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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Rafael, Thorpe, Rojo, Shaw;
Rooney, Di Maria;