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Aug 9 25 tweets 15 min read

We didn’t perform well for large spells against BRI and because we lost the negatives were voiced far more online — understandably so.

However, there were some really good positives for us during the game despite how badly we performed.

This thread will cover them. Image

This thread is not a defence of our performance. We made many errors and there are a lot of things to work on. However, this does not mean we ignore all the good things we did. It is good to remind ourselves of that so that we do not skew our perception.
Note II:

Reminder: an ‘opportunity’ is a situation wherein the team may or may not have shot at goal but where there was the potential of a shot on goal. A ‘chance’ is where there was actually a shot on goal. Every chance is an opportunity. Not every opportunity is a chance.
This thread will look at all our opportunities during the game which, had the execution been better, could have resulted in a completely different game.

Let’s go!
1) Good Opportunity — Fernandes

McTominay makes an excellent run and Sancho finds him. McTominay just about gets to the ball to pass across the box and Bruno executes his finish poorly despite having good space around him.

We started well. ImageImage
2) Decent Opportunity — Fernandes

Sancho finds Eriksen who plays a progressive lobbed pass to Bruno. His control takes him backwards, allowing BRI to transition more men back and then Bruno’s cross is over-hit. It was a decent situation to be in but not well executed. ImageImageImageImage
3) Excellent Opportunity — Eriksen

We transition with Rashford finding Sancho though the latter had to check his run. He finds Bruno well who then should have passed to Eriksen earlier. He delayed the pass, thus forcing the latter to check his run which ruined the opportunity. ImageImageImageImage
4) Half Opportunity — Rashford

Bruno finds Sancho well and the latter’s gravity draws a double team which he uses that to find Bruno in space who eventually finds Rashford in the box. However, the latter didn’t read the flight well albeit the cross wasn’t the easiest to control. ImageImage
5) Good Opportunity — McTominay

A deflected Dalot cross finds McTominay who attempts to back-heel across the box however he doesn’t connect with it well, making it easy to clear. The situation, once again, was good but the execution—technical and cognitive quality—let us down. ImageImage
6) Half Opportunity — Shaw

Sancho’s gravity results in a triple team down the left and he [with a deflection] squeezes a pass through to Shaw who takes a first-time semi-blocked shot at goal.

It wasn’t a good opportunity but the openings were there which is good. ImageImage
7) Decent Opportunity — Shaw

After some interplay, we draw BRI into the centre and Bruno finds Shaw down the left in a lot of space. He has a couple of possibilities for his cross but it sadly hits the first defender and the phase is eventually dealt with. Image
8) Decent Opportunity — Rashford

Eriksen finds Rashford at the back post with a cross but it is over-hit and so Rashford’s stretching to get it on target. It wasn’t a good chance due to that but it was still a decent opportunity had the cross been better. ImageImage
9) Good Opportunity — Rashford/Bruno

Sancho releases Dalot down the right who crosses for Rashford. Bruno is in an excellent space for a simple slip-pass seeing as though Rashy has drawn a double-team. However, he elects to shoot with Bruno asking for the pass.

Decision-making. ImageImageImageImage
10) Good Opportunity — Rashford

Sancho fires a pass to Eriksen who then fires a pass to Rashy. He’s about to draw a triple team and so he quickly decides to take his man on and shoot. It isn’t a good chance but the overall situation—others were free + drive in the box—was good. ImageImageImageImage
11) Excellent Opportunity — Rashford

De Gea finds Dalot with a good pass who then releases Ronaldo behind the defensive line (poss. offside). He squares it to Rashford who then shoots straight whilst the GK attempts to cover that zone. The final execution let us down again. ImageImageImageImage
12) Decent Opportunity — Dalot

Ronaldo releases Dalot in the box and if he fired it into the marked zone, it could have created a chance. However, he pulls it back to find Ronaldo and it is easily cleared as a result.

To get your full backs in these situations is valuable. Image
13) Half Opportunity — Ronaldo

Eriksen shoots from distance and Sánchez palms it back into the box. Ronaldo is just beaten to the ball but the was a potential opportunity there. Remember, BRI scored from DDG making a save and it going to a BRI player in the box. ImageImage
14) Half Opportunity — Dalot

Goal. Despite the opportunities we had up to that point—some of them were really good—we scored from a scrappy set piece. Sometimes that happens in football however it should not discount from the good opportunities created otherwise. Image
15) Decent Opportunity — Dalot/Rashford

Eriksen finds Dalot with a good first-time pass. Rashford tries to make himself available for him but is just a *little* too late. Dalot was also quite aggressive on the ball. Nevertheless, he created an opening and Sánchez made the save. ImageImage
16) Good Opportunity — McTominay

Sancho slips McTominay into a valuable zone and Ronaldo darts to the front post. However, McTominay’s cross is blocked well and it is eventually cleared.

That zone in the box is *the* zone we need to get into every game and we did so many times. ImageImage
17) Decent Opportunity — Sancho/Ronaldo

Sancho slips Ronaldo into the same zone with Bruno and Donny in the box. However, Sancho’s pass is over-hit. It was a decent opportunity had our execution been better especially since cut-backs are *very* valuable in football. ImageImage
18) Decent Opportunity — Sancho

This time, Donny brilliantly flicks it for Sancho to drive into the exact same zone. Sancho nutmegs his first man but then loses possession after a double team.

The zones on the sides of the box — Ten Hag wants that and we did that. ImageImage
19) Good Opportunity — Ronaldo

Donny finds Sancho again and it’s that same zone again — Ten Hag’s football coming to life. We have five options with Sancho choosing an open Ronaldo. However, BRI block very well and the attack ends.

‘Patterns of play’? Yes. ImageImageImageImage
20) Good Opportunity — Martínez

The initial header falls favourably and he has many paths he can strike the ball into, many of which would create a big chance. However, Dunk throws himself in the way and it’s blocked quite incredibly.

Martínez’ reaction says it all. ImageImageImageImage

We lost but there were a lot of positives from the game such as many good opportunities, constant patterns of play, the creation of many openings and more. We lacked execution but BRI defended well too. Sancho and Eriksen, in particular, were excellent.

Peace. 🌹

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Aug 2

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Fred performed excellently yesterday and was one of our most impactful players especially in possession. Here is an analysis of his performance.

I will be updating this thread as I go along so RTing this tweet will be enough to spread it around.

Let’s go!
In the first minute of the game his role became quite clear. Dalot picks up the ball and Fred’s immediate decision is to drive forward into space. He ends up as the furthest forward player on the pitch.
This frame shows us a little more. In the second and third phase of possession, Fred was higher up closer to the box. In the end of the first phase here, he dropped to help build. He had different roles in different phases even though he was written down as ‘CM’.

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I watched the City game again and couldn’t help notice the amount of attacks we had which either ended in missed chances, poorly executed opportunities or last-man defending from City.

I originally thought it was 3-4 but we actually had 11 by the 71st minute.

Definition I

A ‘chance’ is an attack that finishes with a shot. An ‘opportunity’ is an attack that could’ve finished with a shot — “good moments”, “decent situations” if you will.
Definition II

For example, a CF is one-on-one with the GK but runs the ball out wide and so can’t get a shot off. There is no ‘chance’ here because there was no shot but it’s an excellent ‘opportunity’.

I hope that makes it clear.

Let’s begin:
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Thread: Thinking Out Loud about Yesterday

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We had players who are praised for “playing for the badge”, “having the right mentality”, “knowing what it means to play for United” and other notions all effectively give up after Mahrez scored despite there being 25 minutes left. There was little leadership. It was poor.
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