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Mourinho discovers new system ahead of massive derby

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There is no denying the form of Man united over the past few games, recent away victories over Watford and Arsenal has seen the Old Trafford club keep their slender title hopes alive.

One constant from both games is the formation deployed by manager Jose Mourinho. While the 3-4-1-2 system might not be new to most fans of the club, having seen their team use the said formation during pre-season and on some tough away fixtures this season, the difference now is the personnel used by the manager.

For years now, ever since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have been unable to replicate the fast-paced attacking brand of football lovers of the club have been used to for so many years.

Gone were the days of flying wingers delivering ball after ball into the box for their front men. They often looked too flat and too static in their attacking patterns. Jose Mourinho has apparently stumbled on a solution to this problem, playing the 3-4-1-2 formation which offers closer support to Romelu Lukaku.

In Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, the manager has two experienced former wingers turned fullbacks manning the wingback positions and providing the width that have been sorely lacking in their past displays. The width looks more structured the wingbacks bombing forward well aware that their center-backs are there to cover.

But more critical, is the use of Jesse Lingard as a number ten behind Lukaku and Anthony Martial, who play as the two center-forwards.

Having these players in central positions enables the team to play a high-pressing counter-attacking brand of football, as evident in their 3-1 victory over Arsenal where they closed down the opposition Center-halves very quickly leading to goal scoring opportunities.

Though, using a two-man midfield is an obvious downside to this system, considering the fact that most teams in the league play with three across midfield, the pair of Nemanja Matic’ and Paul Pogba can very much hold their own.

And although, the latter will be missing the first of three matches after picking up a straight red card against Arsenal, this system or indeed one similar will probably be deployed when united play host to city rivals Manchester city next weekend in what could possibly be a title decider.

Given the form of Manchester City this season, having equalled the record for most consecutive wins a single season in the EPL (13), this makes for a very interesting Manchester derby.

The writer is a passionate Man United fan. He has good insights into the world of football especially the English Premier League.