United Women: Tactics in attack
As we’ve seen this season, Marc Skinner’s formation of choice for Manchester United Women is generally 4-2-3-1 – but the top end of the pitch is always very fluid.
Sometimes there will be one lone striker, at other times we'll see one striker and a shadow striker/attacking midfielder, and then we can have essentially three attackers as the wingers advance forward.
By encouraging his forwards to play with freedom and to look for the spaces as they develop throughout the match, the United head coach has many options at his disposal in terms of how they want to play, with wingers Kirsty Hanson and Leah Galton plus lock-picker and set-piece specialist Katie Zelem also being key components of Skinner’s attacking game plan.
Speaking to Sky Sports last month, Skinner said that “taking our way of playing to the opponent, and not being scared of that, and embracing who you are” was his message to the attackers, and he’s been pleased to see his forwards' confidence increase this season, resulting in some excellent interplay in the opposition half.
“That's the key thing – that they're spending more time, taking more touches in that final third, which shows me not only are we getting better in there, but more importantly, it's the psyche of what we're asking them to do.”
Such fluidity in attack can wreak havoc for opposition defenders, especially if they’re left guessing as to who will be taking on each role, even if they know our starting line-up.
As for our players, whether they are starting or on the bench, everyone has a role – after all, that’s why the subs are called ‘game changers’ and have the initials 'GC' on their jackets.
“Sometimes you’re going to get picked to start, sometimes you’re going to come off the bench and sometimes you might not play a minute,” explained Skinner.
“But we’re all good at understanding that and whoever is chosen to play on the pitch that day will give 100 per cent, and each of us will back them 100 per cent.”
Tickets for United Women's first game at Old Trafford in front of fans, against Everton this Sunday 27 March, are available from manutd.com/womenstickets.