The Red Devils churned out a noteworthy performance in their 3-1 win over Derby County in the FA Cup 4th round and now will see themselves take on a Stoke City side that defeated them just last month. United now have won two of their last 3 matches, but still see themselves 5 points back from Tottenham in the League.
Fans should remain skeptical as we’ve seen United play attacking football, only to revert back to their boring ways once again. With only a few months left in the season, van Gaal must take his foot off the break and let his side play attacking football in order for them to have an opportunity to play in the Champions League next season.
Here is what van Gaal may deploy in the match up against Stoke at Old Trafford:
David de Gea could do nothing to prevent the goal he conceded against Derby, however, he did put in another solid performance clearing his lines. Sergio Romero remains the backup, but it looks as if van Gaal is going to ride de Gea until the end of the campaign.
Chris Smalling and Daley Blind‘s partnership has seen peaks and valley’s, but still remains the strongest pairing of the center backs that van Gaal has at his disposal for the time being. With the transfer window shutting shortly and United not being linked to any noteworthy center backs, this partnership will be the one that will have to carry United the rest of the way.
Matteo Darmian was out with an injury during the FA Cup match, but he should return to his right back role, as Ashley Young remains out for the foreseeable future. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is no Luke Shaw, nonetheless, he continues to put in solid performances and remains a steady option at left back.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera should be the defensive midfield pairing in this occasion, with Herrera allowed to assist in attack, especially at home against a lesser side like Stoke. Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick remain other options, while Bastian Schweinsteiger is rumored to be out another month with an injury.
Anthony Martial, who critics say is being wasted playing as the left attacking midfielder, put in a player of the match performance against Derby, running at defenders and picking up two assists in the process. On the right attacking side, Jesse Lingard picked up the other assist against Derby, but in this affair had a mixed game.
Juan Mata, who also had a mixed game, picked up the match sealing goal on Friday will be the central attacking midfielder in the United attack.
The Wayne Rooney of old appears to be back, with him netting his 6th goal in his last 6 matches. Rooney remains 6 goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record for the club and at his current goal scoring rate, we could see him break that illustrious record this season. Rooney’s form is red-hot at the moment and is of course, a no-brainer to lead the line on Tuesday.
Via – Lineup Builder