In recent seasons up until the current season 2013/14, Manchester United have been at the very top of both English football, and European football. Their successes in the top flight of English football have lead them to 20 Division One Titles, 11 FA Cups, and various other minor trophies on top of that. European success however, has been less glamorous, the well known Champions League Trophy has been acclaimed by United only on 3 occasions in their existence, their latest only being in 2008. Manchester United are now without Sir Alex Ferguson, which means many people anticipate the future of United to be less of a 'walk in the park'. With his Scottish successor David Moyes taking the reigns, can Manchester United still live up to expectations against the money-ridden rivals? Using this guide, and your tactical knowledge of the game, see if you can do it...
Finances and BudgetManchester United are not exactly known for mass amounts of money. Being owned by the worldwide hated family of the Glazers, who are in around £350,000,000 debt, is not the best way to get on your clubs supporters side. In game you are offered £33,500,000 transfer budget by Malcolm Glazer for the season, and a nice £2,400,000 p/w for wages. The board expects you to at least challenge if given these sums of money, however, if you were to propose that you would win the league to the board, they would increase your transfer budget to a nice looking £40,500,000 and increase the wage side of things by £200,000 equating to a total wage budget of £2,600,000. As I mentioned before, Manchester United are no longer the prize horse in the race for the title. They have bigger, and better competitors, meaning the likelihood of you winning is slim. However, if you are a reasonably good manager, and think you can turn that extra £7,000,000 into Manchester United's 21st Division One trophy, then that is the one for you.
TacticsOne of the most important things that you need for a successful career on Football Manager is a good tactic. Keeping one tactic throughout a whole save will not be very effective but here are just a few that should work ideally to start off with.
Tactic 1 - 4-2-3-1
This first, and probably best tactic is one used by most teams today, however this tactic fits in perfectly with the Manchester United squad. The '2' can be used either as two Defensive Midfielders, or, two Central Midfielders based on preference, I myself prefer the two Central Midfielders, it means that they are a bit higher up the pitch, so therefore being able to connect those long passes that would be to much if dropped further down. However if played in the Defensive Midfielder roles, they can spread the play in a much more relaxed manor, and are also able to link the play from the defense to the Attacking Midfielder much easier.
Tactic 2 -4-3-3
With 4-2-3-1 being the main tactic, and probably what should be your most used, this 4-3-3 tactic utilities both the Defensive Midfield, and Central Midfield roles. With 1 Defensive Midfielder and 2 Central Midfielders, the midfield is going to be dominated by your team, the three should be able to lay of the ball to the wingers with ease, up to the lone striker above in hope for him to finish, this tactic is probably a more defensive tactic, as opposed to offensive, with most players being further down the pitch.
Tactic 3 - 4-4-1-1
Simple tactic, just like the 4-4-2 but with the striker dropped behind the other to create that link between the strike force and the midfield play. This formation is also similar to the suggested 4-2-3-1 with those two wingers being dropped slightly further back, this tactic should not really be used, but if things need a change, try it out.
First 11 Positional AnalysisNow that you have some strong ideas for tactics, you will have to make the tough decision of who to put into your starting squad. To make the decision, look at the tactic you have chosen and then take a look at the players position. However, do not rule out signing people because they do not fit the tactic. You may change the tactic and then the opportunity to sign the player may have passed. This is a brief analysis of all the roles you might wish to fill, and a look at your squad in general.
Goalkeeper- In the goalkeeping position, Manchester United are fortunate enough to have three reliable shot stoppers. The obvious being the Spanish youngster, David De Gea, he is agile, and quick, all you need in a goalkeeper, however when it comes to commanding his area, and dealing with the oppositions crosses, he lacks the quality. Although David should be played every match, if things aren't looking to bright for him, Anders Lindegaard, the Danish international, can always step in and pull of a good performance. Lindegaard is a well balanced goalkeeper, then only negative is his age. Finally the Red Devils have 23 year old Ben Amos. Ben is relativity unheard of, playing only one match for his parent club, whereas for clubs such as Oldham, and Hull, he has been a key player for them. Again, such as Lindegaard is for De Gea, Amos should only be used when both other keepers are unable to play.
