Christian Eriksen’s ‘eight free’ role gave a clarification to Manchester United led by Ten Hag

Study the Erik Ten Hag interviews long enough and you’ll notice that he tends to say “it’s obvious” when answering a question.

The Manchester United The manager’s favorite response comes from the Dutch phrase “duidelijk”, Which can mean “clearly” or “plain as today”. “Duidelijk” is how Ten Hag buys himself extra time to think before he finds out the best way to answer a question. The United manager wants to be consistent in his answers to any challenge asked of him.

Christian Eriksen It is the Ten Hag “duidelijk” safety net made of meat. He provides extra time to think for all the United players around him.

United came out 3-1 in an amazing confrontation with them Arsenal yesterday. new signature Anthony record and He brought a lot of striker Brio on his debut with United. Marcus Rashford Score an exciting goal, reminding everyone how dangerous it is When running behind defenses.

Diogo Dalot He continued his good career – his past four matches for United have been the best of his career. beside him in defense, Lisandro MartinezAnd the Raphael Varane And the Tyrrell Malacia Keep up the dirty work – they’re a trio who may not win every tackle but they seem to enjoy doing their interferences.

A look at the highlights might lead you to believe this was an offensive performance dressed up out of Jose Mourinho’s book or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s win over Arsenal, but there was structure in the scene. Ten Hag’s United is still a work in progress (in the words of the manager), but they show the beginnings of some of the mechanics (a phrase Ten Hag used prior to the victory over Lister Which has its origins in German football) that will form the cornerstone of their season.

Eriksen has proven crucial to all of this, serving as the “free eight” ahead of the deepest midfielder Scott McTominay (who was also impressive and aggressive against Arsenal) and takes the ball from depth as well as key passes in the final third.

United’s first goal comes from Eriksen’s pass to Bruno Fernandez Three Arsenal players exit the game.

It’s not a pass every United player could make (and many of United’s current midfielders avoid), but it set off a chain of events that led to Fernandes playing in Jadon Sanchowho would pass to Rashford before providing assistance to Anthony.

In the second half, with the score 1-1 and the match being delicately balanced, it was Eriksen who provided the simple pass to Fernandes, who played the perfect ball for Rashford to chase and score.

And in the 75th minute, Eriksen was the first to spot the attacking opportunity to run behind Arsenal’s defense…

Before getting the ball and providing assistance to Rashford.

When Eriksen signed on a free transfer this summer, few expected him to play this many minutes for United, but he became a vital changing tool for Ten Hag’s attack. It provides clarity in possession for a team that previously seemed turbulent, even in its best moments.

“We put him on the field a little bit more,” Ten Hag said after the match, referring to the Dane’s deeper position. “Like the role of six and eight, he has a lot of freedom, he has to trade with the spaces where he needs to be and the rest have to adapt to that.

“He can make you a game, he switches play, he sees a pass between the lines, he passes the last pass and he goes to attack to score a goal. He can improve his defense, when he plays like today one simple mistake, we’ll give him that, he played a great game.”

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This small mistake came in the 11th minute, when Eriksen was sent off by Arsenal Martin Odegaardwhich leads to a goal Gabriel Martinelli. The VAR saved Eriksen shyness, believing the Arsenal captain mistook Eriksen in the offensive move, but his relative defensive weaknesses are something Tin Hag should be aware of.

On the ball, Eriksen has proven to be integral to United’s progression from their penalty area to the opponent’s, but he is not ideal for the role. Few players. As long as United want to send many bodies forward to attack moves, they will be at risk if the “pass before pass” man loses the ball around the halfway line. Integration (slower than expected) for Casemiro In the first team he will help with this problem, allowing Eriksen to focus on keeping United.

One of the players who has benefited from the Dane’s hard work is Fernandez. The United captain on match day no longer has to dip deep to help advance the ball, and Eriksen’s more meticulous approach to ball retention means United are slowly increasing the time they take on offensive pressure.

“Bruno Fernandes gets support (when he plays Eriksen). He can also pass the final ball and receive the final ball – they really fit each other,” added Ten Hag.

He’s now four wins for his team, the longest winning streak for United since March-April 2021. They’re improving, slowly but surely. Busy schedule from September to October, balanced European League And the Premier League Duties await.

“You feel it in the team, you feel it as a player on the field and in the matches,” added Eriksen full-time. “We’re starting to understand each other, to know where to pass the ball, where to stand, and that makes it easier.”

United led by Ten Hag climbs the table and plays clearly in vision and Christian Eriksen is proving vital to how it all works.

(Top image: Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)