Twenty times Premier League champions kick-start their new season against Tottenham Hotspur in the very first match of the Premier League 2015/16 season. It is completely a new looked team which Louis van Gaal has at his disposal. The Dutch manager had taken charge of the team last season when it was in shambles. In one season he has made several changes in the squad and re decorated his squad according to his whims. Van Gaal had players like Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao in his squad who left this season due to underperforming.
The veteran tactician has so far brought in 5 new faces at Old Trafford. The list consists of big names like German midfield maestro Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and promising youngsters like Matteo Darmian and Memphis Depay. Also Victor Valdes has been replaced by Argentine international goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
The Red Devils looks like a compact unit and the fans can very well expect to finish among the top two teams in the league this time.
Goalkeepers- David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Anders Lindegaard, Sam Johnstone, Victor Valdes.
Defenders- Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Johnny Evans, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett.
Midfielders- Andres Pereira, Marouane Fellaini, Jese Lingard, Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Adnan Janujaz, Juam Mata, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Forwards- Wayne Rooney, James Wilson, Memphis Depay.
Memphis Depay – PSV Eindhoven, £31m
Matteo Darmian – Torino, £12.7m
Robin van Persie – Fenerbahce, fee to be agreed
Nani – Fenerbahce, £4.5m
Rafael Da Silva – Lyon, Undisclosed
Tom Cleverley – Everton, Free
Reece James – Wigan, Undisclosed
Saidy Janko – Celtic, Compensation
Ben Amos – Bolton, Free
Tom Thorpe – Rotherham, Free
Will Keane – Preston, Loan
Angelo Henriquez – Dinamo Zagreb, Undisclosed
Ben Pearson – Barnsley, Loan
Joe Rothwell – Barnsley, Loan
Best starting lineup & possible Formations and Tactics
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will most likely field his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation. With a single striker upfront and three attacking midfielders to accompany him from behind the attack will shape up.
As confirmed by the Dutch manager before, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney will play as a front striker this season. United do not have much option in the striking department. Juan Mata, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young is likely to assist Rooney from behind.
The defensive midfield role will be played by Morgan Schneiderlin and either of Michael Carrick or Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Defense is United’s biggest concern. As we saw during the pre-season matches Daley Blind might start in the center back position accompanied by either Chris Smalling or Phil Jones. Marcos Rojo is still injured so Luke Shaw is the only option in the left back position.
The most likely formation for the Gunners is given below in graphics:
4-3-3 is another possible formation in which Louis van Gaal can field his team depending on the circumstances and situation. Louis van Gaal has bought Memphis Depay this season who is predominantly a winger. His pace and goal scoring ability can be tapped in by the manager and he might be promoted to wider role in a 4-3-3. Juan Mata in that case will be upgraded to the right wide forward position. Ander Herrera will be the only change in the starting XI in place of Ashley Young.
The formation is represented graphically below:
Possible Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw; Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger/Michael Carrick; Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Ashley Young; Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United striker and arguably the most important member of this squad, Wayne Rooney will play a stellar role for his club this season. He has different role to play this season from what he used to play last time. He will be center striker this time unlike last season where he played a number 10 role. Wayne Rooney’s goal scoring abilities will be important for United’s success this time.
The French midfielder was bought from Southampton this season to bolster the central midfield. Schneiderlin has adapted himself well to United’s condition as he had brilliant pre-season with the club. His performance sends clear indications that he will be the key man for Manchester United’s midfield this season.
Players to watch out for
One of the most high profile signings this season by Manchester United was this German midfield maestro. The club fans were ecstatic with Schweinsteiger’s arrival and they welcomed him with open arms. But several people and experts’ eyebrows were raised due to this move. The midfielder is 31 years old and many believe that it might get difficult for him to adapt to new conditions. Every football fan will have their eyes on the midfielder as he takes the field for United.
Memphis Depay is an extremely promising talent who had two wonderful seasons at PSV Eindhoven. He practically won PSV the Eredivisie title last season single-handedly. Louis van Gaal was extremely impressed by his compatriot promise and he bought the winger this season for a bargain price. It will be interesting to see how the player performs at Old Trafford and whether he could live up to the expectation.
Manchester United have a compact squad this season but they lack a leader in their backline. A lack marquee defender might cost them. Also Wayne Rooney does not have any cover upfront. If Rooney gets injured, Javier Hernandez is the only option, who is definitely not a match winner. IF United buys a good striker and defender they might challenge the title this time but for now predict a top 3 finish.