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Saturday 20 September 2014

How Man United could line up next season

Published 28/07/2014 | 15:28

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Manchester United 's first pre-season match offered clues to Louis Van Gaal's preferred stating XI for the new season
Manchester United 's first pre-season match offered clues to Louis Van Gaal's preferred stating XI for the new season

Louis Van Gaal’s first two games in charge have offered some clues to his preferred XI ahead of the new season.

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The Red Devils coasted to a 7-0 victory over the LA Galaxy and followed that up with a 3-2 victory over Roma and Van Gaal has given some of his big-name players early game time with the Preier League opener on the horizon.

Here is how the team may line up next season.

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GOALKEEPER

Little or nor debate here as the Spaniard proved that he was one of the best goalkeepers in Europe last season, even behind a struggling defence.

DEFENCE

Van Gaal has shown his willingness to tinker with formations and strategies throughout his career, with the Netherlands switching successfully to a three-man central defence with wing-backs at the World Cup because of injury the latest example.

Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones began the opening pre-season friendly on the US Tour at the heart of the defence, though another face is expected to join before the transfer window closes. Mats Hummels would be an obvious target, but these are the three men currently in possession.

Luke Shaw has little competition on the left-side of defence, but on the other flank Antonio Valencia and Rafael look set to battle it out.

The Ecuadorian got the nod against the LA Galaxy, but a more disciplined approach from the Da Silva twin may give him the edge when fully fit.

MIDFIELD

United supporters will have been pleased with the start Ander Herrera made last night, but it is early doors for the Spaniard. He is likely to anchor the midfield with another player also sitting in front of the defence. Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverly have a lot of convincing to prove they are worth a starting spot and when Michael Carrick returns from injury he would be the most likely choice.

Van Gaal has stressed already that the balance isn’t right with no shortage of options behind the strikers. Adnan Januzaj was a shining light last year while Shinji Kagawa has more to offer than he has previously demonstrated, but Juan Mata is currently in possession for the number 10 position

FORWARDS

Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie will start, it is just a matter of where and in what formation. Danny Welbeck has often played as part of a three-man front line, but this particular formation may help get the most out of their talents. Ashley Young can play off the front and Javier Hernandez will be involved, though primarily from the bench.

Both players are currently in the running for captaincy and the two will be vital to any progress for the Red Devils this season.

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