With the international break behind us we can now look forward to the Premier League’s return this weekend. David Moyes will be looking to secure his first home win at Old Trafford when the Red Devils take on Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The international break seems to have passed without any major issues, with all United players returning from duty without injuries. This means that injury situation as it stands remains the same as before the break, Jones and Rafael both remain doubtful but a late fitness test may mean they are available for selection. Wayne Rooney will be unlikely to feature with his head injury still being a problem.
The Champions League returns during the week with Bayer Leverkusen visiting Old Trafford, how this will affect the team selection for the game against Crystal Palace remains to be seen. My guess is that it will have little influence as Moyes looks for his first home win as Manchester United manager.
The season so far has seen a pretty consistent line-up and I would expect little to change, David De Gea should start in goal with Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra taking their normal positions up in front of the young Spaniard.
The position of right back remains in question. Late fitness tests for Rafael and Jones will likely end the debate. If Rafael has recovered, and it’s unlikely that he has then he will take the role on the right of the United defence. In the event that neither Rafael or Phil Jones can make it for the match on Saturday, Moyes may elect to start Chris Smalling or Antonio Valencia in the role. My personal preference for this position would be to give Valencia the start, with his pace and ability to get forward likely to pay dividend in this game.
In the middle of the park all the attention will be on Marouane Fellaini, as everyone expects the deadline day signing to make his debut for the club. This weekends match against Crystal Palace would seem the best opportunity to get his first appearance under his belt ahead of the more pressure filled matches against Leverkusen and City.
Beside the rather large Belgian will likely be Michael Carrick, after not making an appearance for England against Ukraine during the week it would be hard to find any reason for him not starting.
The right of the midfield may see Nani start, after getting a full 90 minutes for Portugal midweek against Brazil he should be ready to play. This will give Moyes some much needed options after the return of Young seems to have been accompanied by some of the worst form of the players time at United.
The left of midfield is going to be another hot debate, if Kagawa is to get a chance then my feeling is that Moyes will play him in his less preferred position of left midfield. If Kagawa isn’t selected then it could fall to Welbeck to take up the position he spent so much of last year playing. I hope to see Kagawa play as he seems to have been the only player at United who hasn’t been given the chance to shine but all signs point to this position being filled by Welbeck.
Any speculation about Zaha making an appearance was quickly dispelled by the manager saying, “Because it’s his old club won’t change my views in any way but I hope he can continue and, when we think he’s ready, we’ll get him in the team.”
The front two will be a tough decision for Moyes this weekend, with Rooney still being out with a head injury and the fans screaming for more creativity it seems like it should be the perfect weekend to give Kagawa his first start of the season just behind the striker. The likelihood of this happening is slim, until now Moyes has shown no signs of trusting Kagawa with the opportunity so it doesn’t seem feasible to believe he will start.
This leaves us with just Robin Van Persie and Hernandez to lead the line. Hernandez is coming off the back of a disappointing international break but with full games under his belt he’ll be looking to bounce back quickly and get some goals. Van Persie also had a very good international break, scoring two goals on Tuesday.
Saturday will be a great opportunity to get three points and a positive atmosphere heading into a tough schedule of games.
Who do you think will start for Manchester United against Crystal Palace? Comment in the section below.