Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur: United’s Starting XI?

There are certainly easier ways to kick off the New Year than entertaining Spurs, but then again, there are far worse ways to have seen out 2013 than visits to the KC Stadium and Carrow Road (just ask Liverpool). United kick off 2014 with a chance to add a bit of clear daylight between themselves and the team below them in seventh by virtue of poor goal difference due to some spectacular defensive capitulations. Having beaten just two of the sides that currently make up the top ten so far this season, it’s a great opportunity to continue their drive up the table.

Goalkeeper

david de gea

As Anders Lindegaard currently has more chance of teaching a bunch of dogs to sing Barber Shop than getting picked to play on Wednesday, David De Gea will start. Admittedly, the Spaniard had a bit of a wobble on Boxing Day at Hull, even if he wasn’t the only one, but returned to deal with everything that came his way against Norwich, and without too much fuss or bother to boot. It’s a big game, so there’s no reason to expect anyone else to start in goal.

Defence

Tricky. Patrice Evra would be a certainty for a starting berth against most sides in the Premier League, but Aaron Lennon’s incredible pace exposes his mobility in a way that few teams, let alone players, manage. Problem is that placing Alex Buttner in his stead, with his pace but inferior skills is just that little bit more suicidal. If the Frenchman gets the nod, then partnering him with as mobile a central defensive duo as possible could spare some blushes and offer some valuable back-up.

valencia-against-cardiff-city

Spurs cut through the United ranks with ease on occasion at White Hart Lane when the teams met at the start of December, and removing Nemanja Vidic for the more manoeuvrable Chris Smalling could help to protect against Spurs’ assets up front. Of course, with Rafael’s inclusion at right-back far from a certainty, who do you replace him with if his regular deputy is doing his day job alongside Jonny Evans? Given that this is a home fixture, and the likelihood of Fabio returning from exile for a starring role is remote, Antonio Valencia’s inclusion would be seen as a positive step as Smalling’s presence often blunts United’s attack on that right-hand side.

Midfield

With Valencia doing a shift at right-back, and given that Adnan Januzaj hasn’t started United’s last two games, the 18-year-old would expect to find his name in the starting XI. Ashley Young is (at least, at present) a safer bet out wide than Shinji Kagawa, so United’s wingers pick themselves to a certain extent.

Centrally, Tom Cleverley will start. That’s simply a given, sure as the Scousers love Suarez, sure as Geordies love taking their shirts off. His partner could conceivably be Michael Carrick, given his return to play the full 90 minutes against Norwich, unless Moyes plumps for a more combative approach with Darren Fletcher, who conceivably only entered the fray in the closing stages on Saturday with a view to giving him some minutes on the clock ahead of this match.

Attack

welbeck-celebration

Even without Danny Welbeck’s vital contribution against Norwich, Javier Hernandez was so isolated at the weekend that it’s almost impossible to forsee a situation where the Mexican earns a starting bert. And, based on Moyes’ post-match comments, chances are that Rooney will be fit, making the decision to drop him to the bench that much easier. That partnership is easily the most potent that United currently have at their disposal, and if Rooney is fit enough to take part, then it’s worth little thought. Shinji Kagawa’s inclusion on Saturday, even if he was playing out of position, almost necessitates the need for a more potent attack, and currently, the Japanese isn’t a part of that.

Predicted XI:

De Gea

Valencia  Smalling  Evans  Evra

Januzaj  Carrick  Cleverley  Young

Rooney

Welbeck


Who do you think will be in Manchester United’s starting XI? Comment in the section below.

8 Comments

  1. i dont like that team for one main reason, our midfield will be completely outrun! carrick and cleverley is a terrible midfield partnership. both are players that like to sit back! i stand by my statement kagawa needs to be played as a central midfielder and told to start deeper. he is that creative spark we need!! and seriously who have we got that currently provides that real creative spark??? we may have one matches, but our performances are way below united standards! we have not demolished any team!! even against leverkusen, that wasnt that amazing a performance imo. i might be wrong, but has moyes really done anything that amazing yet??? which is why i stand by my statement it really should be tried!!! and with the coming matches, moyes really needs to play zaha!!!!

  2. You hear what you want to hear Iwan, he said he never trained. How do you get from “never trained” too ” chances are that Rooney will be fit “. He will start with 5 in midfield, if he did it against Stoke, Hull and Norwich he’s bound to do it against Spurs.( even though we only scored when we reverted to 2 upfront) He’s shit scrared of going a goal down, it’s in his blood his a 1-0 merchant. Gone are days when we would see Utd attack and win game after game 4-1, 5-0 (Leverkusen was a fluke) that’s all in the past DM is a much more pragmatic manager less flair, grind out results last 3 mins by the corner flag Fellaini type player a spoiler as opposed to a creative player, not so gentle on the eye. Don’t get me wrong I think he will be successful in time, obversely not as much as Ferguson but no one will be…

  3. Cannot disagree too much with that team apart from the centre of midfield. Having said that, what do Zaha and Fabio have to do to get a game?

    Always worry about Evra against Lennon but there is not much choice for leftback. Buttner is weak defensively and Fabio appears to be about as popular with Moyes as is Wilfred Zaha.

    Don’t like Carrick and Cleverley together but without Jones, I would pick Fletcher over Carrick. If Rooney isn’t fit, Kagawa should play..

    Valencia could play at rightback, giving United a better option than Smalling to support attacks down the flank. That would allow Young and Januzaj to play as wingers. Young is in his best form of the season (not saying much, I know). On his day he is a better crosser than Valencia and can do it from both left and right wings.

    Welbeck up front could be our match winner.

  4. I think it’s only a matter of time before we see fletcher and carrick as our starting midfield and cleverly sitting on the bench and that time may well be today

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