Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could opt for one of three formations against QPR this weekend.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal heads into this weekend mulling over a number of potential options in attack and different ways to set up his team.
So far the Dutchman has opted for a 3-5-2 over the start of this season, but he could drop that idea to try and fit a trio of Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao into the same attack.
It’s a formation that he’s had success with in the past and a formation he seems determined to achieve something with in the English game but there are other options.
One of the alternatives is 4-3-3 which could see two key players in Van Persie and Juan Mata confined to the subs bench.
The main criticism of van Gaal’s 3-5-2 has been the way the defence has reacted to that system, unsure over their positioning, which has prompted mistakes in United’s games against Swansea, Sunderland and Burnley.
A 4-3-3 would allow the defence to settle back into a more familiar back four and allow United to use new signing Angel Di Maria and talented youngster Adnan Januzaj in wider roles, supported by Ander Herrera and Daley Blind in the middle of the team.
United potential formation pic.twitter.com/jY3KtMdE3W— sholate eniola (@sholateeniola) September 11, 2014
That system takes the pressure off of United’s midfielders to do as much defensive work, allowing them to focus on attacking and getting at the QPR defence.
Another alternative is a system which has been effective for United’s local rivals Liverpool, a 4-4-2, with the midfield four in the shape of a diamond.
That system would allow Van Persie to stay in the side but it would require Rooney to drop off to the top of midfield, where he’d play more of a creative midfield role than a centre forward role.
Width could be provided by the full-backs as well as Di Maria or Rooney drifting out to wide positions and control in the middle with Herrera pulling the strings and Blind offering protection to the defence.
However, despite the merits of both the 4-3-3 and midfield diamond formations, LvG seems intent on succeeding with a 3-5-2, which can be a good formation for the side once the defence sharpens up and gets used to the system.
Either way, some very good players are going to miss out this weekend.