Manchester United – Arsenal: About a lack of organization, mentality, game tilt & why the score doesn't reflect the performance by either team.


[THREAD] Image
Arsenal started the first minutes well off, unafraid to press United high. Carrick's men found it difficult to find passing outlets to evade the press. Arsenal were compact and high, cutting connections for the backline to advance to the midfield – improvement needed for ManU. Image
It was easy for Arsenal to isolate Manchester United. Without any midfield options, the back-line panicked for simple pressures that could be overcome with some reasonable amount of structure / pre-defined roles. Yesterday, that did not seem to exist for the hosts. Image
It remains incomprehensible that United could not find basic solutions to Arsenal's pressing – players did not offer themselves as outlets in pressure. De Gea was stuck with two CB's unable to overcome te press – and had no passing options that would compromise possession. Image
United's awareness, as a collective & as individuals was horrific. Here's an example of Arsenal intercepting the ball – that United had not seen the runner is a blatant lack of awareness, a horrific rookie mistake. Knowing your surroundings makes a different in football. Image
When Arsenal found themselves high up the pitch in possession of the ball, I liked the triangles but I also disliked the lack of unity. It often felt like it was a couple of stranded islands in the Pacific Ocean instead of one unity. It will improve, but lacking so far. Image
Not only could United not evade Arsenal's pressure in the first minutes, but they also failed to press Arsenal, too. Here's a classic example of United having the minority – credits to ElNeny who often made himself available in crucial situations. Easy press to overcome. Image
More ElNeny appreciation: Scans before, is aware where is United's weakness – the abandoned right-wing. He knows his next move before the opponent is aware, and it results in free space – horrendous awareness by United once again. ImageImage
Arsenal failed to take advantage of the opportunity in this occasions – but it's clear that the breakthrough is dangerous. This is a mere result of United's defense trying to hoof the ball long to clear –– a psychological toll. Arsenal are in a *good* position to hurt United. Image
When United finally overcame Arsenal's lines in the midfield, Arsenal often faced the issue of interpretation: The structure is *good*, the *execution* is horrendous. Two isolated players, Arsenal are in a position to easily stop this counter-attack – yes they fail to do so. ImageImageImageImage
Was very disappointed in Aubameyang, especially in this situation: Has the perfect opportunity to get a valuable shot & scared United away despite not scoring – hoofs it straight at the keeper instead.

Arsenal suffered from a fixating point in the center of the forward line. Image
Classical example of Partey's potential & limitations: Is rightly positioned, has identified what he wants to do. However has forgotten to correct his timing & body orientations: Loses the ball as a result & becomes v dangerous for Arsenal.

Partey needs massive improvement. ImageImage
As a consequence, United had amazing turnovers – in this situation, Ronaldo takes a hazardous shot – yet off the ball runs around him are on point – hard to blame the entirety of Arsenal when it's Partey's repeated errors that create the said situation. Image
United, when they finally decided to commit more men, were often too late – equally so in some situation for Arsenal – the latter used that to their advantage, creating space & advancing by merely passing the ball – waiting for the opponent to create the space themselves. Image
Would like to stress that Arsenal's base structure is *good*, though it needs improvement. The idea is there for sure, and despite it's nothing revolutionary, it is pleasing to see some implemented principles. Stretching the pitch was well done in the beginnings. Image
A run off the ball to divert attention while the teammate stays wide: Overloads well executed, United taking the bait. Arsenal still lack the precision, but stressing the following: The base idea/structure is noticeable, despite tweaks are still needed – understandably so. Image
Unfortunately for Arsenal, doubts were noticeable around the 20th minute: Pressure was applied less accurately in terms of timing, you could see hesitancy when attempting defensive actions & there seemed to be a lack of faith or belief: This is when United started rising. Image
It gradually became easier for Manchester to build-up without pressure as only two men suddenly pressed them – it gave more time for United to think & often left Fred unmarked – key in possession despite his numerous mistakes – in order to continue progressing. Image
Partey's limitations resurfaced in the worst situations: When evading pressure. Arsenal are patient enough to invited pressure, and Partey needs to be *accurate* – but fails to do so. That is why until Partey will learn that, Xhaka will continue as a key player in the midfield. Image
I however really liked how ESR tried to 'join' the team, and ElNeny's use of space was also key – the two were key in space occupation, but obviously the context of the players needs to improve, so that Arsenal can use those moments even more to progress efficiently. Image
Understanding United's intentions is hard – what do they exactly want to do? That was a recurrent question that I asked myself throughout the match – without a clear answer. A lot still feels like a lot of interpretation, without a basic structure.

Structure is important. Image
Panic quickly ravaged Arsenal, and that in the worst of situations – susceptible to a simple switch of play, Arsenal was too passive, as if they were afraid. It screams a lack of leadership, clarity – despite Arteta did not request any of that. Young players. Image
United however failed to be as effective as they had the potential to in key instances. It takes long for the players to switch, several warnings from teammates and almost a trenches-like stalemate for them to understand where to go next. Overloads need massive improvement. Image
Rashford on the right however seems threatening, more than he has been recently. I like his off the ball run, key in a team where this profile lacks a lot. Barring injuries, there are little reasons why Rashford won't be key this season – very important. Image
Arsenal's influence in the half-spaces diminished quickly: It suddenly became easy for United to open up Arsenal, through the same method Arsenal had operated earlier: A run in the box, another in the half-space: Too much to track down, and United are in advantage. ImageImage
That United could receive the ball in those key spaces remains incomprehensible. This is mostly due to a lack of concentration/awareness, yet it remains horrendous. The transitions therefore became an issue, despite starting out as a compact unit.

