One of Manchester United’s best performances this season was the 1-1 home draw with Liverpool, which really should have been a win.
This game was notable as United played three central defenders, and this is a formation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should consider against Tottenham on Wednesday night.
The obvious options is to go with Solskjaer’s normal 4-2-3-1 formation. But results have been very mixed.
Here is a look at how United could line up if Solskaer looks to replicate the Liverpool game and use a 3-4-1-2 approach.
Note: Axel Tuanzebe would be in for Marcos Rojo as originally intended before his injury, and Jesse Lingard would replace an out of form Andreas Pereira. Anthony Martial would be the player left out to accommodate an extra defender.
Tuanzebe is an asset
Axel Tuanzebe is a player United are lucky to have and he should be starting games not sitting on the bench.
United trust him as a leader and this is an ideal chance to finally line up with the team’s best three defenders in the same team.
Forget how three at the back against Sheffield United didn’t work. The plan falls apart when Phil Jones is one of the trio.
Tuanzebe is back fit and impressed against Astana, as he has done in every opportunity he has been given this season.
Victor Lindelöf has not been great this season and his partnership with Harry Maguire has so far failed to click. Adding in Tuanzebe gives United another dimension and helps patch up a leaky defence which has conceded five in two league games without him.
Combats Kane and Alli threat
Harry Kane and Dele Alli are clicking so far for Tottenham under Jose Mourinho and United need to find a way to combat them.
Alli is playing further forward off the striker and has he ability to pull one of United’s centre-backs out of position.
United can combat this by playing three at the back, meaning there is still sufficient cover to deal with Kane when one steps forward to deal with Alli.
Three at the back helped shut Liverpool’s prolific attack down and there is a blueprint for success here.
Martial no loss on current form
The sacrifice United must make to add in a central defender is to remove an attacker.
Anthony Martial is most likely and sadly on current form he is not too big a loss.
Martial has failed to score in his past four league games and his performances against Villa and Sheffield United have drawn criticism.
He can still play a role off the bench, but leaving him out is a hard decision United may have to make. It might even wake him up a bit and send a message.
Marcus Rashford is in good form and he and Dan James combined well against Liverpool. They may still have enough between them to make a decisive impact without Martial.
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