The initial sense of optimism at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal is quickly turning into despair and the defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the derby last week means that the Red Devils are currently undergoing their worst start in the Premier League.
Admittedly there is still a lot of time for United to be able to turn things around but 13 points from 10 matches is by no means acceptable for a club of such stature and the Red Devils now need to undergo a drastic improvement if they are to even come close of in finishing the top four.
United succumbed to another disappointing defeat against City
While the fans as well as the media have been very patient with van Gaal, the Dutchman could easily find himself under pressure if United’s fortunes do not improve in the coming weeks, especially given the fact that he spend in excess of £150million in the summer – a luxury former boss David Moyes was not afforded.
A home clash against struggling Crystal Palace is up next for United and although the fixture should be seen as a bankable three points for the Red Devils, their current form suggest that the Red Devils will endure a tough time against the Eagles.
De Gea was fantastic against City
David De Gea has been a shining light in Manchester United’s campaign this season and if it were not for him, Manchester City would have certainly registered a victory over the Red Devils by a bigger margin than they did last week.
In theory, the upcoming match against Crystal Palace should be a more comfortable one for De Gea but the fact that he will be playing behind a ridiculously weakened backline will probably mean that the Spaniard will be busy on the day.
The injury crisis in defence strikes Manchester United once again and the decision made by Louis van Gaal not to sign a top class central defender in the summer looks stupider with every passing week.
Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Rafael and Marcos Rojo are all struggling to be fit for the clash while Chris Smalling is suspended for his idiotic red card against City.
As a sad indicator of United’s problems at the back, 19-year old Luke Shaw is the only defender available to van Gaal who has registered more than 10 career appearances in the Premier League. Of course Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick can be converted in defenders, but the situation is far from ideal for the Red Devils.
Smalling got a stupid red card against City
In terms of the back four, Shaw and Valencia will most likely keep their position at either side of defence. However, it is anybody’s guess as to which defenders/midfielders will be the combination at centre back.
Paddy McNair looks like he will start and Michael Carrick should partner the young Northern Irishman. There is also an option of Daley Blind moving into centre back while Tyler Blackett is also in contention.
No matter what the combination though, United’s centre back pairing will still look woefully weak and it is certainly an area which Palace will be hoping to exploit.
Van Gaal will probably revert back to a diamond for the clash against Palace which means that young Adnan Januzaj will probably drop to the bench.
Blind should continue in at central midfield while in form Marouane Fellaini looks set to keep his place on the lineup in a slightly wide position. That being said, Ander Herrera could be in contention as well after making a return to full fitness.
Fellaini looks set to continue in the starting linuep
Angel Di Maria will probably start on the left and will be handed a free role. Considering Di Maria’s poor performances against Chelsea and City though, the Argentinean international needs to improve against Palace.
Wayne Rooney is likely to be used in an attacking midfield role behind the two strikers but a lot will depend on whether Radamel Falcao is fit. If Falcao misses out, Rooney will line up in attack with Juan Mata coming in at the playmaker’s position.
Falcao is still an injury doubt
United could go with a two man attack against the vulnerable Palace backline, with Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao the contenders to start.
It is still unclear as to whether Falcao is fit enough to start though and if that is the case, Rooney should lineup alongside van Persie. Van Persie has not been at his best so far this season and there is also a danger that the striker could be dropped in favour of young James Wilson.
Via – Lineup Builder