After defeat in their Premier League opener against Swansea, Manchester United will be looking to bounce back when they take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday. With injuries to several key midfielders out for the clash, can the Red Devils finally get their season up and running? Who will start up front? And more importantly who will start in the middle of the park? Read on to find out what their most probably line up will be, against the Black Cats,
Although the Red Devils conceded two goals in their opening game against Swansea, none of them can be blamed on De Gea. The Spaniard had little to do throughout the game and the two goals were as a result of a defensive lapse and had nothing to do with De Gea. So the Spaniard will continue to start between the sticks for their first away game of the campaign against the Black Cats.
Although the Red Devils have secured the signature of Marcos Rojo, work permit issues mean that he is unlikely to feature against Sunderland, so Ashley Young is likely take his place at left wing back. On the other flank, the return to fitness of Rafael and Antonio Valencia means that they have options but Valencia is ready to get the nod over the Brazilian. At centre back, Van Gaal is likely to stick with the same lineup who started against Swansea, with Phil Jones and Tyler Blackett operating on either side of Chris Smalling.
Injuries to Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera means that the club are short-staffed in the centre of the pack. It now means that Van Gaal is left with just two fit central midfielders to play as the double-pivot. So, club vice-captain Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley will start in central midfield with Juan Mata likely to take his place as the No. 10 just in front of the two. Although the Spaniard was far from impressive against Swansea, it is only a matter of time before he comes good in his preferred role.
Having told Danny Welbeck that he is free to leave and rumours of Javier Hernandez’s departure aplenty, Van Gaal now has limited options up front. Wayne Rooney will be looking to continue his good start to the season against the Black Cats and alongside him Robin Van Persie looks set to make his first appearance of the season. The Dutchman is finally back to full fitness and will be keen on starting his season with a bang and helping his side to their first League victory of their campaign.