Manchester United vs. CFR Cluj: Predicting Red Devils' Starting XI
Manchester United travel to Romania for their second group-stage match in the Champions League this year.
The Red Devils won their opening game against Galatasaray without too many issues and will be looking to repeat the feat again. Defensive woes over the past few weeks have forced Sir Alex Ferguson to recall former United player Mikael Silvestre to help the back four.
Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes have been left out of the squad for the trip, making the midfield picks pretty obvious. Here are my predictions for United's starting lineup.
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GK: David de Gea
David de Gea was left out of the Tottenham Hotspur starting lineup, so he should return in goal for United. That will mean a continuation of Sir Alex Ferguson's policy of not picking a No. 1 goalkeeper.
LB: Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra's form has suffered over the last two seasons, but the Frenchman still talks the talk. Speaking to media about United's performance against Spurs, he said (via Metro):
I think the problem is about our head. In the first 45 minutes there was no speed, no focus and we didn't win many challenges. And then we conceded some silly goals.
Let's hope CFR Cluj will be the start of better performances.
RB: Rafael da Silva
United are not exactly spoiled for choice. Rafael to start.
CB: Jonny Evans
It was recently revealed that Nemanja Vidic would be out of the team for eight weeks in order to recover from knee surgery (via BBC Sport).
In his absence, Evans is the obvious choice to take his place.
CB: Rio Ferdinand
With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones out with injury, and Scott Wootton still very inexperienced, Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to be rested for this one.
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DMC: Darren Fletcher
United's League Cup game against Newcastle United gave us a glimpse of what Darren Fletcher could offer in midfield. In the absence of Michael Carrick, I believe the Scot will be given a chance to show his worth again.
Anderson was relegated to a place on the bench for United's last few Premier League matches, but he gave a Man of the Match performance in the League Cup. He should be reinstated in the team, especially with Paul Scholes not making the trip to Romania.
CM: Tom Cleverley
A week ago, Tom Cleverley hadn't featured for Manchester United since the international break, and there seemed no real reason why that was the case.
He was suddenly recalled to the team for the League Cup fixture against Newcastle, and he showed why he merited his place by grabbing his first goal for the club.
CM: Luis Nani
With Antonio Valencia out with injury, and Ashley Young still recovering from his, Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't got much choice in the matter. Nani to start for United.
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SC: Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney returned from injury with a wonderful performance against Newcastle in the League Cup, and he was mostly responsible for United's second-half revival against Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL.
Rooney to start.
SC: Javier Hernandez
I fear Sir Alex Ferguson may disagree with this pick and start Danny Welbeck instead. Regardless, I'll go with my heart on this one.