Manchester United travel to Birmingham on Saturday night to face Aston Villa in the Premier League.
United knocked Steven Gerrard’s side out of the FA Cup on Monday night thanks to an early Scott McTominay goal, but Villa were in fact the best team in that game at Old Trafford and the team will be looking to avenge the weekend defeat.
“I’ve seen more aggressiveness but I didn’t necessarily see that as more pressing,” Ralf Rangnick told MUTV after United advanced to the next round in the competition. “To see those pressing moments, you have to go through those pressing moments.
“It’s tough against Villa, but what I saw was a team that really wanted to win and in the end, that’s why we won the match.”
In terms of team news, Paul Pogba is still sidelined with a thigh injury while Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay have both been suspended for the match.
But how should United form? Our men have had their say…
Victor Lindelof didn’t block himself in the middle of the week but Harry Maguire doesn’t deserve to go straight back to the side. Alex Telles should come to Luke Shaw.
The Diamond shape has the potential for United in that it eliminates the problem of underperforming wingers by focusing on the full-backs to deliver and ensures that they do not outpace Villa’s midfield. There is also the potential control offered by Donny van de Beek.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood have been United’s best strikers this season and they should start attacking.
It’s a formation game for Manchester United at the moment. Rangnick appears to have given up on the 4-2-2-2 for the time being but going back to 4-2-3-1 on Monday didn’t make much of a difference. The cup win ended with a diamond and it may be possible at Villa Park, only to try to control the midfield battle that United lost in the FA Cup match.
The obvious problem with Almasa for United is that it depends on the offer from the defenders. The quality of the attacking defenders in this lineup is well below the top three, but Dalot and Telles might be your best bet to try and make a more final third bid. Maguire could return at full-back next to Varane.
Playing the diamond means Matic is the midfielder, filling in at the central defense if the full-back goes forward. It also allows Van de Beek to play the No. 8 role alongside Fred. This duo should give better control and pressure in the attacking areas of the team. Fernandes could play as the number 10 player.
Cavani has been below par since he had consecutive starts but his partnership with Ronaldo deserves another chance to thrive.
The Diamond midfield isn’t the only potential switch of formation this weekend with three at the back also a possibility as Shaw and McTominay both miss the match through suspension.
The return of Maguire and Jones provides a large enough center back to choose from with Dalot and Telles, the two perfect winger options to make the system work as well.
Matic and Fred are the only recognized midfielders who have a chance to start the match and Fernandes can play his favorite role as a playmaker. Cavani and Ronaldo up front are the perfect partnership.
Who are the players you would like to play in the starting lineup? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
“I think controlling games in the future has to do with playing proactively,” Rangnick said in his first news conference after his temporary appointment at United and his side appeared to have more control in the closing stages against Aston Villa on Monday.
They might have run out of visitors by then, but United looked better with the diamond shape. Dalot played in that 1-0 win over Villa in the FA Cup and should hold his place ahead of Wan-Bissaka, who is not the most proactive full-back.
The questions that remain on Van de Beek can be answered this weekend as he must start his first season in the league.
Cavani and Ronaldo were fantastic in United’s victory over Tottenham in October and can lead the attack here.
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