Football was back in England after almost three months as the Premier League kicked on in June with unfinished business. The pandemic break certainly saved some clubs from blushes, but Manchester United surely wasn’t one of them. United are on a 16-match unbeaten streak in all competitions with goals coming thick and fast, and the defence being water-tight. United have everything to play for, with 4 games to spare in the Premier League and a place in the top-4 up for grabs. The Red Devils are only a point of Leicester City, who stand at the fourth spot in the Premier League.
Champions League football is a must for the Red Devils as it brings in loads of money and makes the club attractive for great players to come in. Historically, United have been an integral part of the competition but recently they have failed to live off what is expected from the Manchester giant.
United are also alive in cup competitions including the Europa League and the FA Cup. The Red Devils will face Chelsea for the fourth time this season, as they lock horns in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. In the Europa League, United face LASK at Old Trafford in the second leg of the tie, after a 5-nil lead in the first leg.
The Unbeaten Streak
The Red Devils will look to march on with their unbeaten streak, and make it 17 unbeaten games against Southampton in the Premier League. United will be no short of superstars on the pitch with Bruno, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial and Pogba all being in great forms. Bruno Fernandes has bagged consecutive Premier League Player of the month awards for February and June and has completely changed United’s fortunes.
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The midfield is arguably in the best of shapes, with Bruno and Pogba linking up like they’ve played together for ages. Fernandes has taken matter into his hands after the restart, as he has scored 5 goals and has provided 3 assists in the Premier League. Surprisingly, Pogba has been a controller of the midfield and has imposed himself on the Premier League stage once again. Matic is the ideal partner in a midfield of 3, with Bruno and Pogba, as he sits behind while Bruno and Pogba work their magic.
Matic has had some great performances before and after the break and Mctominay looks to be in great shape coming back from injury. Scott would’ve cemented his place in the centre of the park, but an injury at a crucial time stopped his progress. Defensively, United have been solid and have notched up 3 clean sheets in their last 5 games since the restart.
It will be interesting to see how Ole uses the resources at his disposal. He needs to chop and change things well and keep the balance of the team at the same time. United’s primary target in the Premier League, for now, will be to get a top 4 finish and secure a Champions League spot. The FA Cup will go on hand-in-hand with the Premier League, and that is where rotation becomes necessary.
Let us now have a look at the best probable lineups and formations United could use.
The 4-4-2 Diamond
In a midfield diamond, Ole could get out of his best players, Bruno and Pogba. With this formation, Pogba and Bruno both have the license to go and express themselves, whereas the likes of Fred/ Mctominay/ Matic will sit back and keep the game ticking.
The 4-3-3 Formation
The 4-3-3 formation is a modern formation made for teams that enjoy possession and look to pile up the pressure on the opposition. United have the men on the flanks to provide width along with good strikers, but the problem is the midfield. It has been proven that Pogba and Bruno play very well together but need a solid CDM to orchestrate the game behind them, which has been done by Matic. Either Matic or Mctominay will have to play as the CDM in the formation, as both of them are muscular and can see off attacks and screen the defence.
The 4-2-3-1 Formation
This is the most commonly used formation by Ole and this seems to suit the team as well as Bruno, Pogba, Rashford, Greenwood and Martial. The system is fluidic and can see transitions very well. Ole has used this system in all the matches and United are the only side not to lose a match since restart in the Premier League.
The 3-5-2 Formation
Ole has used this formation Ole has always used the 3-5-2 formation against stronger oppositions in big games. The opposition plays a possession-type game, and United soak-up the pressure and hit them on the counter.
Fringe players like Lingard, Chong, Mata, Dalot, Garner, and Gomes could feature a lot because of the 5-man substitution rule. The Red Devils are playing some great football and look to be destined to have a top-four finish in the Premier League this season. With a 16-match unbeaten streak, they are also the favourites to win the Europa League. Only time will tell what the future of the Red Devils beholds.