Van Gaal has a headache to deal with in who he chooses to play without his two main strikers being ruled out against Watford.
The international break has not been a good one in terms of United players returning back to the club with a few picking up injuries and knocks. Previously, United has struggled after the international break and this is not positive sign as they are away to Vicarage Road in the early kick-off. It is a shame there is not a proven striker as James Wilson has not played many games and has not fulfilled a full 90 minutes on the pitch.
As it’s the first game of the weekend, United if they win could leapfrog the leaders Man City to the top of the table as they face Liverpool at home in the evening bar other results go the Red Devil’s way. Surely, it would be ideal to have attacking players available to get on the score sheet. Most people would have liked United to have another striker just in case this scenario ever occurred and now that it has happened, the shots have called for a striker. There are other players who could feature up front as Fellaini has played there but he is also injured.
You have to give it to Sanchez Flores and Watford who are eleventh and are higher than the other two promoted teams as well as champions Chelsea. He has got experience in La Liga and understands how to play against the big teams. It was evident against Man City and Arsenal his side were well disciplined and worked tirelessly to defend. Obviously, he will be happy to see both United strikers missing the game as his side could cause an upset by defending and hitting on the counter.
As mentioned Martial and Rooney are ruled out. Fellaini, Carrick and Valencia all remain unavailable. But Darmian returns after suspension. Watford will access Ighalo who returned late from international duty. Prodl, Hoban and Ekstrand are sidelined.
Lingard grabbed his first goal for the club against West Brom and was selected in the England squad. He has found his feet at the club in this campaign and has kept the likes of Memphis out of the team. He offers versatility in terms of going forward, crossing and skipping past players. It is exactly what Memphis needs to deliver. He needs to take his chances and he could play upfront unless Wilson starts. United will happily keep the ball in possession, it is what they do in the final third which needs to step up a gear. Without Martial and Rooney, the attacking threat is not there and there is no target man. Hopefully, Wilson can surprise us and be around the penalty area.
United will need to use the wings through Young, Mata or Memphis depending on the starting eleven. The defence is becoming harder to break down and they have managed to only concede 8 goals in 12 games, the best in the league. That is due to Smalling growing as a player and gaining praises from a lot of pundits.
Possible starting XI:
Watford; Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Abdi, Watson, Anya, Capoue, Deeney, Ighalo.
Man Utd; De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Mata, Lingard, Young, Memphis.