Since Manchester United bought Juan Mata there has been fevered speculation about the new strongest eleven.
Do Manchester United stick with a 4-4-2 and play Juan Mata wide right? Or do they try him in the centre as a ball playing attacking midfielder? Alternatively David Moyes could opt for a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 and employ Mata in a more narrow formation.
But most of the projections that we see for the new Manchester United don’t include Shinji Kagawa. There is no doubt that Manchester United haven’t seen the best of the Japan international since she joined the club. But, in a time when the team seems incapable of keep and using possession wisely, Kagawa spends as much time as ever on the bench.
The way that Moyes sets up his teams – rigid and with new signing Mata starting – you just can’t see a way back for Kagawa at Manchester United.
But we would counter that Kagawa is clearly one of Manchester United’s best eleven players. So Moyes should surely find a system that fits him in too. Moyes complains about a lack of quality players but then goes out and spunks £40m on a number ten who plays like Kagawa.
We think that Mata was a good signing but only if the team can fit in all its best players. Moyes needs to be less rigid with his formations and allow the ball players back into the team. Kagawa, for example, could do a far better job in the centre of midfield than Cleverley, who regularly gets picked, despite awful performances.
Indeed, we think that Mata should actually be given the role of attacking central midfielder if Moyes wants to continue with a 4-4-2. Even in a 4-2-3-1 Mata could play deeper in order to give Kagawa a starting berth.
We can’t see Moyes putting Mata and Kagawa into the same team when everyone is fit. Which is a shame because their combined ball control, passing and movement is what Manchester United so lack right now.
So what about this for a 4-4-2 which gets United’s best eleven on the park instead of the likes of Young and Cleverley:
De Gea, Evra, Rio, Jones, Rafa, Kagawa, Mata, Carrick, Januzaj, Rooney, RvP
Or the same players in a 4-2-3-1 with Mata or Kagawa controlling the game from a deep lying ‘quarter back’ position? Both these teams are far better than what Moyes is fielding right now.
Controlling possession and using the ball more creatively are currently the big problems for Manchester United. Yet they are leaving one of their best ball players out in the cold. Go figure!
Manchester United fans – can you see a future for Kagawa under Moyes?
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