Manchester United: strongest XI vs Olympiakos
Firstly, there have been rumours that David Moyes is considering playing Nani in the game against Olympiakos.
David Moyes is weighing up whether to throw Nani and Ryan Giggs into his Manchester United side for Wednesday’s do-or-die Champions League clash with Olympiakos, according to the Times.
Now we all know about the quality of Ryan Giggs and few Manchester United fans would have a problem with him starting the game. But if Nani gets picked to start, I think that many Manchester United fans will just give up until the new boss comes in.
Manchester United have lacked pace and penetration this season. But as we know Nani is inconsistent at the best of times. The idea of throwing him in after a 6 week injury, without any game time prior to the biggest match of the season, is beyond bonkers.
If Manchester United are to employ a conventional wide man then Antonio Valencia surely has to get the nod. We believe that the winger is in a slow and terminal football decline. He was never the most mercurial player but, in his pomp, what he did he did well – namely using his pace to get down that line, skin a full back and deliver a decent cross – getting his boots white all the while. Inexplicably, he hasn’t been able to do that this season, but he’s still the best bet if Manchester United want more width.
Valencia may be best used as a substitute to come on when opposition legs are tiring. But, after some dismal team performances of late, we think that he should get a chance to impress from the off.
What Manchester United also lack is creativity in the middle of the park. In the absence of Juan Mata we would put Shinji Kagawa in central midfield alongside Micheal Carrick. We can’t understand why a team so bereft of dynamism, quick passing and the killer ball from midfield, hasn’t tried Kagawa there already. Fellaini was atrocious against Liverpool so we would swap him out for the excellent Japanese international.
With Valencia on the right we would give Januzaj, quiet of late, freedom to roam on the left flank with RvP and Rooney up top. We have long opined that Manchester United should play a 4-2-3-1 more often. But the players clearly need more time to perfect this formation – currently they are getting in each others’ way – so they should spread out again into more of a 4-4-2 for this game. It’s not as if Manchester United are going to be overrun in the midfield against the Greek side. So they must use the wide areas better in this bout.
Manchester United have two of the best goalscorers in world football in their side. If the wide men can offer better service than of late there is no reason at all why United can’t go on to win this one by 3 goals.
So here is our team for the season-defining game:
Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea, Rafa, Rio, Jones, Evra – Valencia, Carrick, Kagawa, Januzaj – Rooney, RvP
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