Manchester United: This MUST now be the BEST XI

Manchester United didn’t play particularly well at Crystal Palace on Saturday – they ground out the victory without showing us anything like their best.

But you can also say that they looked solid and weren’t even close to conceding a goal. In fact, we think that this is the most compact that Manchester United have looked all season.

For one of the first occasions, Manchester United adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation with Mata, Rooney and Januzaj providing ammo for RvP. As we said, it wasn’t the most convincing performance by Manchester United, but it is surely the way forward with the players available.

What we did see was Juan Mata much more involved in the game. He has been marooned out on the right wing of a 4-4-2 formation so far in his Manchester United career. Playing in a more narrow formation yesterday he floated around and looked really dangerous at times.

The suggestion, by some, was that Manchester United didn’t have enough width because of this new formation. But Januzaj regularly got his boots white and we think that this team will find its feet if allowed to continue like this – especially when Rafael da Silva comes back in to offer more wide threat on the right.

The additional bonus of playing this formation is that it makes the midfield much more solid. With Carrick and Fellaini shielding the defence and getting forward when possible, Manchester United looked far harder to play through. Finally, Vidic and Ferdinand gave a masterclass in defence.

If Manchester United are going to salvage anything from this season then they need to play with this team and formation.

Manchester United in the league:

4-2-3-1

De Gea, Rafa, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata, Rooney, Januzaj, RvP

In Europe

4-2-3-1

De Gea, Rafa, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Kagawa, Rooney, Januzaj, RvP

Manchester United fans, let’s have your thoughts.

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