The terms ‘Manchester United’ and ‘settled side’ have rarely inhabited the same sentence this season.
But with injured players coming back Manchester United’s team looks as strong as it has all campaign.
Of course Angel di Maria will probably be unavailable for the game but the great news is that Wayne Rooney has recovered from a knock and should take his place in the starting line up for a tough away trip to Southampton.
It’s great that Manchester United were able to win without Wayne Rooney but the whole side has an altogether stronger look when he is in it. United looked vulnerable on Tuesday and might easily have drawn the game.
Rooney gives his side a tougher edge and makes them more difficult to play through in general being positioned, as he is, right in the beating heart of the team.
But hey, regular readers of soccersweep will know that we think Rooney is the best player in the league, so don’t expect anything but praise for the lad from us.
Manchester City have done it, Arsenal just about managed it on Wednesday and now Manchester United need to take all the points off Southampton. The south coast side are completely unaccustomed to 3 defeats in a week this season, but Manchester United simply have to continue their momentum if they want to be title challengers come May.
Shaw, Blind and Jones are definitely out. Di Maria is most probably out. But Rafael and Evans could make an appearance on the bench for Monday’s game (Kick Off 2000 local time).
With Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia both acquitting themselves brilliantly in the full back roles over the last couple of games, expect them to continue in those positions.
Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling will also continue at centre back after solid recent form.
The big question is who starts up top. Manchester United have all four of their main men fit for once and James Wilson showed glimpses of brilliance against Stoke. He will be increasingly hard to keep out of the side – particularly with that pace.
It’s a tricky one but we are going to pop RvP on the bench with Falcao and Wilson up top and Rooney in the hole, in an attacking formation.
LvG may well opt for just one up top in this tough away game. But so many of his best available players are forwards that we feel he must go for three strikers.
Here is our best XI vs Southampton. Win it and United come back to Old Trafford to face Liverpool on the back of 5 straight wins. This one won’t be straightforward however.