Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Kobbie Mainoo against Lyon and Arsenal

July 23, 2023 — Kobbie Mainoo, playing for Manchester United, has impressed in the past two matches against Lyon and Arsenal, but his movement to the back-line in the build-up is what interests me.

Figure 1.1
Figure 2.1

This is Edson Álvarez at Ajax in 2021/22, dropping between or to the side of the center-backs to form a back-three.

This allows Luke Shaw to get forward rather than stay back and be the one to join a back-three.

Figure 3.1
Figure 4.1 - Kobbie Mainoo dropping against Lyon.

Mainoo did this against Lyon as well, constantly.

Figure 5.1

It takes pressure off of Raphaël Varane to not be the one to break lines with progressive passes.

Casemiro should operate in the same way, but Kobbie Mainoo looks like he deserves some minutes. United is linked with Sofyan Amrabat, but maybe these performances give Erik Ten Haag pause that they don’t need that much help in holding midfield.

He stood out more than Declan Rice. His movement was fluid. High intelligence from an 18-year old.

Figure 6.1 - Kobbie Mainoo quickly dives to block a shot.
Figure 6.2 - Another angle of Mainoo's block.

This block was an eye-opener. Great recovery and awareness to stop a certain goal.

Figure 3.1 - Arsenal holds off their counter-press to force Manchester United long.

Side note: I was really impressed with Manchester United’s ability to get out of their own half in the face of one of the best counter-pressing teams in Europe.

In the first half, Arsenal forced United to play out through goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Man-mark and wait. United were sharper; they won the ball on the bounce. They found ways to work the ball out on the ground.

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link