Manchester United face Southampton on Wednesday evening as they look to continue their recent good run of form. Sandwiched in between two weekend games, it will be interesting to see what players Sir Alex Ferguson picks against the Saints.
Manchester United starting XI
David de Gea – Manchester United’s number one is fit to start on Wednesday evening.
Rafael – The ever maturing Brazilian put in another solid display at the weekend against Fulham and will need another one against Southampton.
Rio Ferdinand – Chris Smalling and Phil Jones started at centre-back over the weekend. However, this match should see the return of United’s more experienced defenders with Ferdinand likely to come back into the team.
Nemanja Vidic – Manchester United’s Serbian captain has been proving his worth again recently, particularly in aerial duels and organisational duties and is likely to partner Ferdinand on Wednesday. One of Vidic or Ferdinand may make way late in the game in order to get extra rest and give Jonny Evans a run-out should he be ready to return from injury.
Patrice Evra – His once debated full-back position has looked strong and secure recently. The Frenchman may be required to provide extra width high up the pitch against Southampton.
Shinji Kagawa – Ferguson likes to go with the form players and Shinji Kagawa is certainly in form. A right-sided position might be where he fits in on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if Kagawa can last the full 90 minutes, something he has only done once all season.
Michael Carrick – Carrick is truly the rock of Manchester United’s midfield and is the ever-constant in the line-up at the moment.
Tom Cleverley – Despite a good Anderson performance at the weekend, Cleverley will probably come in on Wednesday and resume his burgeoning partnership with Carrick in the middle of the park.
Danny Welbeck – Welbeck, like Kagawa, is a form player at United currently and may be slot into the left side of midfield against Southampton.
Robin van Persie – Van Persie scored a hat-trick versus Southampton in September and after a rest at the weekend, he will be raring to go on Wednesday.
Manchester United are likely to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Wednesday evening. With the potential lack of natural wingers in the side, the three of Rooney, Welbeck and Kagawa are likely to line-up behind Robin van Persie in a fluid attacking line.
The technical interchanges witnessed recently between Welbeck, Kagawa and Cleverley will hopefully be on show again, enhanced by the addition of Wayne Rooney to the side.
United’s full-backs may need to be particularly adventurous in adding more width to the Red Devils expansive playing style. As mentioned above, if fit, Jonny Evans is likely to be given some minutes. Ferguson may also look to Antonio Valencia or Nani if he seeks more direct wing-play as the match endures.