Potential Manchester United XI vs West Brom

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /

After a first win and first goal in four games, Manchester United come in to a home game against West Bromwich Albion knowing that they must win to build on momentum.

The feeling around the club at the moment is one of mixed emotion, with fans content about the league standing but not happy about recent performances. Louis van Gaal now must deliver exciting football with results, something that he will once again look to do here.

David De Gea has kept four consecutive clean sheets and is performing at the highest level whenever he’s called upon. Sergio Romero did nothing wrong in his previous appearance against Middlesbrough but he will find it nigh on impossible to displace the world’s best goalkeeper from the starting line-up.

In defence, van Gaal has no option at right-back. Defender Matteo Darmian is suspended after picking up his fifth caution of the season against Crystal Palace and with Antonio Valencia ruled out with a foot injury picked up against Man City, Ashley Young will almost certainly continue in that role. He started there against CSKA and played well and will look to continue getting a run in the side.

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At left-back, Marcos Rojo admitted this week that he is loving life in the left-back role after taking over from the injured Luke Shaw. Despite some competition from Daley Blind, Rojo has continued to impress on the flank and will almost certainly start once again.

At the heart of the defence, Chris Smalling has continued to be the star man for Manchester United this season. He’s become an early favourite for Player of the Season with his performances so far and was praised once again by Louis van Gaal and Wayne Rooney this week. His partner at the back is up for debate, although it seems to never make a difference at the moment. Phil Jones led a poll on Twitter over who fans would rather see partner Smalling but I believe Blind may get the nod.

With Blind in defence, van Gaal will have the option of throwing an extra man into midfield should the game get clustered as West Brom are undoubtedly planning on doing. With Tony Pulis’ defensive style, van Gaal may use Blind’s passing ability to help create chances rather than Jones’ more defensive style.

In midfield, Morgan Schneiderlin missed out on the midweek win through illness and looks set to miss out once again. Louis van Gaal confirmed that the Frenchman is still suffering from illness but had returned to training on Friday and would undergo a fitness test before the game tomorrow.

After Michael Carrick’s performance in midweek, it’s possible that he could start once again alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger but with West Brom unlikely to attack from the outset the boss could opt to use Ander Herrera in a deeper role in order to help with the creative ambitions of the team. It’s always possible that Carrick starts ahead of the German but with van Gaal openly admitting in the past that Schweinsteiger is his best possession footballer, it’s unlikely he gets dropped.

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In attack, van Gaal’s decision is less complicated.

On the right, Juan Mata has nailed down the position for himself for now. The Spaniard is constantly performing well and despite not scoring or assisting in recent weeks, he hasn’t disappointed to such an extent that he should be dropped.

On the left, Jesse Lingard has taken his opportunity. Memphis was dropped after his poor start to the season while Ashley Young has been needed in more defensive roles this season. Anthony Martial did well out wide too but with his greatest threat coming from a central position, Lingard has impressed with his pace and direct running and has been a big part of United’s improved performances recently.

In the No.10 role, Wayne Rooney had a good game against CSKA for the first time in a long time. In his regular, more withdrawn position, Rooney contributed a lot to the game and got the winning goal. He and Martial struggled to work together as they often made similar movements but with more time they will learn eachother’s games and their partnership will only blossom.

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Martial up top is a sure fire thing too. The teenager struggled against CSKA Moscow but his constant threat with his pace led to fans booing the decision to replace him. He will almost certainly start once again and another goal will do absolutely wonders for his confidence, after four games without a goal.

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /