After a thrashing of Sunderland last weekend, spirits were riding high for Manchester United, as they took their Premier League winning ways back to Old Trafford for a midweek fixture in the Champions League Group stage against Wolfsburg.
United, once again managed to gain three points with a hard fought win against the German club, after conceding an early goal. The talk of match and for much of the last few weeks has been the sublime play of Juan Mata, who has been arguably the Red Devils finest attacking player.
Mata, who has been shifted out to the right side of the attacking midfielders to accommodate United’s captain and number 10, Wayne Rooney, has actually been the one that is looking more and more like of a true number 10, setting up the attacking play and chipping in goals when called upon.
Form and confidence is sky-high at the moment for the Spaniard, especially now that he has been called upon to take the penalties for United, a duty that was assigned to Rooney in the past. Mata converted a penalty late in the first half to level United against Wolfsburg.
At the end of the match, critics and supporters once again were calling for Rooney to be dropped, noting his poor passing and a missed sitter that he had the opportunity to put United level.
Despite Rooney’s play, United is looking more and more promising each week, and with a month full of tough Premier League competition against notoriously tough opponents; Arsenal, Everton, and Manchester City, on the horizon, the form of Mata will be needed. Here may be United’s strongest line-up against the aforementioned, Arsenal, when they travel to Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
David de Gea is the top choice keeper for Louis van Gaal’s side, conceding one goal midweek, nevertheless, keeping a clean sheet last weekend.
This is one position on the team sheet that van Gaal does not have to think about, especially when United play the elite clubs.
After returning from injury and impressing in a few substitute appearances, Phil Jones, will hope to regain his starting place, partnering with his fellow Englishman, Chris Smalling, in the center of the defence.
Daley Blind, will look to shift over to left back, and Matteo Darmian on the right to round out the rest of the back four.
Bastian Schweinsteiger featured during the mid-week, but will look to make way for a returning Michael Carrick, who will partner with Morgan Schneiderlin.
The previously mentioned Mata and Rooney will certainly join Memphis Depay in the attacking part of the midfield. Although not at his best, Rooney does have an impressive scoring record against the Gunners and will look to make it back to back matches with goals in the league.
With no other threat at the moment, Anthony Martial is the obvious choice forward, and he’ll hope to get back to his scoring ways after not scoring in his last couple matches.
With the lack of real striking options, form dips of veteran players, and with Martial surely to eventually face a dry spell, United still may need to look at insurance come next transfer window to compete on all fronts.
Via – Lineup Builder