The Reds host Spanish side Valencia tomorrow night in their final pre-season game before Saturday’s Barclays Premier League opener against Swansea City. United have been in impressive form during the US tour, winning the International Champions Cup and leaving the States undefeated in the process.
Tuesday night’s game will mark Louis Van Gaal’s first game in charge at Old Trafford along with new signings Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. Rafael Da Silva is unavailable for the game billed as ‘ReUnited’ following the injury he picked up in the States, and the manager has confirmed that Robin Van Persie, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj will play no part in the game after only being back in training for one week. As a result, here’s how United may line up against Valencia:
David De Gea is likely to get the nod between the sticks as he faces the side from his home nation. The Spaniard started in United’s 3-1 victory over fierce rivals Liverpool and will be pleased to get more game time ahead of Saturday’s game against Swansea City.
Van Gaal is almost certainly going to pick three centre-backs again with the Red’s operating a new 5-3-2 system, and as a result Jonny Evans is a guaranteed starter with the 26-year-old being United’s most senior centre-back. Alongside him Phil Jones will likely get a start and young Tyler Blackett may be handed another chance to show exactly what he can do after impressing out in the States. In the left wing-back position Luke Shaw will be hoping to feature in order to build his fitness ahead of the new season, and with Antonio Valencia limping off the field in the early stages against Liverpool, expect Ashley Young to start at right wing-back.
In midfielder Ander Herrera will almost certainly be handed his Old Trafford debut with Tom Cleverley coming in alongside him due to the manger having one eye on Saturday and resting Darren Fletcher. In front of the pair Juan Mata will again get the green light in the number ten position, however expect Shinji Kagawa to replace the Spaniard at half-time and be given yet another chance to show his worth.
Wayne Rooney will almost certainly start the game against Valencia after an impressive pre-season so far, and it will be interesting to see if he is handed the captaincy again after leading United out against Liverpool. Alongside the Englishman, Danny Welbeck is likely to return to the side after missing the International Champions Cup final due to injury.
Predicted Starting XI:
Jones, Blackett, Evans;
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