Angel Di Maria, Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata are some of the biggest names in the world of football. And they are all at the disposal of Louis Van Gaal. His biggest problem is fitting them all in while he has them all fit and ready for action.
Early indications suggest that he will either play with 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 so that he can keep three in the centre of midfield to combat other team’s use of 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1. It’s clear that the midfield battle has grown too big for 4-4-2 now and teams need a ball winner, a 40-yard passer and a 5-yard passer marshalling in the centre.
With Di Maria excelling as part of the midfield three, it would be hard to understand why Van Gaal would relocate him. That leaves four more players for the three remaining attacking positions. Falcao was left out on the first occasion, possibly due to being the newest face but Juan Mata was left on the bench for the Leicester City catastrophe.
Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie are undoubtedly two of the most clinical frontmen in the world and will hold their place as the front two granted they are finding the net. Van Gaal is unlikely to drop his golden boy Van Persie and has already said to the press that he thinks Falcao is a better striker than Rooney.
Now that I mention the myth that is Wayne Rooney, I have to say that Juan Mata would be in my team ahead of him ten times out of ten. With Falcao, Van Persie and Di Maria running ahead of him, Mata would be well into double figures in the assists table and has a very good goalscoring record while playing down the middle for United.
Paul Scholes said last year that Jack Wilshere has not evolved since he was 17/18 and was tipped to be the next big thing in the game. The same definitely could be said for Wayne Rooney. I think, at this stage, the armband is the only thing saving him from the sideline. He has not progressed with the game of football considering that someone with his potential and reputation should be doing the same damage as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The ‘World Class’ tag that has been hanging over him for years now is far too generous.
Unfortunately, I’m sitting behind a desk with a laptop rather than in the United dugout with the infamous Van Gaal clipboard but on closer inspection, other fans will realise that Mata’s close control, skill and eye for a killer pass is much more vital than Rooney’s contribution. If it wasn’t for his intended destination, Ferguson would have sold Rooney when he demanded to leave and Moyes would have done the same had he a replacement lined up last summer.