How Manchester United should line-up against West Ham United at Old Trafford. Manchester United kick-off their Premier League campaign by hosting West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Red Devils enjoyed a productive pre-season in the United States but enter their first league game on the back of a disappointing Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid.
Jose Mourinho insists, though, that his team are mount a title challenge and they must hit the ground running if they’re to improve on their sixth place finish last term.
West Ham and United old boy Javier Hernandez promise to pose a threat at the Theatre of Dreams so Mourinho needs to get his team selection right.
David De Gea is a certainty to start in goal but Mourinho has decisions to make ahead of the Spaniard.
United started with a back three against Real Madrid but looked better after they moved to a back four in the second half. West Ham, clearly, do not offer the same threat as Zidane’s side and there’s no need for an extra man back there.
Victor Lindelof has underwhelmed since his move to United and needs time to settle at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling was surprisingly impressive against Madrid but Phil Jones and Eric Bailly showed promising signs of a partnership in pre-season and should be Mourinho’s automatic first picks in defence.
Antonio Valencia is a given at right-back, while Matteo Darmian is ahead of Daley Blind on the other side following the Dutchman’s disappointing pre-season.
Herrera out, Martial in: How Manchester United should line up against West Ham
Pogba could be deployed deeper (Picture: Getty)
Ander Herrera was one of United’s star performers last season but Mourinho will be faced with a near-weekly dilemma of whether to field a midfield two or midfield three.
The Spaniard injects energy and enthusiasm into United’s midfield but the Red Devils were too cautious at home last year and need an extra forward in attack.
By dropping Paul Pogba back into a deeper position, United can utilise the Frenchman’s creativity and Nemanja Matic can provide him with the defensive cover he needs.
The Serbian’s had a brilliant start to his United career and impressed with his passing in the Super Cup
Anthony Martial was United’s standout player during pre-season and he was completely overlooked against Madrid in the Super Cup.
The Red Devils have a number of similar playmakers but Martial offers United something different in attack with his pace and uncertainty. He should start on the left.
On the right, it is between Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata to start. Both impressed in the summer but Mata provides the greater goal threat and is a better finisher than Rashford.
Wayne Rooney’s departure means Henrikh Mkhitaryan can play in his favoured no.10 role and he can play this behind first choice striker Romelu Lukaku