Tactics - How Manchester United contained Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud

Inside Old Trafford

Arsenal were not their usual selves as they went down 1-0 against Manchester United yesterday.

They weren’t their usual selves because the Premier League champions were able to contain the Gunners in several areas which stopped their key players from having a decisive influence over the match.

Arsenal have some of the most in form players in the Premier League but several United stars played sensible and smart football, based on the tactics that David Moyes put forward.

Here’s how United dealt with Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud.

Aaron Ramsey

United adopted a similar tactic that Borussia Dortmund tried in the Champions League, looking to contain the Welshman out on the wing.

Ramsey started on the right hand side of Arsenal’s midfield yesterday and the majority of his misplaced passes came from the right hand side.

There are also seven examples of incomplete passes from Ramsey in and around the United penalty area, with United adopting the time honoured football tactic of creating traffic and parking the bus inside the final third.

United let Ramsey have the ball in areas where he wasn’t posing a direct threat and matched him up well against Antonio Valencia when he found himself on Arsenal’s left, an individual battle that he lost in terms of take ons three times.

Mesut Ozil

United used a similar tactic with German star Mesut Ozil, forcing him into wide positions and then pressing hard.

Ozil completed the majority of his passes when he played short and simple balls, again with United allowing him possession in areas where he wasn’t going to hurt them.

That frustrated Ozil and led to him playing a variety of longer passes inside United’s half and final third, which weren’t as precise and allowed United to pick off possession.

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The pitch map of Ozil’s activity against United shows a distinct lack of play from central areas, which is naturally where he’s more effective and a large part of that was the containing job that Phil Jones did on him in the first-half.

Olivier Giroud

The knock on effect of the way United played against Arsenal’s midfielders was felt by Olivier Giroud who often drifted into the channel on either side of the pitch.

He’s not as effective in terms of passing as other Arsenal stars so it’s no surprise he struggled in several areas when it came to completing short and longer passes.

There were four examples of him losing aerial duels on the right under pressure and he also gave away three fouls on the right, as he tussled with the United defenders looking to wrestle possession away from him.

He also failed two take ons inside the United penalty area due to that traffic which was created by United. The perfect example of that was when Ramsey found Giroud inside the area late on and he was surrounded by eight United players before putting his shot wide.

image: © crystiancruz

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