Early Doors

Tactics Bored: Manchester United pay price for not being tall

Early Doors

View gallery

.

Tactics are everywhere. In your hair in and in your mouth. But there are times when I’ve been around the world, and I can’t find my tactics. That’s because that although tactics are everywhere, they are nebulous, they are like a gas. And what else is a gas? God. God is a gas. Is it too much to say that tactics is also a religion and a deity? More work needs to be done on existing pan-denominational scriptures to find out, but that will have to be saved for another week. For now, here’s the round-up of tactical and statistical quirks from the weekend’s Premier League games.

Play well for 15 minutes

Congratulations to David Moyes for perfecting an absolutely brilliant opening 15 minutes of football on Sunday. United were all over Chelsea in the first few moment of the game, harrying them in possession, attacking with pace and penetration on the wings, and putting in one overhit cross after another into the box. Ashley Young even had a shot. It was thrilling stuff, some of the best football United have played against a big team all season. Tactically, Moyes and United made a fairly basic error, in that football matches traditionally last for 90 minutes, leaving 75 other minutes when they allowed Chelsea to score by defending abysmally on three occasions.

Using football analysis tools of a bar chart, you can see below that United need to improve the amount of time they play competent football from 15 minutes to 90 minutes, as 15 is a smaller number than 90. But will Moyes have the technology at Carrington to demonstrate that?

View gallery

.

Carrick possession stats, obviously missing Cleverley

Despite the lack of consistent performance from United, it is surprising to see that Michael Carrick once again had exceptional pass completion stats. You might argue that is because he has taken to passing to players even if they are marked by three men, in the right back position, but that’s a shallow reading of the game. Carrick was hamstrung by Moyes’ unwillingness to put in the Dumb to his Dee, Tom Cleverley, alongside him. The English Xaviesta would have rarely, if ever, conceded possession to Chelsea, thus ensuring total dominance over the opposition. Just look at the Possession Cloud (Trademark: Eurosport) to see the obvious difference in possession between Chelsea, Man Utd, and Carrick in particular.

Ashley Young, other players paying as strikers refuse to start Being Tall

There has been outstanding work done by others on how to be good in the air. As well as being good at heading and jumping, it was also discovered that being tall was really helpful in being good on the air. Shamefully, Manchester United’s forwards are simply refusing to Be Tall. Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling threw in countless crosses around the 10-12 foot range to the the box against Chelsea, and yet Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez resolutely refused to grow at all throughout the match. If this lack of application from the strikers continues and they never start to Be Tall, Moyes will have no option but to sell them both to make the most of the exceptional talents of his wingers.

This might be difficult for all but the most advanced tactics users, so an illustrative diagram is provided below:

Anti-Semitic gestures conversion rate

Despite 30 goals being scored over the course of the weekend, not one player managed to convert their success into an anti-Semitic or any other bigoted celebration. If this continues then journalists will have nothing to incorrectly pontificate about, and the media may suffer through lack of clicks and sales. Luckily for the media circus, West Brom play tonight, who offer the best hope of doing something truly offensive, as they are currently the in-form team, statistical analysis reveals. A pie chart below shows the breakdown of post-goal bigotry by club so far this season:

Liverpool penalties

Last week Brendan Rodgers was describing a lucky penalty, saying: "I would call that a Spanish penalty, it is one where the attacker goes into the defender - who does not get the ball - and the contact puts him over." Given the lack of contact from Brad Guzan, the new terminology for the kind of penalties earned by Luis Suarez is, 'Stateless Penalties'.

Alexander Netherton - @lxndrnthrtn

View comments (40)