Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday 26th April 2014 – KO 5:30pm
Referee: Lee Probert, Assistants: R Ganfield and M McDonough, Fourth Official: N Swarbrick
Manchester United have had an eventful week with the sacking of David Moyes, the appointment of Ryan Giggs as the interim manager with Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville all being named as his coaching team. Chris Woods, the goalkeeping coach was also kept on at the club with Jimmy Lumbsden and Steve Round also being shown the door.This has spurred the supporters of the club on and put some positivity back into the club. Giggs was speaking about bringing the United philosophy back to the club with the players playing the United way. The atmosphere at Old Trafford today will be immense. Everyone I have spoken too is up for the match, even if it is relegation contenders Norwich City, but with the performance they gave against Liverpool last week, you have to assume they will be up for doing the same thing to United. There is still a chance for United to win a UEFA Europa League place, whether we want it or not, European competition is part of the fixture list with United, but less matches would be something that would help the new manager, whoever that may be, to rebuild the squad and get them ready for the season after next.
Giggs confirmed earlier today that only Rafael da Silva and Robin van Persie were still sidelined and everyone else was fit and ready for selection. Neil Adams has a few injury problems with Joseph Yobo and Elliott Bennet both likely to miss the match. It is fair to say that United will not ‘try’ to get the victory anymore. With Giggs using positive words in his presser such as ‘must’, ‘demand’ and ‘expect’, which suggests that he has already exercised his authority among his team-mates, who already highly respect him.
In total honesty nobody knows the side that Giggs will choose to take to the field, but one thing’s for sure, expect it to be full of attacking talent which will likely contain two wide me, fitting in with his and United’s ethos. The team news ahead of the eagerly anticipated game is that Robin Van Persie and the Brazilian, Rafael, will be the only players unavailable for selection due to injury. Taking this into consideration, here is the side Ryan Giggs may pick in his first game in control of Manchester United:
David De Gea is again a certainty to start in the United goal despite the change of management. The Spaniard has been one of the reds stand out performers this season and of course is still battling to get into Spain’s World cup squad.
With Ryan Giggs promising an attacking set up, and with Rafael’s injury taken into account, Antonio Valencia could be in with a shout to start at right back against Norwich City. I expect him to continue with playing phil Jones in the heart of the defence with him knowing the importance of youth within the side. The Welshman’s respect for Nemanja Vidic should see the United skipper partner Jones, and it would be a big surprise if Patrice Evra did not return at left back after sitting out the Everton game.
It is a complete unknown who the Welshman will pick in the midfield area this weekend! In the centre of the park I feel he will favour the experience of the trusted Michael Carrick and may well opt to play Shinji Kagawa alongside him in a bid to bring an attacking mentality back to Old Trafford. There is no doubt the 40 year old will also favour playing two wide players, so Januzaj has to be confident of starting with the flair he adds to the side and Danny Welbeck may well get the nod on the other flank with his raw pace being a huge factor. He then could more than likely play Juan Mata in his favoured number 10 position ,with the Welshman admitting in the past how impressed he has been by Mata’s ability.
It is no secret the mutual respect Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney share, so expect the Englishman to get the nod up top tomorrow with Juan Mata in behind him. The pressure is off so expect the pair to play with complete freedom under United’s new interim manager.
Predicted Starting XI
Valencia, Jones, Vidic, Evra
Januzaj, Carrick, Kagawa, Welbeck