It’s a new era, again, at Manchester United. With Louis van Gaal taking over some of you might ask how will his United team line-up? It’s only June but United have already made 2 signings and have spent around £60m on Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. Quite a contrast from last season and we expect more signings to follow, but how will they fit into the team? I’ll be going through the possible ways we could line-up next season, baring in mind I’ve added some potential transfer targets to the teams.
Players in yellow are potential signings, I used Vermaelen, Vidal and Depay. But of course we could sign other players in that position or not sign anyone there at all. So you could replace Vermaelen with Hummels or De Vrij, Vidal with Carvalho or Carrick and Depay for Sanchez or Nani for example. You get the point…
4-2-3-1: A solid defensive line of De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Vermaelen and Shaw. A lot of people are skeptical of Vermaelen, but if he signs I trust Van Gaal to get the best out of him. We have a fantastic blend of youth and experience at left back where we can rotate between Shaw and Evra. Meanwhile at right back, possibly a backup for Rafael is needed or to promote Janko. A two man midfield with Herrera and Vidal (other midfielders are available: De Jong, Carvalho etc) playing as box-to-box players which they can so well and we would finally have a world class midfield. That is a simply superb midfield and would work wonders. Then we have a three man attacking line of Memphis Depay, Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata with Robin van Persie up top. With two highly energetic and extremely young wingers with bags of potential it could work perfectly. Van Persie didn’t have the best season with Moyes as manager but under Van Gaal he will shine seeing as the pair have such admiration for each other. Meanwhile, LVG will probably make Van Persie captain.
4-3-3: In history Louis van Gaal’s much preferred formation has been 4-3-3. The traditional 4 at the back with a 3 man midfield of centre midfielders; Herrera, Vidal and Fellaini (?). The perfect blend in that midfield, Herrera is fantastic on the ball added to that his superb passing while Vidal is box-to-box and is simply world class. Fellaini… well he isn’t particularly good on the ball and his passing can be questionable but his brute strength and heading ability could be key to that midfield and the final piece to the puzzle. The attacking 3 in this line-up won’t include wingers. Mata and Rooney can both play supporting playmaker roles with Robin van Persie being the main man up front. This formation and line-up could work well next season and in my personal opinion I think it’s stronger than the 4-2-3-1 above.
3-3-3-1: This is a formation not a lot will be familiar with. Louis van Gaal used this during his time at Bayern Munich and it is another possibility for Manchester United next season. This formation utilities 3 centre-backs, 2 wing backs, 2 midfielders and 3 attackers. Rafael and Shaw are very good at attacking so playing them as right wing backs (RWB) would suit both perfectly. Vidal and Herrera as the midfielders; Herrera playing slightly further forward as he is more attack focussed and Vidal is box-to-box and can defend as well as go forward. Here again you could go with Rooney and Mata in support with Van Persie up top but in this picture I made up I used both young wingers of Depay & Januzaj.
5-3-2: Van Gaal was heavily criticized for changing the Dutch philosophy when he lined up his Netherlands side with this 5-3-2 formation at the World Cup. So far it has worked with his side winning every game they’ve played so far. Now Van Gaal might not use this formation for United because he’s almost been forced into it due to the absence of Kevin Strootman, a target for United, to injury. But seeing how well it has worked at the World Cup could change LVG’s mind. Like the previous formation, this uses 5 at the back, 3 centre backs and 2 attacking wing backs. 3 centre midfielders and Rooney and Robin van Persie up top.
So, there are many options for Van Gaal, each with their pros and cons. He could even line-up with a formation that wasn’t mentioned but these are all possible.
Here’s hoping for a successful year under the guidance of Louis van Gaal.