Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Manchester United vs Arsenal

This game was a game where nothing was really to play for apart from the obvious pride and bragging rights. Manchester united strength is there left side featuring the likes of Young ,and Fellaini. They proved to be a handful in this game aswell. Arsenal however like to play through the middle using there creative skills but this game was uncharacteristic of arsenal they played longballs, sat reasonably deep and look to hit man utd on the counter when the ball was won deep in transition.

 Man united pressing

In this section i just wanted to highlight uniteds pressing. They were consciously leaving their positions to ensure Arsenal weren't getting any time on the ball in the middle were they are very dangerous were they can get the best out of their nippy technical creative players. Here you can see Blind has faith in the high line man united are holding and is more concerned with the man on the ball the same goes for Rojo who left his Lb position to press up.

Here Valencia the RB steps up to put pressure on his winger he followed into Arsenals half. Falcoa reacts to help him press. They win the ball from this situation and it creates a chances through Falcoa.
This is just to highlight how man united were so set on making sure arsenals midfield/attackers had no time and space on the ball.

Great organisation by United everyone knows there roles in and out of possession. Fellaini presses so his midfield organise themselves in a way were there is no space for Arsenal to play in. Behind Mata is Daley Blind who is there to mark the space in the lines and collect and lose balls or player that come into that zone. If need be he will press and the defense will re-organise sounds so simple but its very difficult to coach as a collective unit.

United find space in between the lines of Arsenal 

This happened to many times to put all the examples in so ive just highlighted a few to show how poor Arsenal are defensively at times.

Chance 1

Time and time again united kept finding space in between the lines of Arsenal. As Arsenal main objective in this match was to keep it tight and counter they couldnt do either effectively.

Here is Mata in space how can Arsenal allow a player of his quality in that much space??? They're marking well in the box and there is pressure on the ball but no-one picks him up in between the lines. 

Here is the next sequence in the move and now mata has the ball in the space i highlight previously. Not only is a dangerous player in between their lines they dont have enough horizontal compactness. The space between the cb and lb is huge . Mata has the space to play the ball dissecting the lines. To add to this drama Koscienly has not seen the run of falcoa. Luckily this chance didn't result in a goal but it should have.

Chance 2

Herrera and mata are in space Arsenal are deep and conceding space in front. Fellaini vs Coquelin is a mismatch and Fellaini easily out muscles him. Fellaini has options here and chooses Herrera in space.

Arsenal are narrow and are now conceding space out wide. The ball gets played to Mata who sees Young in space trying to stretch arsenal and entice them to press to disjoint them.

Here Young cuts in and Again united should score from this sort of oppurtunity. In addition ive also added that the man on the far post is free and unmarked which is a common theme of Arsenal and were they leak a lot of there goals. For me this is due to the positioning of the wide men they are higher up pressing and lack that defensive workrate/instinct to cover these spaces which leak so many goals.

Manchester united defensive organisation

Man united were really impressive  from the defensive point of view they were solid and compact knowing when to press and when to drop. Unlike Arsenal when they dropped deeper the wide men covered the spaces easing the pressure of the fullback.

When united were deep

This is how Arsenal should have been set up all the spaces covered pressure on the ball and a threat in transition with fellaini. 

Forcing arsenal long

Metersacker has no option here other than to hit a long ball or pass it back to the goalkeeper which he did who then played a long pass just what united wanted (stop arsenal having the ball in the central areas). United did this time and time again cutting out the options arsenal have in midfield forcing them out wide where they are less comfortable. It also allows Arsenal to become disjointed.

Arsenal pressing from the front 

Arsenal pressed from the front with Ozil and Giroud in central areas pressing heavily and ramsey and Sanchez out wide cutting out options. United werent really affected by this as blind dropped deep to create 3v2. Jones made a few errors but they werent to do with Arsenal pressing they were just unprovoked individual errors.

Here United deal with Arsenals press easily as the goalkeeper helps creates a 4v2. If the Arsenal players stand on the to cb's then blind can dribble through the centre or pass to the gk. If they press him he then has 3 options.

United goal analysis

Young had a great game. Here on the left extremely wide he cause all sorts of problems dribbling at pace the Fb didnt know whether he would go right foot or left foot. Herrera is going to travel all this distance and not be marked at all infact not even one arsenal player looks at him thats how bad Arsenal are in the defensive phase.

Young delivers a left foot cross to the far post where Herrera is unmarked. This is a common theme with Arsenal leaving a man free at the back post is very dangerous. There wide players are more focused on pressing and attacking than helping out deeper in their own half which has its huge negatives in the modern game. Just outside the box Sanchez tries to get back but he's way too late to recover and Herrera finishes it in the bottom corner.


Manchester united overall deserved the win and Arsenal should count themselves lucky they got a point which came via a deflection. I could have gave more examples of Arsenals poor display but in truth we've seen it time after time. Arsenal came to play long even when it wasnt necessary.They  didnt fill the spaces well enough for a team looking to sit deep and counter. The backpost issue with Arsenal is a simple one which needs adressing should they want to win a title again.Manchester united just didnt captalize on their chances which is an issue for Van gaal and money is surely to be spent in the summer in this area as Falcoa and Van persie just look way past it.


  1. Nice analysis mate!
    I think United were brilliant for most of the game and killed off everything Arsenal had going forward, but they tired later on and didn't bring on Di Maria or James Wilson who (probably) would have added a 2nd goal in the 2nd half on the counter. It will be interesting to see how these two add to their squad as they along with City will be Chelsea's biggest challengers next year!
    Anyway great read man
    Judah: https://footballtactics1415.wordpress.com/

    1. Yeah cheers mate. I was mainly focusing on how bad Arsenal were i couldnt believe the spaces they were leaving united. They couldn't really work out if they were sitting deep and countering or pressing high up i think they desperately need defensive minded players who fill the spaces i highlighted. As for united they didn't finish their chances so i think they'll definitely buy a striker. Thanks again for reading mate always appreciated.