By Imran Kardar
The season starts now in my reckoning. Villa Park will be the first away game for Manchester United in the new season and though last season United did well away, a title winning campaign is set on the champion’s away form. United were poor at home last season. Too many points dropped for the fans liking. The away form was good and this season the fans expect it to be better, that is why today’s game is of utmost importance. They have to lay down a marker and put in a performance so to send a message to the rest of the league that United mean business this season!
Don’t expect too many changes in the squad. The starting lineup will be the same as it was against Spurs. United will line up in a 4-2-3-1 with the same players. There was talk that De Gea will start at Villa but LVG has put an end to that and given the DDG saga another twist by coming out and saying that DDG asked to be left out of the squad v Spurs. That is a separate discussion altogether.
Though LVG likes continuity and the same players to play week in week out to build that cohesion, continuity and momentum I would give a 4-3-3 a go in this game. In away games possession of the ball and control of play means a lot towards bagging three points. I wouldn’t change the defense but play Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin in the middle of the park. They can be the holy trinity for United this season. United also have options of changing the three around and adding the little Spaniards in Mata and Herrera to the three in the middle to add the creativity. But my first choices are Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. With them in the middle I’d play Depay on the left and Young or Valencia on the right with Rooney as the man up top. This will give United pace on the counter and width on the pitch. I am pretty sure that this formation will be used some time in the season and possibly in the European games as United will need to add that extra man in midfield to counter the threats posed by teams in Europe.
United have been the first team to kick off the season and are now the first team to kick off the new schedule of Friday night football in the EPL this year. To conclude, this is an important game for United at a ground where they haven’t lost for a while so based on that I’m predicting a win with a 2-0 score line. Glory, Glory, Man United!