Analysis: United’s expansive style and defensive errors cost them the game

Manchester United were on the receiving end of a humiliating defeat to arch rivals Liverpool, their expansive style in particular gave too much space for Torres at the other end.

The title may still seem like going to Manchester United but this victory at least gives a glimmer of hope that the Premiership season is still alive. After an intriguing start to the league where Liverpool were the early pace setters and Hull surprised all, the league campaign has petered out to an almost drab. The Reds met United in what was billed as the ‘title decider’ but with this victory we are not any closer to knowing the answer.

Sir Alex Ferguson started with the partnership of Tevez and Rooney who with their interchangeability and dynamism started the stronger which was confirmed in taking the lead. However the two failed to exert enough influence later on in the the game as Liverpool defended resolutely and tirelessly to shut out the space in front of the back four where the two operate. Ronaldo was also kept quiet as Riera sought to double up on the Portuguese winger and if he did manage to cut in, the wall of Mascherano and Lucas were their to cover.

The equaliser from Torres was a crucial goal. United felt it was undeserved and almost attacked as if they were chasing the game because of the feeling that they went behind. Their expansive style may have been part of their downfall as this allowed Torres too much space up front without many bodies back to defend. When United attack, it is like they are playing a 4-2-4 and when they push more bodies forward with the full backs bombing forward leaves them vulnerable. By pushing right up the pitch, Manchester United put unrelenting pressure on the oppositions resources and suffocate play. It is a great form of defence but when it doesn’t work leaves large gaps in front of their defence. Therefore it is a wonder why Ferguson didn’t play Fletcher instead of Anderson; the Scot’s industry and tackling ability the perfect foil for their attacking play.

Granted the first goal came from a long hoof upfield and a misjudgment from Vidic but the Spaniard and indeed Steven Gerrard given large gaps to exploit, especially on the counter. For the second goal Torres was given great space in the channel between midfield and defence and because of the uncertainty Gerrard was allowed to run in behind Evra. With the space afforded to the opposition it means United, although great at keeping possession will always allow chances. The scoreline may have flattered Liverpool somewhat but there is no doubt they deserved the win, as they were tactically disciplined and superior and when given the opportunity made sure they made the most of it.


3 thoughts on “Analysis: United’s expansive style and defensive errors cost them the game

  1. it doesn’t mean anything. We (arsenal) and Liverpool won against United, but we couldn’t win against sides like Fulham and Hull. So, consistency is the magic word 🙂

    1. It is too early to say if that result didn’t mean anything. Yes you are true about the latter point you made and that I guess is why both Arsenal and Liverpool are so far behind Utd. However, things are much different in the CL and the FA cup where you don’t need to be as consistent.

  2. I think Torres goal was deserved, I missed the opening five minutes of the game but it seemed that apart from Tevez the Utd team were not so much being ripped apart but Liverpool definitely had a purpose about their play. It made a change compared to their previous visits to Old trafford where they struggled to create any fluency in their attacks.

    I think to beat Utd you need to show that you mean business, like the case with any team of course. Teams that are content with a 0-0 draw or worse even hoping for a 1-0 loss will never use Utd any problems. Inter caused Utd plenty of problems from what I’ve heard and had they not struck the post couple of times, they would have gone out. Even Fulham in the FA cup started much the better side but once Tevez scored two goals that was that…It is the same with our Arsenal side. The first goal is always the hardest to get and until we get that goal our players seem nervous, frustrated and even desperate.

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