4-4-2 diamond: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical dilemma after RB Leipzig win

by Marwan Harraz

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rightfully been receiving praise for his side’s brilliant performance vs RB Leipzig but is it possible he shot himself in the foot a little?

The legendary Norweigan has done remarkably well to have his side bounce back so well and so quickly following the humiliation vs Tottenham Hotspur.

Beating Newcastle, PSG and Leipzig is evidence of that and he did it all using different systems and players too.

It’s a far cry from that 4-0 defeat to Everton during the 18/19 season and how the players struggled to bounce back from it all.

While beating PSG was thoroughly enjoyable and well deserved, the 5-0 drubbing of Leipzig was arguably the more complete performance.

Solskjaer pulled out the 4-4-2 diamond formation out of the bag and it worked better than anyone could anticipate.

The formation allows the former Molde man to select arguably his best eleven if he wanted to and yet it’s been hardly used in his reign overall.

It seems strange that a formation that has those factors has been hardly considered as the long term solution for Manchester United and instead others were used more often.

Solskjaer’s shot himself a little in the foot in the sense that there’s no way he could play this formation over a respectable period of time because he alone has invested in three wingers over two summer transfer windows.

They’re all young as well and have bright futures ahead of them but he did it because of his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

However, surely Solskjaer should’ve at least given the 4-4-2 diamond a chance before putting all his eggs in one basket?

Nonetheless, the former striker’s performance as manager of late has essentially put to bed the myth that he has no tactical competence so that should mean it won’t be the last time fans see the formation in action.

Leipzig gave Manchester United quite a bit of room to work in and deeper defences will need the full-backs to help unlock opponents.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw don’t tend to get forward too often and width is key in such a winger-less formation so it makes sense if Solskjaer is only saving the diamond formation for big clashes.

Fans would’ve wanted to see more similar performances to the defeat of Leipzig and hopefully they will come but they probably won’t in a 4-4-2 diamond.

This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.

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