One of the weaknesses that opponents can exploit from Man Utd’s 4-2-2-2 structure under Ralf Rangnick is the large gaps on the flanks, stemming from the position when controlling the ball of the pair. defender.
Le Foot Corner Ralf Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 and problems to be solved
The 1-1 draw against Newcastle in a match that the home team of St. James’ Park created more shots, and dominated the number of shots on target (8 versus 4 for Man Utd) certainly could not be satisfied with Ralf Rangnick. David De Gea continued to work hard with 7 saves and if you review the heat map of the match, the position in front of the Man Utd wooden frame is one of the hot spots on the pitch.
Besides, in addition to the offensive lines that have not had too many breakthroughs, with the visitors’ ability to approach the 16m50 round of the opponent’s circle proving deadlocked, Man Utd’s system and defense is something that will need to be overcome. much recovery.
After the match against Newcastle, Gary Neville on Sky Sports complained many things about the old team’s performance. Besides the attitude of “complaining” among the players on the field, Neville also expressed doubts about the 4-2-2-2 system that Rangnick is applying at the Old Trafford team.
“I don’t like this system. It is very difficult to achieve balance in attack, the same goes for balance in defense. The 4-2-2-2 structure is difficult in terms of attack, but at the same time there are signs that the opponent can completely isolate Man Utd’s full-backs.
I can sympathize with Diogo Dalot against Newcastle, his position is often cut but the task is too challenging. It must also be frankly admitted that this pair of central defenders played badly. Harry Maguire is having a nightmare season, and Varane has just returned. I don’t know if there are any other teams in Europe currently using this 4-2-2-2 system, but the demands on the two full-backs in this formation are too heavy.”
The 4-2-2-2 system has attached and become famous for Ralf Rangnick since he was in charge of RB Leipzig. In the Premier League, his disciple Ralph Hasenhuttl also carried this structure.
Because the playstyle of the teams is built by the German coach based on the main stage of transition, defense and attack are basically inseparable. Therefore, the most important thing is that the distance or distance between individuals on the field must always be close to each other, close to each other when controlling the ball.
Imagine, if you stand too far apart, once you lose the ball, the players will have to travel longer distances when pressing, which means that the opponent counter-attacks will have more space and time to make decisions. Therefore, the closer they are to each other when they have the ball, the easier it is to have a larger number of troops to close to the opponent whenever they lose the ball. Pep Guardiola has also said the same thing when stating that he prefers short passes, which means that the players must stand closer to each other.
Therefore, Ralf Rangnick always wants the defense, midfield and attack to be maintained at a close distance, not only to prioritize the use of short passes (instead of long or flip), along the vertical and straight axis. forward, but having the players close together is also a way to create overwhelming numbers and be more effective when counterpressing, reclaiming the ball to immediately switch status and organize an attack. immediately after regaining control.
With the 4-2-2-2 structure that Rangnick used at Old Trafford, the full-back pair was always directed to go up to open the width of the field and create a vertical position in the development of the ball. Although Rashford and Bruno have a wide range of action and still go out when the visitors control the ball, basically, the pair still move in more, meaning that 2 strikers and 2 attacking midfielders tend to play narrowly. and keep close range in the middle.
Therefore, if the central midfield pair (Fred and McTominay) and the central defender pair (Varane and Maguire) do not keep a close distance with the teammates above, that is, do not move in the direction of the teammates’ attack, it is easy. leading to the gaps left by Man Utd’s wings being exploited regularly by opponents.
In other words, the two armpits of Man Utd’s defense at that time will be wide and deep. In fact, Newcastle have exploited this space on a regular basis, each time losing the ball when deploying the visitors’ attack, or coming from Raphael Varane’s broken ball handling.
In part, the fact that coach Eddie Howe always arranged a striker to play the highest (was Callum Wilson in the first half before he got injured) also made Man Utd’s central defender pair anchored, difficult to maintain distance. close to the central midfield pair in front.
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