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Is this United lineup capable of beating City?

Derby weekend is here! This Manchester derby could well be the most important game of the season, as a win would put us 6 points ahead of the noisy neighbours and going into the new year, it’s a very, very good lead. With both the teams full of injuries and out of form, the line-ups will be a major part of what wins one team the game.

Here is what I think should be our line-up, with reasons as to why each one of those players has been put into the team.

David de Gea: In my eyes, David is our number 1 and should definitely get the nod. His shot-stopping is absolutely magnificent (not to mention his ball distribution). Some may disagree with this choice purely because they think Lindegaard is better in the air, but that isn’t really the case anymore. The Reading game showed us the Anders is just as uncomfortable with high balls and crosses as DDG is, if not more!

Rafael: This young man from Brazil has showed us exactly how good he is with a string of brilliant displays this season. He has matured into a confident wing back who makes lots of forward runs, has a solid work rate, and he isn’t afraid to tackle! What more can you ask of him?

Rio Ferdinand: In games like these quality isn’t the only thing that matter, teams also need to have experienced players on the pitch. Rio is a mix of both top quality and experience, is a born leader, and plays very well under pressure. With Vidic out injured, we need Rio to keep calm and mentor his younger defensive partner in tough situations.

Chris Smalling: Now you may wonder, why Smalling? Why not Evans? I’ll tell you why. As good as Evans has been this season, I believe Chris will do a better job as he is taller, stronger and faster! City are very dangerous from set-pieces and we need a player like him to take care of those free-kicks, corners and throw-ins.
Formation v City Away Dec 2012
Patrice Evra: Patrice has seen his form come back (after two terrible seasons) since the arrival of a certain left-back called Alexander Büttner. With a blend of pace and skill, Patrice is a danger going forward and is very good defensively. He’s unquestionably the best left back at the club, and deserves to start every game.

Michael Carrick: Do I really need to explain anything here? Carrick has easily been our best and most consistent midfielder this, and last season. He’s United’s Mr. Dependable

Paul Scholes: With all our dynamic midfielders out injured, we need someone to string through the passes with a wee bit of creativity. Who else but Paul Scholes can do this?

Ashley Young: With three of City’s wing backs out injured, we need some width to exploit their weak areas. As mediocre as Ashley Young has been, last week against Reading he showed us a glimpse of the form he had when he joined us last season. Let’s hope that ‘form’ carries on

Wayne Rooney: The man who holds our team together, be it as a striker or as
trequartista. Quite easily the most effective player on the pitch whenever he plays. With a couple of goals last week (he also has a league best 7 assists), Rooney looks like he’s entered one of his ‘spurts’ of scoring so to say. Now who wouldn’t want Rooney to score a screamer like he did 2 seasons ago!

Robin van Persie: Premier League top-scorer last season and current joint top scorer this season, he’s the most likely player to get us a goal. I don’t think he’s stepped a foot wrong in any game since joining United. Should (quite easily too) be the first name on the team sheet.

Javier Hernandez: Now you may argue that Chicharito is more effective coming off the bench than starting a game, and I will agree, but only if it’s for any other game. But not against City, not against Joe Hart. What we need to keep in mind is that Hart has a tendency to parry the ball into the danger area. Being the poacher he is, Chicharito can take advantage of that and get the all-important goal!

What does your teamsheet look like?



  1. Ismail N

    8 December 2012 at 13:29

    I would prefer Lindergard at goal than DDG at the moment. He look more steadier between the two. I’ll also will start with Fletcher and Giggs in place of Scholes and Chicarito and bring the pair later in the second half when there are many tired legs and more space to exploits. A draw is good result for us. But we need to ensure we don’t concede early against City as to do another comeback against them will be much difficult then against teams like Reading and Aston Villa.

  2. Andrew

    8 December 2012 at 13:40

    I like the team you’ve put out, but I would go a slightly different way. I definitely agree that David De Gea should be our number 1 goalkeeper and he should play tomorrow. Hopefully Ferguson stops rotating in this department and plays De Gea every week now. The lad is 22 and is such a talented goalkeeper, and Ferguson knows that. I’m not sure if the agreement was always to rotate Dea Gea for the first 18 months of his Man Utd career, but hopefully he has reached the stage of taking the gloves every week and building up his experience.

    I would, however, have Evans and Ferdinand together in the defence. Its clear our defence has had all the problems this season and the biggest worry for tomorrow is that department. Evans has been solid this season and he is good with both feet, that is a bonus for us. He is also starting to get the odd goal. The lad is growing and is the main centre back at Man Utd in my opinion. BUT…..I would have Smalling at right back. I love Rafeal and it has nothing to do with last week, but the height and power of Man City would make Smalling at right back more ideal for tomorrow.

    In midfield I would have Darren Fletcher in alongside Carrick. We need a battler against Toure, Barry, Silva and Nasri. Fletcher is obviously slowly getting back but Ferguson has started using him in the Premier League again, and I think it was in preparation for this game. I would have Young on the left and Rooney playing on the right.

    I want Robin Van Persie playing as the striker and not coming deep. The qualities this striker has is his ability to lead the line and to stay upfront. He causes the centre backs problems with his movement and technique. My controversial decision for tomorrow’s match in my team would be playing Nick Powell. The lad is starting to get a taste but he is a real talent and tomorrows game is the type he could thrive in. The boy is 18 and he is fearless and you need that sometimes. I hear people saying he can be as good as Rooney, well at 18 we would have played Rooney, so I say lets get Powell in.

    …………………….De Gea…………..




    …………………..Van Persie……….

