So much for a dawn of a new era at Manchester United!
Many had been quick to propel the Red Devils into title contention following their 4-0 victory over a poor Queens Park Rangers side, but their 5-3 defeat at the hands of Leicester City served as a cruel reminder to United fans that there are still a lot of problems plaguing the Premier League giants at the moment.
United slumped to a shocking defeat against Leicester last week
Brilliant in attack but utterly woeful in defence, United look like a Ferrari going forward but a Tin Lizzie at the back and there seems to be no balance whatsoever in the squad that Louis van Gaal has assembled.
Now to make matters worse, the Dutchman will be without four of his central defenders for the visit of West Ham United this weekend.
While United still look stronger than West Ham on paper due to their tremendous quality in the final third, one can expect Sam Allardyce’s physical Hammers’ side to cause quite a few problems to the makeshift Red Devils backline.
De Gea needs to be more commanding in goal
Although David De Gea could not be held culpable for any of the goals that he conceded against Leicester City last week, the Spaniard was not necessarily the most commanding and did not do a good enough job in organizing his defence.
Now with De Gea most likely to play behind an even weaker backline, the onus will be on the 23-year old to take charge of his defenders by showing more leadership – especially against a West Ham United side which is so dangerous on set pieces.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that United’s defence ahead of the clash against West Ham has been completely decimated. No less than four central defenders in Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Tyler Blackett will be unavailable on Saturday due to various injuries and suspension.
Luke Shaw set for debut this weekend
As a result, there is bound to be a wholesale changes made to his defence by Louis van Gaal. Marcos Rojo will most probably tuck into centre back while £30million man Luke Shaw is finally set to be handed his United debut. Despite his shocker against Leicester, Rafael is expected to retain his place on the right side of defence.
However, it will be interesting to see who van Gaal will elect to go with alongside Rojo in central defence with all four of his centre backs out of contention. It has been suggested in the media that Michael Carrick, who returned from injury recently, could be used as a centre back while there is also a possibility that youngsters Tom Thorpe or Paddy McNair might be handed their debuts.
There should not be too many changes in the midfield area though as the likes of Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young are still ruled out with injuries. Daley Blind is set to continue in the defensive midfield position and will be hoping to have a better game than he had against Leicester.
Herrera has to provide more protection to his defenders
Ander Herrera will also keep his spot on the right side of midfield and despite his fantastic goal; the Spaniard will need to do more from a defensive aspect in order to provide protection to his backline.
On a positive note, Angel Di Maria was sensational against Leicester and the Argentine superstar will be a certain starter while Wayne Rooney is expected to continue in the hole behind the two strikers at the expense of Juan Mata.
Falcao will be hoping to get off the mark this weekend
Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao displayed flashes of how effectively their partnership can work together during the clash against Leicester City and given the immense talent the two strikers possess, United fans can expect a lot of goals this season.
That being said, van Persie and Falcao cannot rest on their reputation and will have to prove their quality against a tough looking West Ham backline this weekend.