Good Evening All,
I am and always have been a Manchester United fan. I used to write to club when I was younger, I buy there kits & play as them on all football games. One of the best moments as a fan was the 1998/1999 season, When we won the Treble of the Premier League, FA cup & the Champions league.
Wikipedia sums up this year best explaining that The 1998–99 season was the most successful season in the history of Manchester United Football Club.During the campaign United lost only five times, including a one-off Charity Shield fixture, in the League Cup against eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur and their only home defeat, a league match against Middlesbrough in December 1998. A run of 33 games unbeaten in all competitions began on 26 December at home to Nottingham Forest.
I have spent all this week researching & creating the tactic which helped create the most successful season in our history. The basis of the tactic was the 4-4-2 formation. It consisted of a solid back four, creative but hardworking midfielders topped off with a deadly forward line of Cole & Yorke.
Let me discuss it further below:
So, The way i assessed the Man Utd 99 team was:
- GK - PETER SCHMEICHEL
- FB - GARY NEVILLE
- FB - DENNIS IRWIN
- CB- JAAP STAM
- CB- RONNY JOHNSEN
- WM- DAVID BECKHAM
- BBM- ROY KEANE
- BBM- PAUL SCHOLES
- W-RYAN GIGGS
- CF-DWIGHT YORKE
- CF-ANDY COLE
After watching multiple matches with the 99' squad, I came to following conclusion:
- Attacking-Man Utd were a talented & hard working team. They would run non-stop & constantly pass directly to keep in the final third.
- Wide- So many of the passes and attacks stem from the wings. Beckham and neville with their crosses and giggs with his running at defences.
- Tempo/Creativity balanced- with both of these, there was a clear pattern in the way we played. In possession we played the ball very fast & direct with creativity sky high whereas in defence, the defence & midfield worked as a unit to slow the opposition right down & hunt with discipline to win the ball back.
In regards to defence I found the following:
- Defensive line/Closing down/Tackling/Offside Trap- Man Utd 99' played with a solid back four who held a high defensive line. We defended all of the pitch starting with Yorke/Cole, going through beckham/Giggs & then Keane & the back four, our defence was relentless. Committed tackling in-deed, reason for keane & scholes sometimes being off - if there was even a sniff of getting the ball, they would stick a challenge in. This all made complete sense as the higher you win the ball, the more likely you can score a goal.
- Time Wasting- NONE, Almost to the point of being stupid. The opposite of time wasting. Every player ran like it was there last match both in and out of possession.
With the final part of the tactic I found:
- Final Third-In the final third, we did most of the things suggested in the game including early crosses,overlaps,long shots,run at defence etc.
- Passing Style-Our play was very direct which at times looked messy with the ball being hoofed all the time up front but when it worked, it was so dangerous & managed to create lots of chances.
- Passing focus-passing focus was generally mixed although tough one. Beckham & giggs got the majority of balls as they were the two most creative players for us. This being said, Cole & Yorke got lots of direct passes normally with one of them acting as Target man for the other.
- Goalkeeper distribution-In the matches I watched it was always the same with the goalkeeper kicks , always long. I watched at least 5+ examples of this and no short balls out. Blending with the direct mentality, schmeichel would normally boot it to beckham, giggs or further to Yorke or Cole.