    • Quis

      9 December 2012 at 02:34

      @Andrew: Yup… change Jones for Fletch. I think Jones has more pace than Fletch right now and he would be better to handle Toure “the horse”. At 18 I don’t think Powell has the legs for this kind of derby. Put Rooney in the middle and slip Rafael in the RM spot… or better still Valencia if he truly is ready…

      • Opti

        9 December 2012 at 08:11

        @Quis: Rafael in advanced R-ACM midfield role… is his ball possession that good? Jones in midfield is dangerous IMO… to rash and will be out of position like a slide-tackling Scholes… 😆

        Anyways, off to save United by playing some FIFA…

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  4. AS

    8 December 2012 at 14:17

    If we play a two-man midfield with Carrick and Scholes we will get slaughtered. Because of injuries, it has to be three in midfield. A two-man midfield with Carrick and Scholes/Fletcher will be completely bypassed and dominated, so it has to be three. I also think Jones has to play in midfield because he is the only fit midfielder who can press and actually run for 90 minutes.

    I would play 4-3-3 De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Jones, Rooney, van Persie, Young.

  5. tru27

    8 December 2012 at 14:33

    Are you crazy that lineup i dont agree with it at all
    de gea
    rafael/jones rio smalling evra
    young kagawa roony welbeck
    RVP chicharito

    • Ian

      9 December 2012 at 00:17

      Isn’t Kagawa injured?

      • Quis

        9 December 2012 at 02:39

        @Ian: Yup no Kagawa… I don’t think this guy pays much attention to football… and play a 442 at the Etihad and it will be 4-zip at halftime.

  6. Opti

    8 December 2012 at 14:55

    Decent lineup! Here’s my mod: 433 with Chicharito on top supported by narrow CFs! I only worry that midfield cannot link with offense here, but if Scholes and Fletcher coordinate about who goes and up and stays back, it might work. I think any 2-man midfield will get slaughtered due to insufficient quality on wings… Rooney is no winger and poor crosser:

    …………………….De Gea…………..



    ………Rooney………….Van Persie……


    • Sahal

      8 December 2012 at 16:04

      @Opti: Very decent line up that is!Maybe Powell instead of 1 of the 3 CMs(just a thought).He’s the only available one who will be able to get up and down the pitch and he does have a decent shot on him.He hasn’t played a game of this magnitude ofcourse but he dealt with the hostile Galatasary crowd quite well.An option of the bench maybe?

      • Opti

        8 December 2012 at 16:09

        @Sahal: If cleverley is available, I would slot him in over Scholes with Powell as backup on bench.

        Powell may just be too raw right now. However, “let them swim” may also give this League 2 star something to take from this game… can we afford losing. Yes. Can we win. Yes.

        Should be a good game!

  7. Sahal

    8 December 2012 at 15:58

    Smalling definitely has more quality than Evans.However,they’ve both made mistakes.Smalling didn’t follow Pilkington for the Norwich goal and Evans was Atrocious against Reading.Funny that both these players were at fault in the derby matches last year,Evans getting sent off and Smalling losing Kompany.
    I hope Mancini doesn’t go with Aguero and Tevez,they are lethal together and if Silva is fit,we will face problems.

    Should Scholes play?Sure his experience is invaluable but he definitely won’t be able keep pace with the likes of Toure.Then again,Fletcher is our only other option and he hasn’t looked great.He’ll give more energy and covering than Scholes but it ends there or does it?I think we all forgot what a big game player Fletch was before his terrible illness.He was always the 1st name on the teamsheet in big games and I remember how much we missed him against Barca in 09.Will be very interesting to see who Fergie chooses,We can’t really predict becaue the starting line-ups and formations have been soo inconsistent(not to our benefit! )

    A lot of Tomrrow’s result will depend on the performance of one man,Wayne Rooney.As talented as every other forward of both sides are,none of them can give his amount of energy in the different positions he plays.He hasn’t been great this season but if he puts in a shift like he did against Newcastle and the 1st of half Chelsea,it will be decisive.That said,if he ends up on the left wing he won’t be able to do much so I hope Fergie gives him the free role.The fact that RVP is up top means Rooney doesn’t have to bear that burden as he did last year,although he’ll have to be the creative force!

    This derby is really in the balance.You know we could come out all guns blazing and secure a victory but there’s also a sense at the back of your mind that our midfield could be outrun,and that means defeat.

    UNITED! 😈

  8. colver

    8 December 2012 at 16:24

    I really don’t fancy our chances. For me, if fit, Valencia and Anderson would be absolute shoe-ins and capable of making a difference.

    As was already pointed out Carrick and Scholes will get slaughtered by City’s midfield. Far far far too slow and weak.

    But Giggs is even more of a liability this season with his penchant for giving away possession which will be suicidal against a team like City.

    So all we can really do is load the midfield by adding Fletcher (who has been poor all season) to the mix and hope for the best.

    With Valencia and Nani injured we are pretty much forced to play Rooney out wide which unfortunately means Van Persie on his own unfront but that is something he can do especially with Young and Rooney supporting him from the flanks.

    Of course we always have the option of bring on Hernandez (probably replacing Scholes if he fades second half) but honestly a draw would be a good result and matching City with a 4-3-3 is the best way to go.

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  10. JARaven

    8 December 2012 at 20:47

    @opti i like the lineup. But what about jones instead of Fletcher? Think we need more energy in the middle especially if cleverly is out.

    • Opti

      8 December 2012 at 22:47

      @JARaven: What Jones has in energy he lacks in discipline 🙂 Fletcher is more aware of team mates and less likely to be out of position. He is also name “Big-Game-Darron” by Fergie and will feature mainly because of that. Do you think Jones can pass better than Fletcher? I am not so sure… Jones could make a wicked sub to harass Toure et al after 60 mins…

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