Manchester United received a PACKED October/November fixture list. First on October 17, United travel to Newcastle, then three days later the Red Devils travel to Paris to play PSG. Four days later, United catch Chelsea at home and RB Leipzig four days after playing against the Blues. The week after, United play Arsenal, Basakehir, and (near the top of the league) Everton all within six days.
To take away a substantial amount of points from the six fixtures mentioned above, Manchester United need to rotate their players and get the most out of the whole squad. The following is how the new signings can bolster United to get through the tough October/November schedule.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prefers the 4-2-3-1 formation and uses it most often. During project restart, Ole almost exclusively used this lineup. However, he tried using the lineup below (3-5-2) but it proved ineffective when he used it for United. One of the few changes that might appear in this lineup is the addition of Alex Telles. The Brazilian left-back possesses a great skill of crossing the ball in from wide positions. Very few fullbacks for United have been able to cross the ball in and add into the attack.
The front four players look to be constant this season. Martial, Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, and Greenwood will play the majority of games, while Edison Cavani and Donny van de Beek will play when someone in the attack lacks fitness. In a cup match, Dan James, Facundo Pellistri, and Juan Mata could get out for a chance, but probably will not regularly appear in the Premier League unless major injuries fall onto United.
Pogba and Matic are the obvious choices in the midfield double pivot. However, Matic is getting older and Pogba has been brutally inconstant. Last season, Fred and Mctominay worked well together in the pivot could easily get opportunities to win a spot back in the United lineup. Donny van de Beek may also get a few games in the double pivot if he isn’t being played enough upfront.
In the back, it has been a mess. New signing, Alex Telles will compete with Luke Shaw for the starting left-back role, which ultimately Telles should win. On the right, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be the constant starter, with the possibility that Brandon Williams gets a few games on the right and the left as a fullback.
The center-back situation is tough. Maguire is the captain, but his form has been poor. Lindelof and Bailly have been fighting for the second center-back role but they could lose it to a promising youngster. Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi both could be put into the mix this season if the center-back woes continue. If Luke Shaw were to lose the left-back battle, then he might play at center-back. In net, De Gea and Henderson will continue to fight it out. The number one role is De Gea’s to lose at the moment.
The lineup was used multiple times last season and will probably be used this season as well. Despite it not being preferred by Ole, he still chooses it from time to time and may rely on it more if it can guarantee results. This lineup focuses on the wingbacks to get forward and midfield to control the middle of the park.
In attack, Martial, Greenwood, and Rashford should rotate through the striker positions. However, if Cavani performs well, then he could get into the rotation more often and even become a crucial member of the attack in this lineup. Bruno should start at CAM, with van de Beek getting games in there as well.
The midfield issue is the identical to the issues in the 4-2-3-1. Ole must choose whether he is going to play who is in form, or if he can weather the storm with his current midfields.
This lineup depends on stability at the back. Telles and Wan-Bissaka will be the wingbacks in this setup. In order to win games, they will be crucial and will need to be able to get up the pitch in attack and rush back into defense. Luke Shaw will shift into a center-back role in this lineup, working on the left of Maguire. The as a center-back Shaw will bring a bit of skill to the backline. Alongside Maguire and Shaw, players like Bailly, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, and Mengi will want to get the final spot in the defense. The goalkeeper position is the same as in the 4-2-3-1.
Ole might get tricky and try to work in the 4-1-2-1-2 formation this season if he needs to. This formation requires midfielders and the fullbacks to be strong and the attackers to capitalize on their chances.
The attack is identical to the 3-5-2. Martial, Rashford, and Greenwood will get the majority of game time as strikers, but Cavani will still get put in and might get more if he is in form. Bruno is still the man at CAM, but instead of van de Beek covering him, Mata would be his backup in the 4-1-2-1-2.
The midfield will mainly feature Pogba and van de Beek in the forward pivot with Matic sitting back in the CDM. This lineup puts a lot of focus on the midfield and gives van de Beek a chance to start week in and week out alongside Pogba. The double-pivot of the 4-2-3-1 forces Pogba too deep and the 4-1-2-1-2 allows him to play forward. Mctominay and Fred should also get playtime as backups.
At the back, again Telles and Wan-Bissaka should start at fullbacks. Shaw might slide in as a center-back if he becomes out of favor by Ole. Brandon Williams should see game time on both sides of the defense. At the center, Maguire, Lindelof, and Bailly will start the majority of games. However, Mengi, Tuanzebe, and Shaw will all push for a chance of games as a center-back. Between the sticks, De Gea will continue to play, but if he falls out of form, then Henderson could easily get the nod.
Glory Glory Man United.
Written by CJ Szaz.