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Preferred Manchester United XI: The ideal line-up to destroy struggling Watford

by Joe Taylor

A very troubled Manchester United face Watford in the Premier League this weekend as fans call for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be sacked.

After conceding five goals at home to a Liverpool side who look like they are miles ahead of us, Solskjaer began to change his formation to a 3-5-2 to try and integrate Edinson Cavani into the mix.

However, it hasn’t worked out as the boss would’ve liked, with his job still hanging onto a thread after conceding a further two goals at home to Manchester City.

Many fans will agree that a formation will be hard to pick coming into this weekend’s match as key players such as Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba, and Cavani are all out injured and with the players struggling to fit into the manager’s preferred 4-3-2-1 system.

If I was United’s manager I wouldn’t have a clue where to start as it is hard to pick out who is the most in-form player.

However, I would turn to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea and his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation as I believe this style would suit United going forward.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea. Without a shadow of a doubt, I will be sticking with Dave for now as he has been sensational for us this season despite the poor form. It is like the form has reversed from last season with most of the players out of form and our number one showing glimpses of his best once again. The lack of form from our other goalkeepers such as Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson would be a risky selection at this stage of the competition.

Defence: A five-man defence with wing-backs would be a logical way to go forward considering it is the defence that needs work on. Many people could argue we don’t have the correct players for this formation, particularly in the right wing-back position as well as a third centre-back considering our injury crisis.

I have gone for an experimental defence which I believe makes sense considering Watford will be mainly defending. The wing-backs I’ve opted for are Alex Telles at left-wing-back after impressing this season and Jadon Sancho, a ringer winger at the right-wing-back position.

I believe this to be a safe option for this weekend’s match because it wouldn’t eliminate Sancho’s specialties such as his attacking style considering it will be mainly an attacking side against a defensive Watford who are just outside the relegation zone.

For the three centre-backs, I have gone with Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw. Not out of choice, because our options are very limited at the moment. I think it would be wrong to drop Shaw despite his form dipping at the start of this season. He has proven himself in this left centre-back role previously. Bailly has shown some great form over previous weeks and I think he deserves a place in this weekend’s match. Maguire makes up the other two spots after Varane’s injury as Lindelof features on the bench.

Midfield: The double-pivot is an interesting point only because I don’t feel Solskjaer has got the best out of the players who occupy that position. I don’t think the ‘McFred’ double-pivot works despite the talent that they clearly have, especially when on international duty. I would go for Fernandes and Fred this time around as I believe the Portuguese plays better deeper and we have not seen that enough yet. I also think Fred will be able to function if Fernandes is able to defend when the Brazilian attacks.

Completing the left and right forward positions will be Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. The two Englishman have shown quality over the months, particularly in Rashford’s case since his return from injury.

With Greenwood occupying on the right, I think this will help Sancho get forward with both players regularly switching as we know they can both defend as well.

Striker: It can’t be anyone else. Cristiano Ronaldo. Arguably our player of the season thus far. We need a true leader on the pitch and we see nothing but this in Ronaldo and he is always there to save the day if the result goes wrong.

This formation is of course experimental but it is something I would like to see Solskjaer push for to get the best out of his players and be able to regularly rest some of the exhausted players such as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and no doubt, Bruno Fernandes.

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