Stats Show That Manchester United Must Play With A Back Four
Having guided Holland to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer with a 3-5-2 system, it was no surprise when Louis van Gaal implemented the same formation when he moved to Manchester United.
In pre-season it was a success, with Ashley Young proving to be a more convincing wing-back than you'd assume a player would be when they're generally found lying on the floor. Yet once the season got underway results were mixed and Van Gaal has often opted to play with a more traditional back four.
Against QPR at the weekend the Dutch coach found himself in the humiliating situation of being given tactical advice from the stands, as the travelling United fans chanted "4-4-2, 4-4-2..." in response to his three at the back system.
The stats show that the fans are right to demand a back four but maybe not for the reason you think. Van Gaal's side have been more defensively secure with a back three, but score more goals, win more games and take more points with a back four.
It all points to the defensive personnel not being good enough to function in a back four but the wing-back system restricting United's attacking prowess. The solution is to stop worrying about Gareth Bale and actually spend some money on decent defenders.