Red Thoughts: Should Mourinho change Man United’s team against Swansea after West Ham?

by Red Debate

After such an impressive and emphatic win over West Ham in the opening game, the Red Thoughts team discuss whether to keep the same side and formation for the Swansea game.

JIM: I would keep the same side. You don’t change a winning team and especially one which played that well and won that convincingly.

DEAN: I don’t think Mourinho would change that much going into the Swansea game to be honest. Maybe Martial could start, with Rashford being pushed over to the right to add more pace on the flanks. Swansea will be without a few key players, with Llorente still out injured and losing Sigurdsson to Everton. Also, with Swansea only managing four shots against Southampton on the opening weekend, I’m expecting a big win from United.

BETS: I think he’ll revert to a 4-3-3 for an away game, despite the great start. I would bring Herrera back in for Mata and give Martial a run in place of Mkhi (with Rashford switching to the right). I’d also rotate Blind with Darmian at LB, because Darmian is better defensively and we’ll need to be a bit tighter away from home.

COREY: I really don’t think you need to change the side. I thought everyone played really well, and there was a good balance to the team.

I think a lot of people would like to see Herrera back in, maybe in place of Mata. But I hope we won’t be so defensive. Maybe against bigger teams I can see that happening. However, against smaller teams, let’s leave all our creative talent on the field.

One of the things that I think made it so hard for West Ham to defend against us was the interchange between Mata, Rashford, Mkhitaryan and Pogba. We were so fluid and that interchanging was impeccable.

If you bring on Martial for Rashford, Martial doesn’t float around as much as Rashford. He also doesn’t provide as much width, and tends to tuck in more. If you look at his positioning for his goal, you will get a sense of where he tends to be.

Herrera for Mata would also hurt us, as Herrera tends to stay on the right side, which would force Pogba to stay on the left side. Plus, although Herrera is a harder work than Mata, and puts in more of an effort defensively, he doesn’t provide as much creativity as Mata going forward.

So in just two moves, you be hampering all the fluid movement and creativity that made us so deadly against West Ham.

I am not saying the side that started against West Ham is our strongest 11, but I like the balance of it, and wouldn’t change it against smaller teams.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Juan Mata of Manchester United looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on August 13, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


REX: Fantastic start to the season! My goodness we looked good! West Ham were terrible but since I’m a United fan,I’m going to look at it from our point of view. So I’m going to say we made them look terrible. Passing, moving, interchanging positions and actually scoring! Wow! What a difference! It’s early days and, as the manager says, let’s not get carried away. but if we play like this then surely we’ll win more games than last season at home and away, especially at home, turning those draws into victories. I don’t mind going with this approach against “weaker” opposition, then going with the pragmatic approach for the big games. People will hate and criticise us for it but, hey, if we win most of those games against the top teams by 1-0 margins, I’ll take it! So I’m cautiously positive. We’ve got a squad to rotate as well, to keep the energy levels up, because all that running takes a toll on players. So come on you reds!! You’ve got us all excited and hoping!!

José always puts a team out according to the opposition. So it wouldn’t shock me if there are a few tweaks for the Swansea game. His formations are more or less the same, just  different variations of it. It’s usually a 4-3-3 broken down whichever way he sees fit, but it’s always one striker, so you know who’s guaranteed to start there! Although having said that, he has been experimenting with the 3-5-2, which we’ve looked pretty good playing. So it’s anyone’s guess really. Swansea, away, second game of the season…. I could see us trying the 3-5-2. The only personnel changes I can see would be Martial and Herrera in the team for possibly Rashford and Mata, but they both just had a hell of a game so it’s a problem for the manager, but it’s one I’m sure he’ll take over no options at all! I say give Martial and Herrera a start, at least an hour. If we’re far ahead by the 60-70 minute mark, put Pereira in for Pogba (needs rest) then Rashford in for Lukaku up front, otherwise the rest stay where they are. And maybe a cameo for Darmian as well, as those guys were impressive during pre-season.

DAN: I can see a change. West Ham played 4-5-1 and Swansea play a 4-4-2 diamond, so I can see José maybe giving wing backs a run, getting Valencia and (I would keep) Blind on the left right up against the fullbacks. Matic could sit in front of Bailly, Smalling and Jones, with Herrera and Pogba in the middle, then Rashford up top with Lukaku in a 3-5-2.

HEMOR: I’d keep the same team and formation even though I’d love to see more of Martial and Herrera. This present team played very well against West Ham, and considering Swansea won’t trouble us that much (they sold Sigurdsson and Llorente is injured), we should attack them from 0-90′. The team’s understanding looked good against West Ham, so breaking it up might not be a smart thing to do. Over the next few weeks, some people might force their way into the lineup of course, but at the moment I’d prefer us to play the same way and let the players’ understanding continue to grow.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United runs with the ball during their International Champions Cup (ICC) football match on July 26, 2017 at the FedExField, in Landover, Maryland. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)


BETS: Surely Martial must be in the starting 11? Doesn’t Mourinho trust him for some reason?

REX: I think it’s hard to displace Rashford on that left side with how many games he played for Mourinho last season, as well as the work he puts in defensively. So I don’t really think it’s a trust issue for Mou, more like ‘the guy I’m putting there now is better at wing play or rather, the type of wing play I want’. The only measure will be when games come thick and fast … does he play him or still bench him? I think he will play him.

The best thing for Martial to do is what he did on Sunday: keep playing, scoring and assisting when called upon, and the rest will sort itself out. In which case, he forces the manager’s hand into a ‘play me, or let me go elsewhere’ situation. And I hope I never see that day because the talent in that lad is just phenomenal.

COREY: I think Rashford is getting the nod for one of two reasons. 1) he puts in more of a shift defensively than Martial. Martial has a tendency to go quiet in games and get frustrated at prolonged defensive shifts. 2) Rashford is better at staying out wide. Martial will always tuck in. Furthermore, Martial will always cut in and take the shot. It’s why we all flipped out when he ran to the byline and assisted Lingard in preseason. Rashford is comfortable doing both.

I think Martial is more clinical when it comes to goalscoring. But Rashford is more well rounded, and has a higher work rate.

BETS: I do think he should start. There is a clear difference in him since last season, it’s like a light bulb has gone back on. All this talk about Bale and Perisic, but if Martial finds his game he could be unplayable. Mou’s been right to hold him back but you have to unleash him at some point or the confidence could just fizzle out again.

DAN: I don’t think he should just yet. Let him keep coming off the bench with a point to prove.

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