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Tactical view: Potential changes David Moyes may make to Manchester United

Surya Solanki takes a look at the potential tactical changes David Moyes may implement at Manchester United based on his time at Everton.

David Moyes' arrival at Manchester United is expected to bring about several on-field changes to the club.

From a tactical point of view, the 50-year-old will get the required funds to buy the players he likes, as well as, the optimum freedom to utilize his personnel effectively.

Hence, we look at the possible tactical changes Moyes might bring to United.


Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Moyes is a big advocate of the traditional 4-4-1-1 formation.

However, instead of a creative second-striker, Moyes likes to deploy a more physical and aerial approach, via Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini.

Not only does it provide massive aerial presence, the use of a centre-attacking midfielder as a second-striker also allows Moyes to switch between 4-4-1-1 and 4-5-1 during games.

Nonetheless, it looks unlikely Moyes will play a target-man-esque player in the hole at United due to the possible availability of both Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney for the same position.


Everton attacked down the wings under the Moyes-era and for that the Scot preferred midfielders with tidy ball distribution skills.

Michael Carrick, hence, will continue to play an important role in the team, while Moyes might want to bring in a true defensive-midfielder to the Theatre of Dreams.

Moyes likes his midfielders to protect the back-four and ensure defensive solidity when the full-backs attack. All of United's midfielders failed at this task last season, baring Carrick, whose ability to swiftly break up play often go unnoticed. Thus, Moyes could rope in Fellaini from his former club to provide a strong presence in the centre of the park and a player who could form an imposing partnership with Carrick.

Everton had the fourth best defensive record in the league last term, implying Moyes' preference for a strong defensive base. Therefore, it is highly unlikely he'll start the new season with United without a defensive-minded midfielder as the lack of one was one of the main reasons for Ferguson's team's struggles at the back last term.


Playing down the flanks was Everton's strength under Moyes, so one can expect United to continue to derive most of their attacking impetus from wing-plays.

However, for the left-back slot, Patrice Evra cannot provide the same defensive cover as Moyes would like, making Leighton Baines a possible transfer target for the new United manager.

Moreover, United's wingers (Luis Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia) will need to be more productive or Moyes could plan to dump them if they continue to underperform like in the past 12 months.


At Everton, Moyes mostly played with a consistent first XI. It was mainly due to the lack of depth in the team, but now with a massive squad like Manchester United, it will be interesting to see whether the former Preston North end manager will be able to keep all the players happy and give them sufficient playing time.

Ferguson excelled in the art of rotation but Moyes will have to become habitual to it.

image: © marcel sigg

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