By Imran Kardar
Manchester United are in a bit of a bother having not scored in their last three games and dropping points in the league and crashing out of the Capital One Cup at home on penalties to Middlesbrough. We can safely say that confidence is running low and the manager and the player must restore it before it’s too late. Their next game is the return leg of the Champions League against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford. With three games to go in the group stages and two of those being at home United must win them to ensure progression from the group. Failing to qualify for the knockout stages would be a huge blow for a club like United, so the players should be up for this.
Recently the problem may not lie as much with the players as it does with the manager, in my opinion. His stubbornness on team selection and not setting the players free has contributed to United’s recent slump. Playing a low on confidence Rooney as a lone striker, when he clearly prefers the free role at No.10, and putting United’s greatest goal threat this season Martial on the left wing hasn’t been management decisions of the caliber of a manager like Van Gaal. So in the Champions League Van Gaal MUST get it right!
DDG is sure to start in goal with the defense to probably lineup as Darmian, Smalling, Jones and Rojo. Valencia is out with an injury otherwise he would have started at right back with Darmian having a poor game on the weekend against Crystal Palace.
In the middle of the park I would like to see Carrick back in. It’s no coincidence that since he has been out United has been unable to score. Yes, Schweinsteiger is a more than able replacement but in the last seasons, it’s Carrick who has made the team tick. I would partner him with Schneiderlin, who missed training due to personal reasons but should be available for selection for this game.
Upfront is where the changes should be made. Young should start at left wing so that Martial can play upfront. Rooney should play No.10 and Mata out wide right. Lingard is also a possibility at right wing instead of Mata giving United pace on the wings and some width. But since this is an important game and a win could go a long way in United qualifying from the group I would expect LVG to go with the experience of Mata.
Let’s hope that the fans get to see the real Manchester United on Tuesday night and that the players are instructed to attack the opposition. I don’t know how long the fans will accept the countless sideways and backward passes. The players have sometimes made to look like a dog on a leash due to the manager’s tactics. Hopefully, LVG will let them off the leash on Tuesday night. My predictions for this is a 1-0 win for United. GGMU!