit
The last is the team spirit. I could tell that not only the backline in the previous section, but also all the players approached the match with a strong feeling and played with all their might. Bruno worked hard as captain both offensively and defensively, and Rashford also struggled defensively, showing sliding tackles on the touchline while also playing the role of aiming for space. I think it was a great bounce-back from the disappointing performances of the opening two races. While the 14km less distance than the opponent against Brentford was the talk of the town, United in the game against Liverpool ran a total of 113.78 km in 155 sprints, which is more than Liverpool’s 110.6 km and 51 more sprints. Martinez and Varane had leg cramps at the end, but I don’t remember a game in the last few years where everyone worked so hard.Embed from Getty Images
It is also commendable that we were able to fight as a team. There were calls for calls from players everywhere, heart-warming reactions to good plays, and conversely, calls for correction for dangerous plays, and the sub players were also concentrating on the match and exploding with joy when they scored the opening goal. Partly because of the cheers of the home crowd, it overwhelmed Liverpool in terms of atmosphere and mentality. The fact that the players on the pitch and the bench showed a willingness to fight as one may go back to the fuggy era. Bruno and Varane have shown leadership, the three new signings have played hotly, while Rashford and Sancho, two of United’s future-shaking, have scored goals. Martial in the middle of the match does his job well and stirs up the crowd (laughs), and the coach always gives instructions from the pitchside. I felt that it was a perfect match.
Despite Liverpool’s injury-plagued squad and no wins from the start, it is safe to say that they were able to defeat last season’s runners-up in the double crown, second place in the Premiership and runners-up in the CL. The points of victory were the four items that we have seen above. Without a doubt, the most important of these was the team spirit of (4). Many United supporters were shouting, “This is what I’ve always wanted to see!” or “This is United!” I think I was moved to tears, but I am honestly happy that they showed their “attitude” of fighting with a strong feeling as a team.
However, personally, I think that “mischief” is that we do not approach it only with “attitude”. It is true that we were united in our remorse against Brentford, but Coach Ten Hag did not neglect to prepare for the match. This is reflected in the tactics and the lineup. The Premier is not sweet enough to win just by feeling. It is also important to have a “methodology” to lead it to victory. Ten Hag is a director who is very particular about details. I feel that the point of this victory is not only to correct the attitude toward the match, but also to prepare a methodology for winning, and to use a methodology tailored to the players and that the players think they can “do” rather than imposing their own way.Embed from Getty Images
And the most important thing is to keep this fight going. “Because we were against our nemesis, Liverpool,” or “because the game against Brentford was terrible.” That’s not good. We need to maintain this level of enthusiasm, intensity and teamwork in every game. There is no doubt that United-level players will come close to winning if they work this hard. And we have even more “right” commanders this season. In terms of tactics, it may take some time to stabilize, but I want you to believe in the path you have chosen and move forward step by step. Against Liverpool, United definitely showed the right form.
As a result of this match, United moved up to 14th place. It will be interesting to see how Ten Hague will approach the next match against the Gegenpress Saints! And the new fighting power Casemiro! Expectation!!
The next match is against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium. Kick-off 27 August at 20:30.Come on! United!!
Thank you for reading until the end!