So, erm… where do we begin? United travel to The Emirates on the back of what has to be one of the lowest points of the season. Many of the United faithful are struggling to see a future with Moyes and some sections off the crowd booed the team after the match against Fulham. I suppose the only positive is that Arsenal took a beating at the hands of Liverpool on the weekend, so they may slightly fragile and vulnerable… we hope. I think we’ll see a bit of a change from Moyes – who really needs to rally up the team if we are going to take the three points we desperately need. Here is how I think we’ll line up.
Could De Gea have done better in the build up to Darren Bent’s equaliser on the weekend? Probably. I doubt this will see him dropped though. He’s saved us more points than he has cost us and I expect to see him start once again against Arsenal.
Could we see the return of Rio at the heart of the United defence? I’m not too sure because I don’t think Moyes is a big fan right now and despite Rio dismissing rumours he is set to retire, I think it is likely he will. He has signed a three year deal with BT Sports and there isn’t much left in the legs at his age, he’s been too good a servant to the club to see his career fizz out on the bench. I’m going to take a gamble and say he’ll start alongside Vidic, with Evra and Rafael on either side of the centre backs.
In my opinion, we’ve been playing the wrong shape. Mata is going to be far more effective from the number ten position than he is from the wing. I don’t even know why Moyes would contemplate playing him anywhere else. For me, against Arsenal at least, we should line up with Carrick in the centre with Giggs to the left of him and Fletcher to the right – in a kind of 4-3-2-1 formation with the two players in the hole coming back when needed for a 4-5-1. I think this would allow us creative freedom in going forward whilst protecting the back four by putting the extra men in the midfield on the defence.
Van Persie has scored five times in the fixture, three in the last three games against Arsenal. I think he should be, and will be, our deep lying striker, ready to pounce on any loose balls with Mata and Rooney sat behind him creating the chances. Rooney is more your come into midfield and take the ball man, whereas Mata is more the deliverer of the final ball – not too say Rooney can’t but this is how I imagine the team would work best.
Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Fletcher Carrick Giggs
Who do you think will be in Manchester United’s starting XI against Arsenal? Comment in the section below.