Midtjylland welcome Manchester United to the MCH arena Thursday in Round of 32 action in the UEFA Europa League. Currently sitting 3rd in the Danish Superliga, Midtjylland are coming off a 4-2 win this past weekend, whereas United, currently sitting 5th in the Premier League just recently lost to Sunderland 2-1.
The Red Devils have shown signs of improvement the past month or so, only to revert back to their passive ways in the most recent lost to Sunderland. With a top 4 finish looking increasingly more difficult, winning the Europa League may in fact be the only opportunity for them to secure Champions League football next term.
Here is Louis van Gaal’s strongest lineup for the trip to Midtjylland:
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
David de Gea with 9 clean sheets in the Premier League to his name will be looking to bounce back after his own goal sunk United this past weekend. Morten Rasmussen with four goals to his name will be de Gea’s main antagonist on the night.
Right Back – Donald Love
Donald Love made his debut against Sunderland when Matteo Darmian left with an injury and the young Scotsman will hope to make the most of this opportunity just like Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has done on the left side when Luke Shaw and Ashley Young went down. Love, still very raw, has decent pace for a youngster and he’ll have to use that this Thursday while he hones the rest of his skills.
Center Backs – Chris Smalling & Paddy McNair
The run of Smalling and Daley Blind will end, as Blind, who has been playing for much of the season, should be rested. Smalling continues to impress and if United do get a new manager, one would have to imagine that Smalling joins a short list of untouchable players that would need to stay at Old Trafford.
Left Back – Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
Although younger than his right back counterpart, Borthwick-Jackson will be the player with more experience in the first team squad when the two youngsters look to impress in Europa League action. The Englishman continues to impress, especially with his dangerous crosses that he is becoming known for.
Defensive Midfield – Michael Carrick & Ander Herrera
Herrera, who seems like he can never get a consistent run of games under van Gaal may have his opportunity on this occasion. Both Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick offered very little against Sunderland, but the experience of Carrick is surely valuable on these European nights.
Attacking Midfield – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, and Memphis Depay
With a bit of a lineup shuffle, van Gaal may be looking to rest Juan Mata, so we could see Wayne Rooney drop back into the central attacking midfield role where he’ll be flanked by the pace of Jesse Lingard and Memphis Depay. Lingard, coming off a hugely impressive display against Chelsea the previous week, where he scored a wonderful goal, failed to impress in a dismal display against a poor Sunderland team.
Striker – Anthony Martial
The Frenchman was truly the only Reds threatening attacking player and he was rewarded with a beautiful goal that he converted at a very tough angle. His pace and dribbling ability will certainly be needed if the Red Devils are looking to put goals on the board and take a step toward Champions League qualification.
Via – Lineup Builder