Manchester United did not find it easy but they dug in to claim another victory over Stoke City in midweek, extending their winning run to four matches. Games against Stoke are never easy and the fact that United did not play well meant that the clash on Tuesday night proved to be an uphill struggle.
Nonetheless, Louis van Gaal would have been very pleased that his side managed to claim a victory on the night and the three points means that United look firm favourites to finish in the top four this season.
The Red Devils cannot afford to rest on their laurels for too long though as there are certainly no easy fixtures in the Premier League and with a clash away to high flying Southampton coming up next, United will need to put in a much more improved performance than they did against Stoke if they are to continue their fine winning run.
Here is the Strongest Possible Lineup for Manchester United on the day –
De Gea was fantastic once again in midweek
David De Gea has been the savior for Manchester innumerable times this season and the Spaniard was once again brilliant in helping United claim victory over Stoke in midweek.
Although De Gea did not have much to do throughout the game, Stoke launched a barrage of attack at the death and the 23-year old had to make a couple of quite magnificent saves to keep the Red Devils’ lead intact.
Now up against the dangerous Southampton, De Gea will need to perform to his best once again and given his fine form – he will most certainly prove to be a stumbling obstacle for the Saints’ strikers.
Ashley Young impressing at left back
Barring a crazy few last minutes against Stoke, the United defence did do very well to contain the Potters attack and as a result, van Gaal may not be looking to make too many changes to his backline for Monday night’s clash.
Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo seem to be forging a very good partnership in central defence and considering the fact that Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are still out with injuries, the duo will retain their place in the starting lineup.
Usually wingers by trade, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have done surprisingly well in the full back positions so far and deserve to keep their place in the side. Young, in particular, has been very impressive and the 29-year old will be hoping to continue his fine form against Southampton as well.
Rafael has recently returned to full training but the Brazilian will probably have to do with a place on the bench, as will the young duo of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.
Mata hoping to maintain is good run of form
Manchester United currently lack width due to the absence of Angel Di Maria allied by the fact that Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are being forced to cover in the full back positions.
With Di Maria set for an extended period in the sidelines, van Gaal will probably stick to the diamond system in midfield.
Passing metronome Michael Carrick will play deep in the diamond while Maroune Fellaini and Ander Herrera should be deployed just ahead of the Englishman.
Juan Mata is slowly showing signs of returning to his best in recent times and the Spaniard should be used in the tip of the diamond as a playmaker.
Daley Blind, Anderson and Jesse Lingard remain out with injuries but Darren Fletcher will be in contention if van Gaal decides to rotate things at the middle of the park.
Rooney raring to go for United once again
Manchester United have been handed a huge boost with the news that star man Wayne Rooney will be fit in time to start against Southampton.
The inspirational captain should return straight back into the lineup and it looks very likely that young James Wilson will have to drop down to the bench.
After his fine performance against Hull City, Robin van Persie was ineffectual once again in midweek and there is a chance that the Dutchman could see his place in the starting lineup being taken by Radamel Falcao.
Via – Lineup Builder