Picking a lineup for Manchester United against QPR
The surge of perhaps erratic transfer activity for Manchester United late on in the summer window has had many from journalists to neutral football fans speculating on their best lineup. United dominates pub gossip at the best of times, though it will have certainly been interesting to be a fly on the wall of many hostelries across Britain during the international break.
Having had teething problems implementing his 3-4-1-2 lineup that he utilised successfully with the Netherlands, manager Louis van Gaal may bow to external pressure to tweak slightly in order to accommodate his new personnel.
Luke Shaw, as well as Ander Herrera were brought in during close season, though the last couple of weeks in August motivated a flurry of activity, with Van Gaal and Ed Woodward collaborating to bring in Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, and Radamel Falcao.
No doubt, David de Gea will retain his place in goal against QPR, though Luke Shaw is in line to make his competitive debut. Converting to a 4-4-2 diamond, which appears to be the latest ‘en-vogue’ formation could be the best option.
New signing Blind would be at home in an anchorman role, sitting deep, intercepting balls and spraying a variety of passes across the park in a mould not too dissimilar from Xabi Alonso. Further forward, Van Gaal has a choice of new vice-captain Darren Fletcher, Herrera, who could return from injury, and Di Maria, who impressed on his debut and supplied a hat-trick of assists while on international duty for Argentina, also netting as well. The Argentine is 7/4 to score anytime against the west Londoners.
Battling it out for a place at the head of the diamond could be Spaniard Juan Mata, or captain Wayne Rooney, who seems unlikely to be displaced by any recent arrivals. The benefit to United playing this system is that they can play both Robin van Persie and Falcao as a striking duo, however the latter could be the ideal foil for Rooney, with Mata playing in behind, and the Dutchman missing out.
Across the back, Rojo could be in line to make his debut, however, against QPR. Phil Jones will miss out, after tweaking a hamstring while playing for England. This leaves the manager with few options, and either Jonny Evans or youngster Tyler Blackett could start; the Northern Irishman being a likelier choice.
Having Blind sitting deep just in front of a centre back pairing means Shaw could be afforded more freedom to attack from left back, while Antonio Valencia, who has proved to be a lethal crosser, could start in an attacking right back berth. The Ecuadorian could well be the man who brings the best out of fellow South American star Falcao with his pinpoint deliveries. The Colombian is 3/1 to net first against QPR.
Without a doubt, United have options which they didn’t previously have, though many fans may struggle to hide their disappointment as to why a world class centre back wasn’t recruited. After the QPR match, everyone, including Van Gaal will have an idea about Manchester United’s best XI.