Pinpointing the Problem.

Last updated : 27 October 2013 By Denzel

In watching United toil through the gears in games versus Liverpool, West Brom, Southampton and even the win over Sunderland, it is fairly apparent that something is missing from Uniteds passages of play. Trying to put one's finger on what exactly that missing element is takes a finer examination of Uniteds play and its linkages.

One could note that there is a lethargy and a sluggishness compared to the zip and incisiveness of seasons past. One could note that there is a lack of creativity and guile.

We have had some horrendous lapses in concentration, notably by Rio. Some poor positioning choices littered throughout the campaign so far by Paddy Evra, who, despite these has still managed to keep his credibility.

Michael Carrick is in danger of being over-worked, and Fellaini, Cleverly and Anderson just don't cut the mustard in the middle of the park and their performances have been slow, laboured and lethargic.  All the more evident against the sides that display short, snappy one-touch passing like Liverpool, West Brom and well, erm, nearly everyone these days!

Here, we may have stumbled upon something. Up front Rooney is playing out of his skin, but Van Persie is struggling somewhat from a lack of service. Pace is sorely missed in the middle of the park. Swift of thought and swift of foot are attributes that don't exist in United's midfield personnel at the moment. Tempo is absent. Unless Funeral pace counts!
Remember that midfield is the engine room of a teams application of tactical strategy.
This is where the back is linked to the front, and the sides.
The kernel of the side that ensures the cohesiveness of the team as a whole. Linking back to wing, back to front, and wing to front. At this level speed is key.

Manchester United are missing creativity and speed. Inherently, creativity is a combination of speed of thought and speed of execution. Paul Scholes had it. Cesc Fabregas has it. Marouane Fellaini does not have it. Cleverly hasn't the charisma and presence to show it consistently. Anderson is a slave to his stomach, so will always struggle for condition and fitness. So, no, he doesn't have it either.

The speed is on the wings. The pace is up front. It's not in midfield. So they not only lack spark and creativity and "speed links" going forward, they also don't have adequate cover for the back four, and at times have been steam-rollered by mediocre opposition. If you don't have the speed of thought going forward, you must have battling qualities to successfully contest possession and win ball back from the opposition. This is also sorely lacking.
If a team does not have Wizards, then it must have Warriors!
Conversely if a team does not have Warriors, it must have Wizards to make possession count.
United currently have neither! 

Just saying!