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What We Learned: Cambridge United 0-0 Manchester United – FA Cup

Manchester United drew 0-0 against Sky Bet League Two side Cambridge United in the FA Cup. Here is what we learned during Friday evenings match:

Shambolic Tactics Cost Us Big Time

The debate about 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 is a joke. It’s now filtering down to Louis van Gaal. We started 4-4-2, then seemed to switch to 3-5-2 then back, then back again. Its woeful. Clarity is more than necessary whether you’re playing Cambridge or Chelsea, and currently there is none. Van Gaal either needs to stick with his system or give in the fan pressure because to chop and change as he is doing is only going to continue to cause us harm.

Possession Football And A Lack Of Cutting Edge

These two things were at large tonight. It isn’t easy breaking down such a solid shape but to not even try is a disgrace. It took until deep into the second half for anyone to try and break the resolute Cambridge defence down. As far as possession goes, I genuinely couldn’t care less that we had 83% in the second half it doesn’t impress me. We didn’t score at all against a side in League Two with multi millions worth of talent on the pitch because of the insistence on passing. Sideways and backwards are necessary at times, but not on the edge of the oppositions box.

Wingers/Wing Backs/Wide Defenders

I don’t know what to call them but whatever Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj were (or Daley Blind I think for a bit). Anyway, Januzaj and Valencia are the main focus here. First half there weren’t many sides queuing up to sign Januzaj on loan or otherwise, he was a rabbit in headlights. Terrified of going past a man or playing the pass or shooting, he just stood there. I can only assume van Gaal gave him a dressing down though at halftime because second half he was one of our best players. He was the creative force and showed the ‘Premier League class’ his much more expensive team mates couldn’t (more on that next). Now Valencia. After Southampton I was criticised for what I said about Valencia and tonight all he did was justify my criticisms. He can’t blame the pitch forever. No touch, no attacking desire, no footballing ability it would appear.

Almost £100 Million Worth Of Nothing

Angel Di Maria needs his head banging off a wall. Radamel Falcao needs to stop being permanently defended. Marouane Fellaini had one of his obligatory off days. Di Maria’s game can be summed up with missed shots and abject disappointment. Falcao, bar his one effort (well saved) he did nothing else. And Fellaini. I saw Fellaini stood in acres of space not calling for the ball and 2 minutes later not bother challenging the keeper in case he got hurt or something. The best part of his game was his exit from the pitch.

Conclusion

We’re still in the hat. The replay should be a formality (though nothing should be taken for granted as tonight was). Anyone who thought tonight was going to be 5-0or 6-0 were kidding themselves. Big changes are needed, whatever formation is settled on is fine as long as the style changes to become more exciting and cutting. I’d far rather us risk shipping goals but score three or four a game, it’s just nicer to watch. Tonight was THAT bad, it really was, however, credit should absolutely go to Cambridge for their shape and desire. There’s going to be no one calling for van Gaals head yet, he knows what he’s doing but is taking a fair while to implement it. It needs to change soon, but let’s give this one time.

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