Manchester United vs West Ham United: Van Gaal’s Starting XI?

The Red’s host West Ham United this Saturday in their first 3 o’clock kick-off of the season. Louis Van Baal’s men will be looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s embarrassing 5-3 defeat to Leicester City having looked to have the three points in the bag at one stage.

The key news ahead of Saturday’s game is the defensive injury crisis United are facing. Both Phil Jones and Jonny Evans remain unavailable due to injury and they are joined on the sidelines along with Chris Smalling with the defender apparently having “stiff legs”. Tyler Blackett is also suspended following his red card at The King Power Stadium last weekend so Van Gaal has stated he may have to rely on youth against the Hammers. Here’s how United could take to the field tomorrow:

Goalkeeper

David Ge Gea will again almost certainly start in-between the sticks for the Red’s. The Spaniards early season form has been far from spectacular however, and despite not making any high profile mistakes it is evident his performances can improve.

Defence

With United’s defence in absolute ruins, Luke Shaw will surely be handed his debut in the left-back position with Marcos Rojo moving inside to centre-back. It will hardly be ideal for Shaw making his bow within such an in-experienced defence but he should hopefully have plenty of opportunity to get forward against the East London opposition. Rafael Da Silva will almost certainly continue at right-back and with Van Gaal stating that he will look towards the youth players this weekend I expect Tom Thorpe to be handed his United debut in the centre of defence.

Midfield

I expect both Daley Blind and Ander Herrera to again form the centre of United’s engine room this weekend. The pair have enjoyed relatively good starts to their United careers so far but question marks have to be raised at how easily they folded against a resurgent Leicester City side last weekend. I then expect Juan Mata to be re-called to the side after being dropped on Sunday, the Spaniard will more than likely play just ahead of his other midfield partners.

Attack

Angel Di Maria will be a guaranteed starter after undoubtedly being United’s best performer over the past couple of weeks. Expect the Argentine to start predominantly on the left hand side but be give the freedom to come inside whenever necessary. Wayne Rooney is also more than likely guaranteed to feature again and I expect him to share the number ten role with Mata whilst occasionally moving out onto the right to operate when necessary. As for the number nine position, Radamel Falcao could likely be handed his full Old Trafford debut. Despite scoring last weekend Van Persie’s form has been far from great and he could pay the price this weekend as he is demoted to the bench.

Predicted Starting XI:

De Gea;

Rafael, Thorpe, Rojo, Shaw;

Blind, Herrera;

Mata;

Rooney,          Di Maria;

Falcao.

24 Comments

  1. My predicted line up goes like this: GK; De Gea, LB; Shaw, RB; Rafael, CB: Rojo, Thorp, MF; Hererra,Blind,Mata,Di Maria, ST: Rooney, Falcao

  2. I like the formation but wondered on a few tweaks? Fletcher alongside Blind and Herrera in the hole for Mata..I like Mata but this is going to be an aerial and physical encounter when out of possession both aspects don’t suit Mata’s style. We have a very strong attacking line up so I considered Fletcher for his height when defending set pieces, plus Fletcher’s experience would stabilize the midfield if under pressure like the Leicester game.

  3. I hope that Mata starts as no.10. Seeing as how Rooney has ‘special privileges’ he won’t be dropped – so RVP needs to start on the bench.

    I would also like to see more of Januzaj, rather than him just being an understudy for Di Maria.

  4. DE GEA(GK) RAFAEL(RB) TOM THORPE (cb) MARCOS ROJO(CB) LUKE SHAW(LB). ANDER HERRERA (RM) DALEY BLIND (CDM) ANGEL DI MARIA (LM) MATA (CAM) FALCAO VAN PERSIE. Forget that rooney is the captain because united needs mata creativity. Mata has the a special connection with di maria, Herrera and falcao.

  5. This back four is untried & untested. I would give them some protection by fielding 2 holding midfielders and play Fletcher & Blind in front of them. Herrera to replace Mata. Otherwise OK.

  6. its not a bad one thou,but i would lyk to also see this lad (perreira)in action.he shuld find a game to giv him a chance i think,and i prefer 2 holding midfielderz bcaz of our inexpri dfence carrick and blind i dont like fletcher he’s too slow.

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