Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Narrow Manchester United leave space wide against Chelsea

May 26, 2023 — Manchester United were narrow and at times unruly in defending against Chelsea yesterday. Their full-backs kept getting dragged inside, opening up space on the wings.

Figure 1.1 - Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets dragged inside, leaving space behind him.
Figure 1.2 - The ball is played out to Lewis Hall.
Figure 2.1 - Luke Shaw gets dragged inside.
Figure 2.2 - The ball is played out wide behind Luke Shaw.

Chelsea is not a clinical team at the moment, but their passing when transitioning to attack was sublime. They should have scored at least three goals.

It’s not one player’s fault; it must be something happening in training because the entire team has lost the ability to shoot accurately.

Figure 2.3 - The ball is progressed by Chelsea into the final third, and Lewis Hall is free on the far side.

Narrowness combined with man-to-man marking where players are susceptible to getting pulled out of position is not a good mix. Manchester United would be better suited allowing runs inside while having their full-backs remain in line with the center-backs, not reacting to every movement.

A clinical team like Manchester City should be able to take advantage of the space Manchester United allowed wide.

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