Tactical Analysis: Preview - Man Utd v Tottenham

Game of the weekend in the Premier League is undoubtedly at Old Trafford on Bank Holiday Monday when Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur.

In what will hopefully become a regular feature on the blog, we're going to take a quick look at the tactical approach of both teams, with the use of Globall Coach to demonstrate this.

It has been a worrying opening to the season for Manchester United and boss Jose Mourinho. But perhaps not unexpectedly. During pre-season, the Portuguese manager had bemoaned the lack of preparation time he'd have with some of his players after the World Cup. They still don't have their full compliment of players in the side, so it may be too soon to jump to too many conclusions.

But from their two Premier League games so far, they've picked up an unconvincing 2-1 win over Leicester City and suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at Brighton.


From an attacking point of view, United have struggled despite netting four goals. They have only managed 17 shots, the fourth lowest total in the Premier League, compared to Monday's opponents Tottenham who have attempted 40 efforts on goal, second only to Manchester City.

Perhaps unsurprising with the fact that United have the lowest time spent in the opposition final third in the entire division, just 20%. It's very unlike the 'typical' Manchester United, and with the likes of Pogba, Martial, Mata and Pereira in the midfield and creative areas (all players who want to go forward), you'd expect a higher percentage.

At the other end of the pitch, the United defence has looked rather fragile. The central defensive partnership of Lindelof and Bailly were cut open rather easily against Brighton last weekend, with the Seagulls' first goal coming from a cross, the second from a corner which was poorly dealt with and the third a penalty after a mistimed tackle by Bailly gave away a penalty after a worryingly large gap in the heart of the United defence was exploited.

These situations could well be exploited by Spurs, who enjoy putting crosses into the penalty area for Harry Kane. They have put in 44 crosses in their two matches, the third highest total in the Premier League, and Kane has lifted his 'not scoring in August' hoodoo and will be a big threat.

And with set pieces, Tottenham have already looked threatening from corners and free kicks in the early season. In their opening game of the season at Newcastle, Jan Vertonghen netted from a well worked corner routine.

They also now have full-back Kieran Trippier back in the team. The right-back was lauded for his outstanding dead ball delivery for England in the World Cup and he scored a direct free kick last week against Fulham, so any fouls United concede around the penalty area should be a cause for concern.

Formation wise, this could be an interesting match up. Mourinho has employed a 4-3-3 formation so far, while Spurs have shown adaptability, starting with a 4-2-3-1 at Newcastle before switching to a 3-1-4-2 style for their home match with Fulham. Will Mauricio Pochettino stick with the three at the back at Old Trafford?

Here, we have placed the two formations from their last fixtures together using the Formation tool within Globall Coach.


The two different approaches of these two sides should make for a fascinating encounter.

To read about how Globall Coach is used by clubs, please click here.

Paul Harper