Manchester United held the supposed ‘Greatest team in the world’ Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at an atmospheric Old Trafford. While many chose to write off Manchester United even before a ball had been kicked, David Moyes and the players still believed. They remembered that they represent Manchester United and would not be push overs.
With a sweaty shirt and a pacing heart, at the final whistle every single Manchester United player could finally look into the eyes of the home supporters and be confident that they had done them justice. This sudden transformation, from a side losing embarrassingly in the league to rivals, to a competitive and passionate Manchester United side, is no coincidence. As you read through the post you will realise how David Moyes tactically outfoxed the supposed tactical genius that is Pep Guardiola.
In this series I will be looking at the different tactical decisions made, good and bad, and how they resulted in the well earned draw at Old Trafford. I will also be analysing how he we can win at the Allianz Arena.
In this post I will specifically be looking at Danny Welbeck and how he confused the hell out of the two Bayern defenders. To keep up to date with the series simply subscribe to my blog using your email.
A major factor that helped Welbeck trouble the Bayern defenders was his positioning.
He was used quite cunningly by David Moyes. He rotated between a Left Winger (in a 4-5-1) and a Lone Striker (in a 4-4-1-1) up front. This movement by Danny meant the Bayern CB’s were never sure where he would be! His constant rotation withing the two systems meant he was often left unmarked by the two Bayern CB’s. I think it is also worth noting that Javi Martinez who is a natural Defensive Midfielder and NOT a CB played, which helped Danny. Martinez is a very competent CB, however he is not a comfortable one and Welbeck’s constant movement made a tough night for the Spaniard even tougher!
Martinez Could Not Cope With Welbeck
Javi Martinez is one hell of a player, in midfield. However in defense against a pacy customer like Welbeck he faces problems. This is because he suffers from a lack of pace. The problem is exemplified because Bayern tend to play a very high line. In the Bundasliga Bayern are able to cope because they simply dominate possession. Their high defensive line results in the opposition being squeezed into their own half and makes it tough for the opposition to break.
However against Manchester United in the Champions League they struggled to deal with counter attacks. Martinez specially struggled. A great example would be when Welbeck was able to get clear through on goal. In the build -up he had to beat Martinez, which he did, very successfully.
Martinez is a strong player who excels in his passing and reading of the game. He is able to intercept balls and start the play from the back. However what he is not good at, is defending against Danny Welbeck. Welbeck used his strength to match Martinez and used his athleticism to out turn him. From then on their was no competition. Welbeck simply out ran him however unfortunately was unable to convert. He attempted to chip the world’s best goal keeper which would have been my goal of the CL season, if he had managed to pull it off! I admired the confidence and the creativity however the finishing still leaves a lot to be desired.
To summaries Bayern could simply not cope with the sheer speed of Welbeck.
Bayern Played Without A LB
Yes I know Rafinha played, but Bayern’s system meant that he, as a defensive LB was almost non-existent. Bayern’s system, quite similar to the David Moyes system, forces full-backs to attack and provide the game width. They will be the ones who put the crosses into the box. The more conventional wide men such as Robben and Ribery are, more often found playing as roaming attacking midfielders. They can be expected to be found anywhere in the final third. They play as inverted wingers as well, and tuck in. As a result the full-backs such as Alba and Rafinha have to provide the width.
Look at Rafinha in this photo. Robben is tucking in and dragging Buttner inside with him. What this results in is leaving the Manchester United left flank exposed. Rafinha is allowed to make galloping runs forward into the opposition box. Before Mandzukic was brought on this was not a problem because Muller was the only player present in the box and was thus not too much of a threat.
The advantage this gave to Welbeck is that he had acres of space to run into behind Rafinha. Using his blistering pace he could easily get behind the Bayern back line. This is specially prevalent on the counter and in the Second Leg it needs to be done more regularly!
On the counter is where our chances will lie and we need someone with confidence and speed who can run at those Bayern defenders. Welbeck who endlessly stretched the Bayern defenders will be key to that! However we also need someone who will play him the through balls. The player must not only be a fantastic passer of the ball but he also needs to be quick thinking and must posses great vision. Yes I am talking about Kagawa!
In my next post, which will be out tomorrow, I will be discussing about the importance of the Japanese play maker in the match. So to keep up to date with that and other new posts and occasional bonuses subscribe to my blog, using your email. The special bonus up for grabs this month is an exclusive Manchester United wallpaper pack. It includes some fantastic photos of not only the current Manchester United XI but also of Manchester United legends such as Bill Foulkes and George Best!
As always thanks for reading and leave me your feedback in the comments below!