Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester United – The starting XI

by Tom Newbold

David de GeaThe return of Anders Lindegaard to the squad is unlikely to mean De Gea is displaced in Ukraine.

Rafael: After not featuring on Saturday, Rafael is set to be given the chance to reclaim the right-back spot for his own on Wednesday evening.

Nemanja Vidic: No minutes at the weekend for the skipper, combined with United’s frail defensive display, suggests the Serbian will be one of the first names on the team sheet in Ukraine.

Jonny Evans: With Rio Ferdinand omitted from the travelling squad, Evans is set to get a third start in a row against Shakhtar.

Patrice Evra: Another experienced player not to play at the weekend, the Frenchman will likely be another of the first names on the team sheet.

shakhtar-awayAntonio ValenciaValencia is set to start on the right side of midfield with his main rival Nani moving over to the left.

Michael CarrickCarrick sat alongside David Moyes at his pre-match press conference and spoke of the team’s confidence going into this game. If Carrick is in confident mood, then he will be essential to the team’s play.

Marouane FellainiMoyes may prefer Fellaini to Tom Cleverley to partner Michael Carrick, partly because Cleverley recently had an injury.

Nani: Perhaps United’s most inventive player on Saturday, the Portuguese may be rewarded with a third straight start, this time on the left side of midfield.

Wayne RooneyUnited’s in-form man will surely start on Wednesday evening.

Robin van PersieStill uncertain as he continues to return from injury but the need for a morale-boosting win means this game is ideal for a big-name player such as Van Persie to come back into.

Formation: 4-4-1-1

The return of Van Persie means himself and Rooney can exchange between the nine and ten positions, something that offers movement and a much better outlet for United’s midfielders to play into. The inclusion of Nani should avoid the oft static nature of United’s wide men.

Carrick and Fellaini in midfield have the potential for being a ‘flat’ partnership, in contrast to the more dynamic Jones, Giggs, Cleverley and Anderson. This places greater importance on the movement and Rooney and Van Persie ahead of them and the adventure of Rafael and Evra on the flanks.

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