Manchester United are set to play their first league game of the season at Old Trafford against Chelsea on Sunday. This game will show Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if his charges are ready to compete for the top prize, or if pre-season was just a fluke.
The team won all their pre-season games and played quite well, but that was just in preparation for the season. This game against Chelsea will have a competitive edge and the fans will be excited to see what their teams bring to the table.
There will be speed from United of course, as we’ve seen throughout pre-season, and counters will be frequent. The defence now picks itself when everyone is fit, and the forwards look hungry to take the field.
The XI that will start at Old Trafford will give the fans a clear picture of how the team is going to line up for the entire season. Here’s a look at United's ideal lineup at Old Trafford against Chelsea on Sunday.
David de Gea has been United’s standout performer for years, but towards the end of last season his form dipped. Still, De Gea remains United’s safest pair of hands.
He will most likely start against Chelsea, and if the pre-season showings are anything to go by he may have just rediscovered his form of old. Also, with Ashley Young not expected to start this game, De Gea may be the one to wear the armband in his absence.
The Spaniard's footwork, which has been described as his weakness at times, seems to have improved now. De Gea will no doubt be the architect of most United build-ups from the back.
For the first time since the Ferdinand and Vidic partnership was broken does the team have a settled backline. The acquisition of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire has brought some sense of relief to the pain points of this United side.
The right-back position will be taken by Wan-Bissaka, who has impressed throughout pre-season. If he can continue with the same form, he would surely be a worry for Chelsea. His defensive game is firing on all cylinders, and not many will get past him.
Luke Shaw will line up as the left-back. After picking up the Player of the Season award, he’ll look to hit the ground running early.
The two centre back positions will be occupied by Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire. Those two are expected to form a partnership that will lead United to a position higher than sixth.