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03Jan/20

How Man United will line up against Tottenham on the opening day

first_img1 Phil Jones and Chris Smalling The season is just nine days away and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has dropped the biggest hint yet about his side’s starting line up against Tottenham in the season opener.The Dutchman has recruited impressively so far this summer, overseeing the arrivals of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian and compatriot Memphis Depay.The additions have intensified the competition for places at Old Trafford, with members of last year’s class likely to make way for some of the new faces.Following Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat to PSG in Chicago, Van Gaal revealed that Darmian, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw would all definitely start the Spurs game.“I have to start with a formation and when a formation is doing well I let them play in that formation,” he told the Daily Mail.“I think I shall play Shaw with Blind and Matteo Darmian and then the right central defenders position I have to consider.“I am pleased with Darmian. As you can see, he can play left and right.”That begs the question: if United, as expected, are to operate with a back four, who from Chris Smalling or Phil Jones will have to settle for a place on the bench?Of course, if United’s summer transfer plans had unfolded as planned, Sergio Ramos might be in the picture, but the Spain star is now on the verge of a new Real Madrid deal after flirting with the prospect of Manchester.With moves for Ramos and Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi now allegedly dead in the water, Smalling is likely to get the nod. Van Gaal clearly favours the ex-Fulham man, despite mistakenly calling him Mike in a press conference last week, after an impressive back end to the last campaign.Blind, a fellow Dutchman, also appears to have received his manager’s blessing ahead of Jones, whose versatility has ultimately hampered his ability to specify a consistent role.In midfield, the new £40m central midfield partnership of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are likely to displace the unfortunate Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick, although that may change for away and European fixtures.The final area still in contention is the attacking midfield positions. Depay is tipped to make his full debut start catching the eye on the US tour and is likely to be unleashed in central areas, despite shining out wide for PSV. Juan Mata emerged as a talisman in the second half of last term as United clinched Champions League qualification, so is another to almost certainly feature.The other position, on the left side of a three behind captain Wayne Rooney, may well be occupied by Ashley Young. The 30-year-old reinvigorated his career last season, becoming a surprise key figure to ultimately outshine record signing Angel di Maria and seemingly end his Red Devils career rather prematurely. Young’s form looks set to be rewarded with a new contract, and his challenge now will be proving to his manager that his purple patch wasn’t simply a flash in the pan.With that all in mind and taking United’s pre-season tour matches into consideration, this is how we expect the Red Devils to line up at Old Trafford on August 8:center_img How would you like to see Manchester United line up against Spurs?last_img read more