Manchester United may have averted danger by finally tabling a win this weekend against Burnley, following their worst start to the league in 26 years.
However, this is not an excuse to sit back and relax, and Jose Mourinho will be eager to build a squad that will hush his critics as well as form a team that can meet their title hopes.
Here’s the best starting XI that the Red Devils can field with the men currently on their roster:
David De Gea
A no-brainer, as the Spaniard, despite some of his follies over the past few months, is still one of the finest keepers in the game. His cool saves of importance against Burnley continue to establish that he is the presence that United truly deserve as their final line of defense.
His age may make his inclusion questionable, but his skill-set doesn’t. Dalot is a talent that can reliably cross and successfully run past defenders – a style that the club badly requires in view of their lack of a typical right-winger.
For the time being, however, Valencia will still get the start for big games.
Aggressive and young, the Ivory Coast international may not be the leader of assurance that United need in the heart of their defense, but his skill-set does fill the requisite role on his best days. However, the team can’t afford him making cheap errors either.
Another player who is not entirely convincing in a world-class squad. However, the Englishman has shown his reliability on multiple occasions, and the fact remains that in view of their other options, he’s the best that Mourinho can manage.
A name that many wouldn’t have expected to remain at Old Trafford this season. However, it goes without saying that the 23-year-old has been the club’s finest performer so far this campaign, and if his attacking runs continue to be as effective as they have been, spectators are in for a real treat.
A vital dichotomy that Mourinho will have to experiment with. For away games, and for big matches, United will have to rely on the Serb, mainly due to his experience as a holding midfielder.
For home games, the team will benefit the most if they tap into the talent of Pereira and build the youngster up for a regular role in the seasons to come. This conduit is crucial for the club’s success.
A similar situation as to the other holding position. The game against Burnley was a clear indication of how well this could work.
The Belgian is best suited for away games and big fixtures, mainly by virtue of his dominant presence, which aids in set pieces, and like in the case of Matic, provides vital defensive cover. Fred can be slowly built into this role, and his more attacking tendencies can be done justice to at Old Trafford.
The biggest no-brainer in the side. The Frenchman, when at the top of his game, is United’s most potent threat going forward. This season is the closest the club has come to truly releasing him from his defensive shackles, and the creative intent he brings to the attack is invaluable when capitalized upon.
While United have often lamented over their lack of a specialist on the right wing, Lingard has shown his skills over there. Besides, the substitution dynamic and the selection dilemma that his brilliance creates is an all-round one-up for the side.
The Belgian striker is eager to fire away this season as well. With the side that United can currently field, it is likely that he’ll receive apt ammunition this campaign and won’t be left stranded by other roles, having to solely rely on his finishing and seal the points.
The Chilean looks quite hopeful this campaign, and his cool assist to Lukaku’s opener against Burnley is yet again a confirmation that he is at his peak. More of the same and establishing a nice dynamic will be key to the Red Devils going rampant with their goals this season.