The Conundrum – Man United

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United have defied the belief that you can’t attract world class players from outside the top 4, I guess money does go a long way. The question is will their galacticos spending spree actually help or hinder their progress? Here’s my view on their situation…

There’s no denying that they have brought in some top quality footballers, but 11 great players don’t make a team. The obvious concern is how top heavy they are, as highlighted by their forwards and defenders respectively. The key issue for us fpl managers is how Van Gaal will structure his side after their new acquisitions, and if United can pick up their performances.


*Warning* Overload imminent. With Robin Van Persie’s surgery rumours proving to be false, it seems they actually went and brought in Falcao with both Rooney and RVP already in the squad. I don’t think Van Gaal will bench players of this quality, so a 4-3-3 seems out of the question. RVP and Falcao will surely partner each other up front, leaving the rest of the squad to fight over the remaining positions in Van Gaal’s 3-5-2. Chances are that Rooney will drop into central midfield to partner Di Maria, both will likely rotate between the deeper slot and playing in behind the front two. Rooney’s stocks seem to have taken the biggest hit as his prospects were mainly boosted by finally regaining the striker role he so craves. It looks like that run will come to an end. Without penalties also I don’t like his long term prospects. If Falcao can remain fit he should be a lock in United’s XI, whether he will be a success is another debate altogether. RVP will also start up top when fit, when fit being the key words. If either Falcao or Van Persie go down then Rooney becomes relevant again. That’s not to say he can’t be relevant at all in midfield, but his impact will surely be minimised and at 10.5, you’re paying top dollar.


Unfortunately when so many big names come in, somebody has to pay the price. Mata looks like he will be that guy. His performances have been average at best, and he now looks to be on the outer of a team who can’t even pick up 3 points. His fall from grace hasn’t been pretty, but Mourinho didn’t let him go without a reason. Perhaps he just doesn’t suit the English game. Di Maria is a lock in central midfield, I can’t see him being fielded out wide as he is not a wing back by any stretch of the imagination. He looked the most likely of the United players to breakdown Burnley’s defence and will be the key to their success this season in my opinion. He is the safest pick of United’s mids and is certainly one to consider. With Rooney partnering him in central midfield, it would make sense that the defensively orientated Blind will play in a holding role behind the pair. Young’s time in the first XI could be up as Luke Shaw looks fit to return to the wing back role. Where does their 30 million pound after thought Herrera fit? Who knows.


Ok so their team is now built to bang in the goals, but how will their defence fare? If they all stay fit, they could go ok. Expect Shaw to nail down the left wing back role, with either Valencia or Rafael on the right. I would suspect Rafael is the pick when fit. In central defence they missed a glorious chance to beef their defence, and I can see problems arising. Rojo and Jones should play beside Evans. Chris Smalling or Tyler Blackett are their back-ups. That says it all really, there’s still a glaring issue at the back and I can’t see them being solid enough to suggest long term investment. It looks like they’re going for the Liverpool tactic of outscoring their opponents no matter how shit their defence is, all things aside it should at least make for entertaining viewing!!!

Team Performance:

So should we be dumping our United players after their poor start? If they are likely to have their prospects hurt due to the new arrivals, yes make the move (After QPR). On a performance basis, I think we’ll see a drastic improvement not only due to the quality they have added, but the players they have regained from injury. Stop right there. I’m not one of those chanting United for top 3, because that’s ludicrous talk. It will take them time to gel and I can see them finishing outside of the top 4 once again this season. Unfortunately, they should avoid relegation (No bias).

united xi new

So there’s my thoughts, feel free to share your own in the comments! I do think they will improve thanks to their spending spree, but there’s a lot more confusion surrounding which players will be the most effective. For that reason I’m steering clear for now, hopefully this doesn’t come back to punish me long term.

To cover the deadline day signings I will be putting together a fresh set of projected XI’s, as well as highlighting the key transfers. Depending on how I go it may be posted on Saturday along with the captains. Hopefully this all helps, I just can’t wait for the footy to return.

