Manchester United returned to competitive football with a 1-1 draw against Tottenham last Friday. The match might not have lived up to all the hype coming back from the COVID-19 suspension of football, but there was a decent showing from quite a few United players. However, despite most fans having a clear idea of their first choice for 8/11 positions, there are still 3 spots in the starting lineup that we at The Busby Babe are not unanimous on.
Vote in the polls and debate in the comments for your choice at each of these positions.
Luke Shaw started on Friday, but looked a little bit sluggish. His match fitness fluctuates seemingly as often as his form, and the emergence of academy product Brandon Williams has called Shaw’s starter status into question. Williams brings a more aggressive defensive approach to the position, and has proven himself on a number of occasions, against top opposition as well. Williams isn’t too bad going forward either, but he is young and inexperienced. Shaw has several years in top competitions under his belt, including last season, in which he was voted team POTY.
Who should start at Left Back?
This poll is closed
Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are rightfully the top 2 choices for midfield roles. They might just be the best two players on the team. Pogba is being eased into the starting role by Solskjaer, but the World Cup winner’s impact on Friday was surely too much to ignore a second time.
That leaves us with 3 probable options for the third spot in midfield, one which would cover defensive screen responsibilities as well as contributions in possession. Fred and Scott McTominay both started against Spurs, but were both withdrawn in the second half after ineffective performances. Both have stood out at times this year, but Fred has emerged as a very solid midfield anchor. The Brazilian took some time to settle, but seems to have turned into a key contributor to United’s play, including his work rate in winning back possession.
McTominay, despite a lengthy spell out due to injury, has turned into a decent box-to-box player. He isn’t as calm on the ball as the other two options, but is probably the most powerful runner of them. He’s also contributed more goals than the other two, and can be a handful if he gets into the box.
Third but perhaps not least, Nemanja Matić has recovered nicely from a very poor 2018/19 campaign. Before the COVID-19 stoppage he stepped up and reminded fans what he’s capable of, serving as a strong defensive screen for a depleted midfield. He came on against Spurs and did a bit of the same work late on as United pushed high up the pitch in search of an equalizer and winner. We’ve seen him struggle before, but since rediscovering form he’s earned his place in this conversation.
Who should start as Defensive Midfielder?
This poll is closed
Until the arrival of the long awaited Jadon Sancho, the chosen one, first of his name, heir to the no. 7 shirt, Solskjaer will need to find another reliable starter to complete his front 3. Young Welsh speedster Daniel James has provided the most assists in the league for United this season, from the right wing as well, but has been known to be a bit sloppy in possession. He had several giveaways against Spurs, and was effectively marked out of the game on the right hand side.
James’ replacement in that game, Mason Greenwood, has also played his fair share of minutes off the right, but is less of a pure winger and more of a second forward in the role. He’s proven his lethality cutting across defenders, and is very two footed. His dribbling ability gives him an advantage over James, but he isn’t nearly as quick or physical. He also doesn’t get back on defense as much, but is certainly a more effective scoring option.
Who should start as Right Winger/Forward?
This poll is closed
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