Manchester United ended their pre-season tour on a high note. Wins against Valerenga and Sampdoria should boost the team’s confidence. And overall their play before the start of the season left plenty of positive things to analyse. Jose Mourinho seem happy with the team, the new players have settled in nicely, and there is a lot of versatility.
Furthermore, United now can use two formations. United looked quite good with the 3-5-2 system they used against Valerenga and Sampdoria. But they can’t make any more experiments. The team must shift their focus quickly, because they have the UEFA Super Cup next week against Real Madrid. And even though both teams played to a 1-1 draw a few weeks ago, this is going to be an entirely different game. Stakes will be high for this one. And United must be up to the challenge.
Right now it’s not about experiments. It’s about fielding the strongest team possible.
How Should United Plan The Game?
First of all, Mourinho needs to be aware that he can’t try experiments in this game. United might have a future playing with a 3-5-2, but they need a lot of work on defence with that formation. And since Real Madrid play with three attackers, the best thing United could do is to play with a 4-2-3-1 system as they did last season.
One big surprise would be to feature Nemanja Matic right from the start. Matic looked quite comfortable in his debut against Sampdoria, and his sole presence makes Paul Pogba a better player. If Ander Herrera recovers from injury, then Mourinho could have his desired midfield of Herrera, Matic and Pogba for the biggest game of the campaign.
Based on what we saw during pre-season, United should lineup something like this:
David De Gea; Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Daley Blind (Matteo Darmian); Ander Herrera (Marouane Fellaini), Nemanja Matic; Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial; Romelu Lukaku
All three summer signings would start in this predicted XI. And even though it might not be a star-studded team as Madrid’s one (see below), there is no question this is a far improved side compared to last season’s one.
Real Madrid played in the MLS All-Star Game this Wednesday. But make no mistake about them. Zinedine Zidane is already focused on the Super Cup. And even though Madrid have rotated the side heavily during the pre-season tour, we can expect them to be at full strength for the Super Cup. That means United will have to face against Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Karim Benzema, and all the others.
Even though it’s still early, Madrid should lineup something like this:
Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Isco, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Yes, that’s a star-studded team. And due to that, United must plan accordingly. Winning the Super Cup would give the team quite a boost heading to the start of the English Premier League season this next weekend.