Despite Manchester United’s failure to land an experienced defender in the summer transfer window, Louis van Gaal still has an enviable squad to pick from when Manchester United make the trip to the King Power Stadium. Sir Alex Ferguson would often challenge journalists to predict his starting line up for the next game and offered to gift a bottle of wine if they were correct. No one ever got it right, given the kind of quality and strength-in-depth United have possessed over the years. A similar headache awaits Louis van Gaal as he looks to balance the egos in the dressing room, and keep his players happy. Not an easy task, given the array of world class talent at his disposal.
In 2008, Sir Alex had Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez. Van Gaal has Rooney, van Persie and Falcao, in addition to the playmaking talents of Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria. The quality is there, even the depth. Whether the Van Gaalacticos can rub shoulders with the best is a question only time will answer. Let’s take a look at Louis van Gaal’s team to face Leicester this evening.
David De Gea
The Spaniard is the undisputed No.1 at the club and one of the very best in the business at this point in time.
Rafael, Evans, Rojo, Shaw.
Rafael seemed to have fallen out of favour at Old Trafford, but a rejuvenated performance last weekend offered United that much needed balance on the right flank.
Jonny Evans may have had two of his worst ever United games against MK Dons and Burnley, but still remains one of their best central defenders.
Marcos Rojo may take his place at LCB at the expense of youngster Tyler Blackett, who may be given a rest. Rojo looked relatively solid last weekend and his versatility makes him an asset, particularly in an injury crisis like the one United find themselves in now.
Luke Shaw was an unused substitute against Rangers last weekend, played 45 minutes for the U-21s in the week and should make his United debut on Sunday.
Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Mata.
Daley Blind’s ability to keep the ball and spread the play makes him an invaluable asset for United this season. Blind will start at the base of the diamond, and would look to get the likes of Di Maria and Herrera involved with his passing range. Plus, he’s a play-breaker which adds to his qualities in the anchoring role.
Ander Herrera’s neat strike from the edge of the box helped the Spaniard open his account for United in what was an enterprising performance from the former Bilbao man. His link up play with Di Maria and Mata will be one to savour against Leicester later today.
Arguably the world’s best player at the moment, Angel Di Maria offers United the balance they desperately needed. And the Argentine has the pace and dribbling ability to unlock the best of defences in the Premier League.
Juan Mata will operate at the tip of the diamond and look to find spaces in the attacking third. His recent goal scoring record is phenomenal, given his inconsistent overall displays. Can Mata turn things around with the likes of Di Maria and Herrera alongside him in midfield?
Louis van Gaal suggested this week that Wayne Rooney’s place in the United team is all but untouched. And why would we want to drop Rooney if he can reproduce his QPR performance every week?
Radamel Falcao’s predatory instincts in the box, combined with Robin van Persie’s lack of form and fitness, could earn the Columbian his first United start in the East Midlands.