Saturday’s early kick off against newly promoted Burnley is edging closer and the injury nightmare continues for Louis Van Gaal. Shaw, Smalling, Carrick, Herrera, Felliani, Kagawa and Jesse Lingard are all out injured whilst it seems Marcos Rojo will miss out again as he is yet to seal his work permit. Rafael was deemed fit last week but has yet to feature. Read into that what you will.
On a positive note Saturday should be the start of Angel Di Maria’s Manchester career. The new addition to the magnificent 7 club has been deemed ready by Van Gaal and could be set to fill the gaping hole in our central midfield likely to be partnered by Darren Fletcher.
It’s United’s last game before the international break and more importantly transfer deadline day bringing an end to months of speculation and ITK twitter accounts. If the rumours are true it could spell the end for a few in red. Most notably Danny Welbeck. On a personal level I will be devastated if Danny goes. He offers something no other player in the squad posses. Letting ‘Dat Guy’ go would be a very silly move as Hernandez looks to be following suit leaving only James Wilson appropriate cover to a injury prone front line. Tom Cleverley is another name that could head for the exit with Aston Villa, Everton and Valencia of all teams keen on the lad from Bradford. As disappointing as Tom has been over the past couple of years it would leave the central midfield thinner than ever. We could however be stuck with Anderson as we can’t even give the oversized Brazilian away!
Since the arrival of Di Maria, apart from a Van Gaal’s flirtation with the media, there doesn’t seem a great deal on the horizon to cover the cracks so we might have to wait till January if we’re to see the midfield enforcer we so crave. Strootman being the likely target.
So who and what can we expect on Saturday. Well there isn’t a great deal to pick from so unless Van Gaal changes his system we could see a similar looking side with the introduction of Angel Di Maria for a much need injection of pace, persistence and power. Here’s how I expect United to line up:
Tyler Blackett should keep his place whilst Jonny Evans will deputise on Chris Smalling’s injury. Young and Valencia are likely to be kept at wing backs as there are simply no other options. Di Maria will likely partner Darren Fletcher in the centre just behind Juan Mata and finally Robin Van Persie should continue his comeback partnering newly appointed England captain Wayne Rooney.
Another tricky game for United which on paper shouldn’t be an issue, but with confidence at an all time low and players injured throughout the team it could be another eventful afternoon for United fans around the globe. Hopefully with the introduction of Di Maria we will see a rise in performance and intensity. Something we have been crying out for so far. I think this time Louis Van Gaal and his men will finally claim all three points, but only just!
Score Prediction: Burnley 2-3 United.