Starting XI & Formation Prediction: Newcastle United v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League

Manchester United face Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Wednesday evening in the Barclays Premier League. United beat Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon which was the bounce back they needed after the 2-1 defeat away to Swansea City the weekend previously, which United did not need, but now need to ensure they do not falter again, especially with the matches coming up in March and April. Louis van Gaal confirmed in his pre match press conference that Robin van Persie was his only injured player, but also stated that Michael Carrick will not be a starter as this match has come too soon for him, despite the fact he was on the bench against Sunderland at the weekend, the manager stated he was able to play 20 minutes if needed, no more.

The Dutchman has returned Wayne Rooney to a strikers role, which was needed more than ever with the partnership of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao somewhat stagnant with goal not materialising, but second match in for Rooney leading the line, he scored two goals, one from the spot. The partnership with Rooney could bring out the best in Falcao too, which is something that needs to give or the whole idea of loaning the player for the season will be seen as one huge and costly failure. Three points are needed against Newcastle United and that is not always something that comes easy at St James’ Park. With Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur so close to United, anything less than an away win could see them fall out of the top four completely.

Predicted Starting XI 4-4-2:

David De Gea: The Spaniard is United’s best player this season, again. He has kept his side in so many matches and despite not being called upon so much against Sunderland at Old Trafford at the weekend, he made three saves which could have been costly for United. One of the first names on the team sheet for me.

Antonio Valencia: With Rafael da Silva’s future up in the air with him not even being named as a substitute, Valencia has to play at right-back over Paddy McNair, especially in a match where the inexperience of McNair will be tested by the opposition. United need to solve the right-back situation in the summer, but for now at least, it is a position the Ecuadorian and McNair can rotate, depending on the opposition, of course.

Chris Smalling: With Phil Jones suffering an illness and still a doubt for Wednesday’s match against Newcastle United, Smalling is the better option of the available central defenders. He was caught out a few times against Sunderland, but it was something he overcame as the match went on. United kept a clean sheet so it was nothing costly, but this month especially, Smalling needs to up his game, as do many of his team-mates.

Tyler Blackett: Better option that Jonny Evans if Luke Shaw is still absent from the side against Newcastle United. With Daley Blind playing in his favoured midfield and no real left-back cover, Marcos Rojo could be needed at left-back for the second match in four days. Shaw could be back in the side though which would be so much better considering Rojo is one of the best central defenders at the club this season.

Marcos Rojo: Best defender this season for me, but with no left-back cover, the Argentinian may need to move to the role he played for Argentina in the FIFA World Cup last summer. The likelihood is that Luke Shaw could well be back in action after sitting out of the 2-0 victory over Sunderland at the weekend, which would be ideal so that Rojo can continue in the centre of defence, where he plays to his strengths.

Adnan Januzaj: When introduced at half time against Sunderland at the weekend, the Belgian changed the tempo of the game. With Angel Di Maria seemingly out of form, Januzaj could be a better option at this moment in time, but would Louis van Gaal want to drop his record signing?

Ander Herrera: Put in a performance against Sunderland and when called upon he has been the difference in midfield for United. He is a very talented player, but with his appearance in court over match fixing allegations set for Thursday, perhaps the Spaniard would not be called upon in favour of Marouane Fellaini, but right now I feel Herrera is the one that should partner Daley Blind in midfield.

Daley Blind: The Dutchman has something to offer United especially whilst Michael Carrick is on the sidelines building up his fitness for his return. The Sunderland match was not the best Blind has played in, but his did his job, but could find it tough against Newcastle United. I am sure the player will give it his best shot as he will know the importance of a United victory away from home.

Ashley Young: Since recovering from his recent injury, Ashley Young has been a player reborn for Manchester United. His performances this season, even in a position he is not particularly strong in, have been impressive, especially when playing the left wing-back role while Luke Shaw was injured. Pre-season was also good for Young, who was one of the best players on tour in the summer. Definite must to start as alongside Januzaj, it would give United two wingers, which is something the side has been playing without recently.

Wayne Rooney: The captain all start and in his favoured position – up front. Just the goals separate Rooney from matching Denis Law’s goalscoring record for United, something that he could eclipse this season. I feel the partnership between Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie became stagnant before the Dutchman’s injury, and against Sunderland, the Colombian did look a bit better alongside Rooney.

Radamel Falcao: The Colombian has been given another chance to succeed thanks to a seemingly long-term injury to Robin van Persie. Of late, Falcao has failed to impress and needs to severely up his game. His passing was good with Rooney at the weekend and some have suggested it could be the start of things to come. Time is running out if Falcao wants to remain at United next season and snapping into action all of a sudden and scoring a handful of goals could be what he needs to get his confidence back and help fire United to UEFA Champions League football next season.


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