Potential Manchester United XI vs PSV Eindhoven

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /

As Manchester United look to secure qualification for the next round of the UEFA Chmapions League, a look at a potential line-up Louis van Gaal could opt for.

Manchester United’s big week starts at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, when Louis van Gaal’s side look to secure qualification for the knockout round of the Champions League when they take on PSV Eindhoven.

Goals from Memphis Depay and an own-goal enforced by Bastian Schweinsteiger saw United clinch an injury-time win at Vicarage Road on Saturday as they moved to within a point of the top of the Premier League.

Now with revenge on the mind against PSV and a top of the table clash against Leicester City to come on Saturday evening, van Gaal has a few decisions to make as players return from injury and he tries to keep his players fresh.

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In goal David De Gea is the undisputed number one at the club and despite the team conceding just two goals in their last eight games, the Spaniard has managed to maintain his focus in game and been able to pull off saves when it’s been needed to bail his team out.

In defence, van Gaal has been using his options well so far. Luke Shaw’s injury in the first game against PSV back in September saw Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind compete with eachother for the left-back role, while injury to Antonio Valencia means Matteo Darmian’s competition at right-back is now Ashley Young.

Young started the weekend game and did relatively well, although he was caught high up the pitch on a few occasions and is reliable enough to continue in that role. Darmian got the nod in the initial game in Holland and struggled with the pace of the PSV attack, so the boss could opt to field Young once again.

In central defence, Chris Smalling is the leader. The rock of the defence, Smalling has become the exact defender that United fans were hopeful that Louis van Gaal would sign in the summer. Alongside him, he’s formed a solid partnership with both Phil Jones and Daley Blind but with the English defender picking up an injury against Watford the Dutch utility man is likely to move back into a central role.

While Blind started at left-back Vicarage Road on Saturday and performed well, his performances in central defence compared to Rojo’s in a back three at the weekend mean that it’s much more likely van Gaal opts to play Rojo at full-back and revert back to a back four.

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In midfield, injuries to Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera mean that the deepest two will once again be Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Carrick has been ruled out for a few weeks with a twisted ankle while Herrera is still being assessed after going off with a hamstring injury in the first half at the weekend.

Schneiderlin has become a key component in the Manchester United midfield with his physical attributes helping the Reds in their high-press and interceptions. Alongside the German midfielder, they dictate the tempo of the game and keep a tight ship defensively, allowing more freedom for the front four to create chances.

After both missed the game against Watford through injury, captain Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are both expected to recover in time for Wednesday’s game. That means manager Louis van Gaal has a decision to make after a very good attacking performance at the weekend.

Jesse Lingard continued to impress from the left wing since his introduction to the first-team this season and should have scored his second goal of the season with a lob attempt late on when the game was still 1-0. That kind of miss could be the thing that sees Lingard miss out on a starting birth later in the season as he seems to lack that killer instinct in front of goal that Louis van Gaal claims to be vital.

Memphis Depay is known for his finishing ability in Holland and displayed it against Watford and in the first game against PSV, scoring the opening goal after some lovely footwork in the box. His excellent performance against Watford prompted van Gaal to claim that his best position is as the central striker, which could see another re-shuffle of the front line.

Juan Mata is reported to have picked up a small knock against Watford and while he’s expected to be fit to play, it could give van Gaal the perfect opportunity to rest him and play the type of front four that he wants in the long run with Memphis and Lingard wide, Wayne Rooney as the No.10 and Anthony Martial as the No.9. That would allow for pace on the wings, a mobile centre-forward and a talented No.10 in whichever variation the players take up, with flexibility being something that van Gaal loves in a footballer.

Alternatively, van Gaal could opt to rest one of the returning Martial or Rooney and keep Mata in, with Memphis continuing in the striker role.

Next: Mata: Man Utd targeting top spot in league and Europe

Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /
Credit: lineupbuilder.com
Credit: lineupbuilder.com /