Left Back- The left back position will be a gap in United's team in 2/3 seasons time. With Patrice Evra being 32 years old, he will be soon gone, leaving only Büttner, and Fabio left. Büttner would probably be the man to fill in if Evra left. However I do strongly advise looking to the transfer market for a new, young left back. Jetro Williems is a fantastic buy, only 19 years of age, works hard on, and off the ball. Himself, and Southampton fullback Luke Shaw would be clever pickups. Staying away from the prospects, there are a few players that have already made names for themselves. The most obvious being Leighton Baines. Linked with Manchester United in real life, but done so correctly, he has all the qualities of a world class fullback. Portuguese international Fábio Coentrão can also be a terrific buy.
Centre Back- United have strengthened this position a while back, bringing in youngsters Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling, from both Blackburn and Fulham respectively. Being only aged 21, and 23, they are what most would say the 'future pair' for United's centre halfs. Their current central defenders are both ex-Serbian star Nemanja Vidic, and ex-England hero Rio Ferdinand. With them both being 'ex' internationals, they are obviously not that young, so in time, Rio and Nemanja, will become Chris and Phil. Luckily for United there is a player in Jonny Evans that can join in to help the transition between both the pairs. Jonny is in between both the ages of the two defending pairs, so can be useful throughout that. United's youth system is also bringing in a few stars. Michael Keane, and Tom Thorpe have a bright future ahead of them, should they be brought up properly.
Right Back- The Right back position should be mainly covered by Rafael, he is young, and has that Brazilian flair that most Brazilians do. Should you prefer a more bigger, stronger and taller fullback, then both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are versatile enough to cover that position.
Left Midfield- The wide men for United are probably the most versatile of them all, most wingers are complete both left, and right. On the left you will most probably want either Nani, or Kagawa starting for you. As I said before, there is no way you can be without a left midfielder, with the likes of Young, Zaha and Januzaj all being able to play there. Most tactics with Manchester United will involve wing play, so make sure you take advantage of the quality they have.
Central Midfielders- Again, the centre of midfield is another area you should take advantage of the quality. With passing genius Carrick in there, as well as the huge Marouane Fellaini, it should be easy to retrieve the ball, and distribute it. Home grown player Tom Cleverley can also be thrown nicely into the mix, as can the 25 year old Anderson. Darren Fletcher, out injured, can also bring a lot to the team on his return.
Right Midfielders- Completely the same as the other wing, however on the right, Antonio Valencia, who should probably start on the right, is included as well, Shinji Kagawa can also make the transition over to the right, if you preferred to play both him and Nani, instead of rotating.
Attacking Midfielders- Wayne Rooney should be your main man in here, sat behind the striker if you are using the advised 4-2-3-1. He has the ability to turn the midfield play into a goal, as can most others that can play in the position, again, Kagawa can fill in here if not on the wings, as can Valencia, Fellaini and a host of others.
Strikers- Dutchman Robin van Persie should be the most obvious choice here, bringing everything a striker can have to the team, Chicharito is probably the next in line if Wayne Rooney is being used elsewhere, and then there's the two upcoming stars, Danny Welbeck, and Wilfried Zaha.
Potential WeaknessNow you know which players make up your team, and which players are not needed, you need to work on the obvious areas that need improvement. There are some obvious weak links in the team so here are some options for some players who you may be interested in signing.
Position 1- Left Back: I reiterate the fact a left back is in need. The examples given before should be good enough to see the position covered well.
Position 2- There are not many other faults in the United squad other than you may need another goalkeeper if you don't Lindegaard or Amos as good enough to start yet.
ConclusionSo after reading this guide, I hope you have taken away some vital information about how you will be able to use your tactics, squad, and transfer budget to the best of your ability. I urge you if you are unsure about something, to give it a go, and see how your experiences differentiate from the ones in this guide.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.