Louis Van Gaal adopted the three centres backs and two wing-backs approach against Swansea, which proved to be very unsuccessful as his United team slumped to defeat on the opening day of the season.
I will be looking into whether this system can work in England or if it’s something that works better in the other European Leagues.
The role of a wing back is primarily is to defend whilst being the wide outlet for your team. However Louis Van Gaal decided to play to natural wingers there, Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard (Replaced by Adnan Januzaj). But, they constantly looked under threat from the Swansea wingers during the first half.
This caused him to change it around at the interval and play with the standard four at the back. So was it just the player he picked to full the wing backs slot that was the issue or is it the system?
Hull also decided to play with wing-backs and looked far more comfortable against newly promoted QPR - this being said Charlie Austin managed to find a few holes between the centre half and the wing backs. Another good example of where is has worked is last season when Brendan Rodgers played it with Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson acting as the wing-backs.
During this time they managed pick up some important result which helped them to finish second come May. They key difference here being that Enrique and Johnson are defenders by trade unlike Young and Lingard. This is the same in Europe and especially Italy where the like of Juventus have dominated domestically whilst playing this formation.
So the answer is that yes this formation can succeed in the Premier League, but one thing is key is that the wing backs can defend probably otherwise you’re in for a struggle as LVG found out at Old Trafford.
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