Man United’s predicted formation against Arsenal: Rangnick’s ultra aggressive 4-2-3-1 formation


Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as their interim manager till the end of the season. Rangnick who is known for his aggressive high-pressing and lightning fast vertical football tactics will have his task cut out at United. This United squad is unbalanced and are used to playing passive and reactive football under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. There are several players who might struggle under the German coach as they might not have the right attributes to work in Rangnick’s system.

Although Rangnick has preferred formations like the 4-4-2 and the 3-4-3 during his career, considering the squad composition at United, he is expected to choose the 4-2-3-1 formation. This will allow, United’s two key attacking players in Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes to play in their favoured positions.

Man United starting lineup and formation against Arsenal

rangnick formation lineup against arsenal

We expect Rangnick to play with a double pivot of Fred and Donny Van de Beek, both of them are comfortable in pressing aggressively. All the attacking players will be expected to press high, although Ronaldo might be given some leeway in this aspect. It would be interesting to see how Rangnick handles Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portuguese barely presses nowadays.

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Both the fullbacks, Shaw (if fit) and Wan-Bissaka will be expected to push forward and press the opposition wingers. Pressing high will give United opportunities to counter Arsenal but also can open up spaces for the Arsenal attack to exploit if they manage to bypass the press like Liverpool did when they beat United 5-0.


3 Responses

  1. Gengepressing doesn’t work well with 4-2-3-1. There is no law that says the squad composition doesn’t allow for formation change. 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-4-3. All work well with his style of play because they allow you to have more than one man to press the opponents defence. When you use 4-3-2-1 and the Attacking Midfielder moves up to join the Striker in attacker it leaves an easy space for the opponent’s defensive midfielders to roam and this has caused problems for Man United as the pivot are not very good at covering up front spaces, they prefer to sit and let the opponent attack close with the ball. The formation you use for Genepressing, tiki-taka, Total football or whatever style of play you want to deploy is very important.

    1. In general yes, the 4-2-3-1 might not be perfect, but in United’s case the striker will be Cristiano Ronaldo who will not press. So Rangnick has to sacrifice pressing the center backs and focus on a mid-block press and this is where Bruno will come in, playing as a number 10. A 4-3-3 might also work but this formation moves Bruno into a much deeper role where he is not very effective, like we see him with Portugal.

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