GOAL | David de Gea
I still can’t believe this man is playing in goal for us! After his collapsed move to Real Madrid on the penultimate day of the transfer window Big Dave began his reconciliation with the club that made him a superstar by signing a new deal and committing himself to another four years. The Liverpool game last Saturday had the potential to be a seriously tough test for a man who hadn’t played a minute of competitive football all season, but thankfully Benteke and co. had a thoroughly uninspiring afternoon, giving de Gea a comfortable return to Old Trafford. Sunday’s trip to St. Mary’s could be another fairly quiet game for him with Southampton starting the season badly (five goals scored and three points in the first five games).
DEFENCE | Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind
United’s defence has been arguably our most consistent and best performing area of the pack this season – a far cry to the makeshift, inexperienced appearance that presided over our defencive line-up this time last year, when Blacket and Fletcher regularly made up part of our back four! However the four players that have played together in all eight games (all comps) this season has very suddenly been forced to change as a result of Luke Shaw’s awful injury vs. PSV in the Champions League. Rojo will come in in place of Blind, who will play at left back (as he did for the majority of last season) however more worryingly is the news that Shaw, who has vastly improved from the player he was this time last year when he first joined, will be out for up to nine months. An awful incident and one that I hope he’ll be able to come back from stronger like Antonio Valencia and Aaron Ramsey before him.
MIDFIELD | Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Memphis Depay, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young
Young has been restored to the side – and rightly so – after his awesome 45-minute appearance in the Liverpool win. He wasn’t quite as influential against PSV during the week, but there is no denying he is currently a more well-rounded option on the wing; someone who can attack well and cause defences problems while also helping out his own defence when called upon.
Mata and Memphis – who we are still waiting to transfer his European form to the Premier League – are regulars for me at the moment, although I’ve heard a suggestion that Mata will be dropped to allow Herrera to play behind the striker and have Young and Depay operate on the wings. I’ve never rated Herrera as a no.10, seeing him more as a ‘later years’ Paul Scholes who can control the game in the centre of the park with his vision and passing. Add the ever-reliable Michael Carrick into the mix and that creative pairing should cause S’oton some problems.
ATTACK | Anthony Martial
Undoubtedly United’s problem area. Martial Mania has rapidly dampened after a timid performance against PSV followed his heroic cameo in the league last weekend. Rooney looks set to miss the third game in a row thanks to his hamstring, so Martial will more than likely lead the line again. Having been at the club for a few weeks now, and with the pressure placed on him to score his first goal out of the way, hopefully we will start to see a more composed, clinical side to his game. Let’s face it, we could do with the goals.
APOSTOLOS LAMBRIANIDES – MAN UTD FAN