Projected XI’s – Manchester United

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United are trying to buy the Premier League, but what effect will this have on their line-up? Let’s take a look!

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While De Gea is still at the club, he is clearly their number 1. United have purchased Argentina’s Romero to replace Valdes as United’s next keeper in line. This was following Valdes‘ refusal to play for United’s second team, resulting in Van Gaal dismissing him.


Surprisingly, Van Gaal hasn’t strengthened his centre back region. That’s about all he hasn’t strengthened, so don’t rule it out yet. However at this stage Rojo and Smalling seems a likely partnership, Jones will push Rojo for his place. Blind has also played at centre back during the pre-season, that may be where he fits in this season. Shaw, Blind and Rojo are all capable of playing at left back, however I expect Shaw to be first choice. New signing Darmian is the safest route into United’s defence at right back.

Valencia, Evans, Blackett, McNair and Rafael are all backup.


United’s midfield has been a weak spot ever since Scholes retired, that looks like it’s about to change. Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger have both signed over the summer. In my opinion Schneiderlin is a guaranteed starter as their defensive mid, Schweinsteiger is less certain. Facing competition from Blind, Fellaini and Herrera he won’t have it easy. I’m tipping Herrera to play a role further forward, however an attacking option like Depay could get that role. There’s far too much competition for me to start with any of United’s central midfielders.

Depay is a certain starter in my opinion, although he will be prone to rotation. Whether he starts on a wing or as a number 10 is unknown. Van Gaal seems to be trying different tactics during pre-season, next week we should have a better idea of what he’s thinking. Mata was vital to United’s end of season form, he should be a consistent starter on the right wing. I can’t see him playing central, Van Gaal prefers him out wide. As long as he’s starting, he will provide a threat. Young may fall down the pecking order, whilst Di Maria looks to be off to PSG. Januzaj is another winger to consider, job security isn’t great with any of these picks.

EDIT: Carrick is of course worth mentioning! He could definitely get game time in that central midfield, making it even harder to pick who will start. Just avoid those centre mids!


Rooney is the only fantasy relevant forward as things stand. Van Gaal has openly stated he is in for a striker (Who isn’t he in for?) so the situation may change. However at the moment Rooney is United’s number 1 striker and will play where I feel he produces his best football. He is a 20+ goal scorer and is every chance to repeat that feat if he gets the chance.

50/50: Depay has great football in him and will be a star, however I have my doubts this season. Priced at 8.5 he will have to set the Premier League on fire to be a great selection. With so much competition in that price bracket and occasional rests likely, you have to be careful. He is a goalscorer, but I’m not sure he can match Hazard’s first season in the EPL. He’d have to produce something similar to justify the risk you’re taking on him. He’s a grenade, I hope not selecting him doesn’t blow up on me.

Lock: Eh, I don’t consider Rooney a ‘lock’ as such. However he’s clearly the best United option in my opinion. You only have to go and view his FPL history to understand what he can produce as United’s primary striker. If he gets penalty duties then I’m locking him in, that remains to be seen though. Not sure why, but Mata seemed to have a go last season. He has great history against his early opponents, making him a great option for your GW1 squads.

Avoid: Let me make this very clear, Schweinsteiger isn’t a great option in FPL. Not only is his job security not as water tight as you’d think, he isn’t a massive goalscorer. 7.0 is due more to his reputation than it is his goal scoring and assist exploits. He’s past his best and one I would definitely avoid. The same goes for Schneiderlin, even though he is priced fairer at 5.5. He’s a defensive mid and even though he will pop up for the occasional goal, that’s all he will get you. Not worth owning…

Breakout: Shaw has provided moments of brilliance in his short career, but is yet to make his name at United. Injuries have hampered his progress, however the fact that he played 3000 minutes for Southampton in 2013/14 gives me great confidence. He loves to bomb forward and should provide some attacking returns. Combined with the fact that United’s defence improved drastically towards the end of last season means he becomes a very relevant option. If they can turn those games where they concede 1 into clean sheets, they can definitely join the top 4 in gathering 15+ clean sheets this season. I’d have him high on your watchlist.

That covers United! Newcastle are up next, and boy do the Toons need to improve on last season!

8 comments on “Projected XI’s – Manchester United

  1. Jim

    Absolutely loving these articles! Really well written and up-to-date.
    As a Man U fan I read this one extra carefully. Is Carrick worth a mention? He was in LVG’s “everyone that gets 60 minutes against Barca will play against Spurs” team.

  2. brandonpietie

    Loving this. After reading a few teams now… when it comes to strikers (besides Aguero) it seems like there are no “locks” are strikers that confusing lol

  3. theultimateandy

    Great stuff Matt! Love these articles. Although whenever I think I’m being clever with a sly POD, he somehow always makes it into the AVOID section of the next article, or 50/50 if I’m lucky!


    • mattcraigdt Post Author

      Haha… They’re POD’s for a reason 😉 Don’t let me put you off! Unless I say avoid… In which case I tend to make sure they should definitely be avoided 😛

  4. Sai Praveen Gummadi

    I think I disagree here on the center backs. I think it will be Jones and Blind to start with and may be rojo for Blind after some matches. VanGaal seems to be giving Jones the nod ahead of Smalling. Safe bets would be to pick either Shaw or Darmian I feel.

    • mattcraigdt Post Author

      Jones and Blind have been getting the nod you’re right, strange after Smalling’s season. Even so you shouldn’t select any of them, Darmian and Shaw the fpl relevant options

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