Manager Of The Week – Premier League Gameweek 6: Erik Ten Hag

Manager Of The Week – Premier League Gameweek 6: Erik Ten Hag

After an emphatic 3-1 win over league leaders Arsenal, Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag is our pick for Premier League manager of the week. His turnaround with this team after getting battered in the first two games has been impressive.

Also read: Other Leagues Watch – Bundesliga(GW5), Serie A(GW5), Ligue 1(GW6) 2022/23

Signings & Team Play

All of Ten Hag’s new signings this summer were criticized by pundits and fans alike as he went ahead & signed two players from Ajax with whom he worked previously. Lisandro Martinez was one of the most discussed transfers this summer due to his shorter build. Former Liverpool defender turned pundit Jamie Carragher said a few weeks ago that Martinez would struggle in the Premier League due to his size.

The Argentine defender was found out in the first two games, but as a good coach should do, Ten Hag stuck with him and gave him time to adjust. He was impressive against Liverpool and has been one of the best defenders in the league this season.

The improvement in the United players’ work rate has been another major change in the last four games. The levels of aggression the players are displaying is impressive, especially considering their tepid display in their opening two games. This shift in attitude is where Ten Hag deserves huge credit.

Against Arsenal, United won 10 aerial duals while the Gunners only won 3. The home side completed 17 tackles, 3 more than Arsenal recorded on Sunday. Against Liverpool, United recorded 24 tackles, 11 more than Liverpool did at Old Trafford, and let’s not forget, Liverpool are known for their high energy pressing and aggression.

Ten Hag’s Excellent Team Selection and Substitutions

Manchester United’s starting lineup against Arsenal. [Created using]

Signed just a couple of days ago, Antony was given his Premier League debut against arguably the best team in the league this season, Arsenal, with Elanga dropping to the bench. This decision had the potential to go wrong for Ten Hag if it didn’t work. However, the Brazilian couldn’t have dreamt of a better debut at the Theatre Of Dreams as he scored the game’s opening goal to get United ahead going into halftime.

Ten Hag’s tactical planning worked brilliantly for the first goal as, throughout the first half, United were attracting Arsenal towards the left wing and quickly changing flanks to find Antony isolated on the opposite wing. The risk of putting Antony straight into the starting lineup paid off for Ten Hag.

Apart from his decisions for the starting lineup, Ten Hag’s substitutions were excellent as well. Arsenal were the better side for large parts of the game, but in the first half, they were struggling to bring Odegaard into the game. To get their main creator on the ball, Arteta made a little change as Odegaard started to drop deeper to pull the strings.

This shift from Arsenal was giving United some problems, and Arsenal also got their equaliser. To get the control back in the midfield, Ten Hag replaced Sancho with Fred, and the Brazilian tightly marked the Arsenal captain. This substitution from Ten Hag worked well as Arsenal’s verticality decreased considerably.

Eric Ten Hag Praised His Players’ Mentality

Speaking the Sky Sports after the game, Ten Hag said, “I thought our start was really good – the best 10 minutes where we were really dominant in the opponent’s half.”

“The canceled goal broke our composure a little bit. It’s not necessary – you have to keep going and play your game. When we learn that, we will be an even better team.”

“We saw a good team on the pitch, good team spirit. They were maybe not always good routines, but they fought, and they recovered. Arsenal, of course, created chances but I think we also did. We scored great goals.”

“We could have done things better, but that will come – we are not that long together. When we get that, we will be even more controlled. It will be hard work, and there is still a lot of room for improvement.”

“As you see, when the team gets a setback, they deal with it, and they fight back. That’s really good to see. I like this mentality.”

“Arsenal played well, but we defended well. I never had the feeling they would break us with their possession and a lot of movement and creativity.”

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