Manchester United vs Everton: Previewing United's Best Starting 11
Manchester United are one more preseason friendly from their opening Premier League match against Everton on August 20 at Goodison Park and, little by little, the outline of the squad is regaining its shape.
While Rafael is still on Olympic duty with Brazil, the likes of Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani have returned from Euro 2012.
Manchester United's recent friendly draw (losing on penalties) with Barcelona gave a taster of what to expect from the Red Devils this season. Here's a look at United's current best eleven ahead of the Everton clash.
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David de Gea
After a baptism of fire in his first season in English football, United first choice goalie David de Gea is looking like he's better for it.
A number of good saves against Barcelona didn't hurt either.
LB: Patrice Evra
If this season is to be one of success for United, Patrice Evra will need to return to his old Mr. Dependable role.
I feel that not being the captain will relieve him of the pressure of having to be someone he is not for the sake of the other players. I expect Evra to start against Everton.
Antonio Valencia didn't enjoy a great start to the last season. He was sidelined with injury and also rested because he'd taken part in the Copa America for Ecuador.
He's fit and free from injury this season and will likely start for United at right back to give Rafael Da Silva some rest, who is representing Brazil at the Olympics.
CB: Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand
Also fit again and free from injury, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are United's first choice center backs and will start the season in the middle for the Red Devils.
In the absence of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, there is no choice but to start the two.
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LM: Ashley Young
At this moment in time, there is still no rival to Ashley Young as a left-winger, and that will preserve his position on the left for United.
With Antonio Valencia deputizing at right back, and with Ashley Young preferred as a left-winger, Nani's place in the United team against Everton seems secure.
The Portuguese International's threat on the counterattack is well documented, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to use this threat against Everton.
CM: Anderson and Paul Scholes
Anderson's partnership with Tom Cleverley in the middle of midfield was hailed as the solution to United's problem replacing Paul Scholes, but Cleverley's season was cut short due to injury—as was Anderson's eventually.
Paul Scholes came back from retirement and joined forces with Michael Carrick to man United's midfield. As evidenced in United friendly with Barcelona, I feel that Sir Alex will be looking for more dynamism in his midfield this season, making Anderson and Paul Scholes the best picks.
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SC: Wayne Rooney
The tailing-off of Wayne Rooney's goal-scoring form towards the end of last season may have cost them the Premier League title. This season they will him to repeat his scoring exploits from two years ago.
SC: Danny Welbeck
He's not every Manchester United fan's ideal player, but the manager believes in Welbeck and it's unlikely Javier Hernandez or Dimitar Berbatov will be chosen ahead of him.