Manchester United fans are not big fans of the Fred and Scott McTominay midfield that has been nicknamed ‘McFred’. The pair form Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation with a double pivot of two defensive midfielders. When playing this formation, Manchester United end up too defensive, especially in matches against tougher opponents with fans preferring an all-out attack.
Recently, the McFred midfield has performed well while enabling Paul Pogba to operate in his preferred wide position while drifting into midfield. From this position, Pogba registered 4 assists in two games, equalling his assist tally from the whole of last season. However, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wolves, Pogba played a deeper role with Fred and they both ended up struggling.
Fred struggled to keep up with a built and pacey Adama Traore while Pogba barely got into places higher up in the field to impact the attacking aspect of the team. Pogba did try to play in behind balls for Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes but these weren’t enough.
The signing of Raphael Varanefrom Real Madri is expected to allow Ole Gunnar to play one of either Fred or Scott McTominay in the holding midfield position to give Pogba the freedom to link up with Bruno Fernandes in attack with Jadon Sancho, especially with teams that park the bus and play on the counter attack.
A player who can offer a better defensive core is none other than displaced defender Victor Lindelof who played in midfield in his early career. The Sweden captain, nicknamed Iceman, had a better pass accuracy of 90% compared to Harry Maguire’s 87%. His eye for tackles and reading the game could enable Manchester United to set up defensively, allowing Manchester United to switch to even a back three defensive option for tougher games.
Lindelof can be suited in this role, however, Ole Gunnar will have to act fast and experiment with the weaker teams before quality opponents start coming in thick and fast.