Cheers, Matt

48 comments on “The Conundrum – Man United

  1. Ryan

    Good article, thanks Matt. ‘Conundrum’ seems to sum it up perfectly, and as a Liverpool fan I’m quite enjoying it 🙂

  2. nburk53

    Great stuff Matt! This forward spending spree from United has really pissed me off! Have already taken a hit to dump Mata and Rooney will more than likely go next week unless a miracle occurs and he’s in a decent role come Saturday…. Bloody hell Van Gaal, why couldn’t you strengthen places that need strengthening? Haha

  3. Colin - Tucana111548

    I currently have each of Jones, Mata and Rooney and I’m praying they get some game time this week as well as scoring me some points. Beyond GW4 and irrespective of their favourable fixture list, I intend progressively replacing them players with better job security.

  4. louiek78

    Very insightful read.

    I’m on WC and have dropped Mata, but have stuck with Rooney at this stage. Will make a call on him after QPR game.

    Currently have Angel Di Maria in my mid though. People’s thoughts on him?

    • Ryan

      Gun, Man Utd’s best player, a risky pick though just for whether or not he can play the different PL style of football, and there are lots of good mids imo so having him isn’t necessary.

  5. Rakshit

    Hey Matt,

    I had requested you on twitter to write an article on Man Utd. Thrilled to see that my request has been acknowleged! Great article. Clears things up. I will personally hold on to Rooney for one last week before offloading him.

  6. Who?

    Great read Matt! Lots of help!
    I’ve got a question about a different team. Who would you say is the best defensive option from Chelsea? Obviously Ivanovic has started the season like a house on fire, but he is very expensive. Am I better off banking that cash and getting one of the others? Cheers

    • mattcraigdt Post Author

      Ivanovic looks by far and away the option to go for. Azpilicueta doesn’t gain enough extra points for my liking, whilst Terry/Cahill don’t look like being as damaging but should be considered if you can’t afford him.

      • Who?

        Cheers Matt! I’ve pulled the trigger, as I figured that if I want to trade him to another Chelsea defender, I can just do so with no worry about an increase in price. My backline looks good atm with Ivanovic, Vertonghen and Pieters 🙂

  7. gazza

    Weak foundations at the back, no engine room to speak of, completely imbalanced squad with a manager who is clueless to the premier league attempting to implement a system that neither suits the squad or the league.

    ‘Easy fixtures’ running out. Pressure building by the game.

    Not for me. I dumped em all. I’d rather by in Chernobyl than Old Trafford in the coming weeks.

  8. theultimateandy

    Great article Matt, always a good read man! Don’t trust Utd at all atm, but considering making room for Di Maria for QPR. Maybe trading out Ramsey since he picked up that injury.

    • rostie

      I am thinking the same Ultimate. With that fire power up front surely there are assists points in Di Maria. Only if Ramsey fails to come up however.
      Great article Matt!

      • theultimateandy

        I reckon they’ll want to make an example of QPR too, try and regain some pride and start fresh with the new squad. Plus since Di Maria costs more than Ramsey, if you do the trade, trading Ramsey back in next week is always an option.

  9. N1qQ45 4R3 K1nG5

    Spot on Matt, Mata looks likely to get relegated, but I don’t think Rooney will sit in centre midfield, behind the strikers is most likely I recon, Di Maria is a perfect midfielder but is still wasted that deep because of his attacking qualities.
    Would love to see VG turn to a 4-1-2-1-2 set-up, Rooney behind the Falcao and RVP with Di Maria and Mata on the wings sounds perfect. Rojo and Jones with Shaw and Evans at full back sounds like a dream compared to this 3-5-2 rubbish. Also, wouldn’t mind Lindegaard be given a chance, De Gea doesn’t save too often.

    P.S. Wouldn’t mind Welbeck back? Bargain for you guys.

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