Predicted Manchester United XI vs Norwich
Manchester United are seemingly going through a forgettable patch once again. And after experiencing all the highs and lows of what the game is all about, plummeting to dark times isn’t something United fans aren’t used to. Just two points from their previous three games, with a 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg sandwiched between them, things aren’t going right for Louis van Gaal’s side. It’s a bit of a mess if not a total mess and the United fans are losing faith in the Iron Tulip.
And when United host the Canaries at Old Trafford on Saturday, it would be an opportunity for the men in red to get their season back on track after three frustrating, unappealing and drab performances. Alex Neil’s Norwich, who currently lie 18th in the League, have proved to be a stubborn side against the bigger clubs this season and although, haven’t beaten them but have shown signs of being solid at the back. And the newly promoted side will look to defend deep against United, who have struggled to break down tight defenses especially when the opposition keeps a low line and defends narrowly.
A win probably allows United to bide time in order to regroup and rethink. And here’s how United may line up:
David de Gea
The Spaniard has proved, in almost every single game that goalkeepers are just as important as goal scorers in the game of football. In his absence, United wouldn’t have been at the in-demand 4th spot, for which the likes of Spurs and Liverpool are also vying for. His out of this world reflexes and positioning is something that stands out and keeps the opposition at bay.
The 22-year-old has now become a part of Louis van Gaal’s United setup, thanks to an unprecedented injury crisis. And the Uruguayan has done very well in his past three games. His tackling and reading of the game are impressive and although, the former Penarol man is not too much involved in an attacking sense, but his performance against Wolfsburg is something that stands out. Giving him a go would make perfect sense.
The Englishman is set to be restored to the first team following a game on the side-lines after enduring an injury at the Volkswagen Arena a week ago. One of the best defenders in the league this season, Smalling has been United’s best player this season. A reason why United have conceded the least amount of goals this season. And playing him would be more than just necessary.
Another one of those players who will be back fit after an injury, Jones hasn’t seen much action this season and he deserves a chance, to be very honest. The former Blackburn starlet would be desperate to get his career back on track after injury derailments and the game presents an opportunity for him.
The intelligent Dutchman has partnered Smalling in the defense predominantly, but with the likes of Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw still out, Blind has to start to make sure that Norwich don’t get an easy outing in the presence of Cameron Borthwick Jackson at left back.
Although, it’s a surprise to see Carrick fit amidst an injury crisis, but United fans must be happy for the fact that the Mr. Reliable is fit enough to feature. With Bastian Schweinsteiger not available due to a suspension, Carrick would provide the much-needed composure and experience in the midfield.
Last season’s signing from Athletic Bilbao hasn’t seen as much action as he would’ve expected. And the thing with him is- whenever he plays he scores. And a return to action after an injury problem, with both Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin not available may just end up allowing Herrera an opportunity to establish himself in the side once again.
The little Spaniard can work his magic anytime he wants and his eye for a key pass makes him a player you would always want to have in your team, no matter what the situation. Mata looked very good during the early part of the season and has impressed here and there too. And giving him regular goes would be really helpful, considering United need to take more risks when passing the ball.
In what would be the United and English skipper’s 500th appearance for the club, Rooney could be set to start considering the favors he’s supposedly getting from Louis van Gaal, despite of not performing well enough. He’s looked quite sharp in the number ten role and looks more like his real self, unlike when being played up top.
Lingard has well and truly enjoyed a breakout season under Louis van Gaal, which is again indicative of how much faith the former Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax manager places of the development of youth players. Although, Lingard can be accused of squandering some scoring opportunities, but his overall play has been impressive. He likes to take players on and go past them and has proved that sometimes, looking into one’s academy can be more effective than spending 25 million on a foreign star.
The 20-year-old Frenchman has ostensibly carried the burden of the whole United squad, it’s needless to say. He has been forced to drop into deeper areas due to a lack of pace in the midfield, such that a certain amount of pace can be injected into the side. And he has done the job of going past players and scoring well enough, at least for someone as young as him. He oozes composure and swagger and starting him up top is important.