Arteta will not be happy. Image
This game was pre-defined by the first minutes, ambitious from Arsenal, to a sudden death where Arsenal suffocated themselves. Arteta has said to not be happy about it – as it was not in his expectations nor instructions. It's something that most likely will improve.
United didn't have the structure but had the key difference-makers, while Arsenal had the structure but didn't have the key different-maker in the center of the forward line – with Auba being too insufficient.

Arsenal's loss has a lot of valuable lessons.
Pessimism is understandable, but fans should know they're on the right track. There is work, but of course, it's not well-oiled yet – but I believe it will improve with time. As for United, Rangnick's main job is to provide core ideas/basic structure.
Many players have potential, can/should do better but cannot express themselves in a non-destructive way for their teammates: They need a spider web so that they can complement each other: Most of the players are *good*, but they need a project and fast.
Any of the critique serve as mere observation: They are not supposed to serve as conclusion or slander. They're only there for me to serve as a shared notebook.

I hope you will have enjoyed this thread as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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More from @__ElJdP

5 Dec
Real Betis – F.C Barcelona: First defeat under Xavi: What went wrong, how to use Barcelona's weaknesses & interesting substitutions.


[THREAD] Image
1/ Real Betis cut off access to Busquets by playing two forwards between Araujo/Lenglet & Sergio. Full-backs were also man-marked, leaving Barcelona w/ the following question:
"How do we advance from there?"

They found the answer after a while: Patience to move Betis. ImageImageImageImage
2/Barcelona exploited the principle of "Pass in front->receive->pass back-> advance", which resulted in a good occupation of space Real Betis left open, but the efficiency in the last few actions still lacks, unfortunately.

Time is given, and space is created. ImageImage
Read 30 tweets
28 Nov
Villarreal - F.C Barcelona:
Through struggle comes faith, or why Barcelona can/should be grateful for yesterday's win in the near future ~


It is in the first minutes that Abde had already showed the world why he started against Villarreal. A 1v1 winger that Barcelona lack, able to receive the ball thanks to his runs off the ball & Abde toyed with his marker throughout the night.

A unique profile in the squad.
Barcelona made frequent use of Abde's positioning off the ball + dribbling abilities as they were often caught in a dead-lock in the left despite frequent overloads. Excellent defending on the left, but abysmal on the right as Abde's 1v1 aptitudes gave Barcelona an advantage.
Read 39 tweets
24 Nov
Success in failure and why yesterday's draw was beautiful in its own way.

Similar patterns repeated right away as Demir and Alba were tasked as width-holders on either wing, both with significant responsibilities they managed well. Gavi once again enjoyed runs in his opponent's blind-stop, helping Barcelona open up – i.e Nico in this situation.
Benfica pressured Barcelona well in the opening phase, but Lenglet's outreach combined with his teammates dropping deep meant that Benfica's pressure could easily be bypassed without losing too many men in advanced zones. A pattern Xavi's team @ Al-Sadd shared.
Read 26 tweets
23 Nov
Football's cruel, even at youth level. Barcelona's Juvenil A lost 3-0 to Benfica. Though the result suggests uncontested dominance, Barcelona's first half only lacked very little to change the game. Notably that most of Juvenil A's players are born in 2004 (1y younger than me!).
The group was very difficult for Barcelona. Benfica & Kiev have been impressive throughout the campaign. Estanis was the highlight just like Casado: The former for his 1v1 attempts, the latter for his regular line-breaking passes – Casado has done it all season.
The result feels very harsh. Barcelona only lacked v little in the first half and the punishment was very cruel. That's just how football is – fairness/deserving doesn't mean much, hence terms I tend to avoid. It's all about key moment that were on Benfica's side today.
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov
Curious about Atalanta's Sidibe & Panada concerning possible opportunities w/ the first team in the near future, especially after today's display. Both have been amazing for Atalanta's U-19.

Sidibe is really interesting btl to break the opposition, Panada to stabilize deep.
Both are standouts in the domestic league as well w/ pretty good numbers, too. Key 2-3 win away from home for Brambilla's boys. Tonight's win leaves the Young Boys alone while Atalanta can still hope to qualify as United netted a last minute winner to make it 2-1 v Villarreal.
United – 12 pts
Villarreal – 10 pts
Atalanta – 6 pts
Young Boys – 1 pt

Looks v unlikely as Atalanta were dominated by United on both occasions (2-1 & 4-2, United clear on paper & on the field) while they lost 2-0 against Villarreal. Very hard to see them winning these fixtures.
Read 6 tweets
22 Nov
This is why I love this app. The support on the last thread(s) has been immense, even overwhelming.

It's that type of messages that motivate me to continue what is just the start of this adventure. Image
You guys are just too nice. My heart... Image
Tonight seems to be the #PraiseDay ...absolutely blessed to have you all.
Don't even know how to thank you. Image
Read 4 tweets

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