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Falcao, Blind, Di Maria… How might LVG line Manchester United up?

Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

@manutd @manutd

The transfer window dust has settled, with some names moving while others stayed put.

And at Old Trafford, manager Louis van Gaal may not have the embarrassment of riches he was expecting from his new gig at Manchester United, but he still has some choices to make in regards to his Match Day XI.

LVG has brought in Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and — in all likelihood barring some sort of absurd red tape — Marcos Rojo. He already has Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj.

Those are a lot of names, many of them quite big. And there’s no Europe to sate them, just the Premier League and an FA Cup competition that won’t start until the world is another transfer window. So once a week, twice at-most, LVG has a lot of mouths to feed. Here’s how they could set up at the table.


Louis van Gaal is a confident man. Some would use the world incredibly arrogant. And this 3-5-2 thing that doesn’t seem to be working out? Well he hasn’t exactly been able to use great ingredients to cook the soup, now, has he? Here’s how he could roll the dice if he sticks with it:

De Gea


Di Maria–Herrera–Rooney–Mata—Shaw

Falcao–Van Persie

That would leave plenty of names, including Valencia, on the bench, but would honestly feel like a waste of their riches. Using Blind in that spot feels like a bit of a waste, but the Shaw/Blind/Rojo left-sided conundrum — heck, even Di Maria carries a strong left peg — needs a way to be solved.



Or could he want to isolate Falcao, bringing him service from three attacking mids?

De Gea



Di Maria–Rooney–Van Persie


This puts Mata on the bench, but gets all six new boys on the field.



The traditional formation leaves much to be desired, but instantly introduces a very threatening unit.


Herrera—Rooney—Blind—Di Maria

Falcao–Van Persie



De Gea


Herrera—Blind—Di Maria


Van Persie—Falcao


Of course, all this assumes that Van Persie doesn’t need to go under the knife quite soon, as he’s looked nothing like the RVP many know and love this season (and perhaps going back to the miraculous goal against Spain).

How do you think United will line up?

  1. hazacar145 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    they just have to scrap that 3-5-2 formation thats the main thing

  2. aceinthehole12 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    I’m all for the 4-4-2 diamond. That’d work with the personnel we have when they’re all fit !

    • lordfletcher - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:41 AM

      4-4-2 Diamond appears the best to me on paper but with RVP injured I’m not exactly sure what the plan will be. Do you move Rooney up and put Mata in mid?

      Evans scares me… I see others in that syarting role

      • geejon - Sep 2, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        4-4-2 diamond midfield with these players doesn’t work. Falcao and RVP can only play up top so that would be the 2. The midfield would then hypothetically have Mata at the top of the diamond right behind the forwards and Herrera at the bottom of the diamond sitting in front of the CB’s with Di Maria on the left edge and Rooney on the right edge of the diamond. Sounds nice for a fantasy football squad but in a real game that midfield would get overrun. Mata does not track back enough and Di Maria and Rooney are both attack-minded players who don’t mind running and playing the “dirty” areas but that’s neither their strengths nor what they’re being paid to do. Their instincts to push forward would constantly leave poor Herrera having people coming at him in waves. You know what happens when your midfield is constantly bombing forward … you lose the ball and leave acres of space behind you to get exploited. It’s Germany – Brazil in the WC semifinal is what it is but that would be every game for United with that formation.

        Yes, the diamond works for Liverpool but Mata is no Sterling .. he has neither his pace nor work rate, and Rooney and Di Maria are not the defenders that Allen and Henderson are. Notice that Coutinho (their Mata) got benched when Rodgers went to that formation.

        The reality is there’s not a single formation that makes sense for the quartet of Falcao, RVP, Mata and Rooney to all be on the pitch at the same time. A 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-2-1 (Christmas Tree) employ only 1 striker so that’s out. A 4-4-2 diamond doesn’t work for the reasons mentioned. A Classic 4-4-2 leaves Mata out of the lineup because he can’t play wing and a 4-3-1-2 means only 1 of Mata/Rooney can play behind the strikers and the other on the bench.

        As for LvG’s 3-5-2 (which is really a 3-4-1-2)? That also leaves only 1 spot for Mata/Rooney. Herrera and Di Maria as central defenders. Mata behind Falcao and RVP. And Rooney? Is LvG crazy enough to try him at right wing back? That would be crazy but I wouldn’t put anything past the mad scientist.

        Like I said, I don’t see how all those players fit but it will sure be fascinating watching what he has in mind.

  3. bamphsports - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    Reblogged this on bamph sports and commented:

  4. The Kop - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    De Gea

    Jones — Evans — Rojo

    Blind — Herrera
    Di Maria —/ \——-Shaw

    Van Persie —- Falcao

    • The Kop - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:33 AM

      If Van Persie is injured, Rooney rotates up front and Mata can sit in behind the strikers.

      The great thing about Blind and Di Maria is that they are very flexible – they can both play multiple positions and are both very strong passers. Once all of these players get used to each other and regain fitness, they are going to be pinging the ball all around the field.

      It will take time, and another couple of transfer windows, but I expect nothing less than greatness from this core group.

      Rafael and Valencia would appear to fit in well as wing substitutions in this system, Ashley Young perhaps not as much. I don’t really see a role for Young in this formation with this collection of players.

      Between the big cash spent at Old Trafford and the incredible window at Stamford Bridge, it’s about to get very crowded at the top. Not sure Liverpool is keeping pace, frankly.

  5. dcsportsfancv - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    How can Evans be in any of these startilng XI?

  6. bloope - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    I think Van Gaal will try to stick with the 3-5-2. I think Blind adds some defensive talent to a side that was very much lacking in that department. Bring back Shaw and Herrera and there are a lot of A listers in the squad. I’m interested to see how they use Di Maria because he doesn’t fit ideally into that formation but he is so talented he can probably still be a massive threat even out of position. His speed with the ball is going to cause fits for defenders.

    I love your lineup with the 4-2-3-1… that looks to be quite a stacked line up. I like them having 4 in the back because Shaw will easily be able to push forward.

  7. bloope - Sep 2, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Love the 4-2-3-1 shape, better defensive stability all over the field with the ability to sit in and then spring their outlet players forward. Di Maria is lightning quick with the ball at his feet.

  8. fantom21 - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I’m sorry but all but your last possible lineup are hideous. Herrera and Rooney in the middle?? Not gonna work. This is how he will play the team
    Or a 4-3-3
    Herrera ——– DeMaria
    Rooney. RVP. Falcao

  9. btfoom - Sep 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Attacking options – great.

    Defending options – bad to awful.

    This lineup won’t even make top 4 in EPL, much less be able to somehow get into and succeed in Europe.

    Nice waste of money, again.

  10. roccotool - Sep 2, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Mendola, I like your 4-3-1-2, especially with Evans in there, who needs help. I also favor the time-tested 4-3-3. There will be plenty of games VanGaal can test the 3-5-2, when everyone is fit.

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