Pick your STARTING XI for the season curtain-raiser...
It’s going to be an interesting season ahead for all those who follow the black and whites.
After the predictable and rigorous stability of Rafa’s formation and game plan we are left wondering what life under Steve Bruce will offer us.
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If pre-season is a clue then two up top seems a given. As, perhaps, does five at the back. But then there is the puzzle that is Allan Saint-Maximin.
Having splashed the cash on the French talent, and knowing he likes to play on the right of a three, could this be an approach that Bruce might look at? At least in games where he believes we can stretch an opponent.
There have also been positive displays from Aarons and even Murphy too. And with his declared admiration for Dwight Gayle he has, in his eyes at least, an embarrassment of riches up front.
Now we’d love to see United play with three up top (see our line-up). Perhaps given Shelvey that role he so loves too, spraying the balls from deep to three front men who have pace to burn and engines that just keep on going.
But alas this unlikely to be the case.
More likely Saint-Maximin will start on the bench. With Almiron and Joelinton getting the nod from the season’s kick off. The ongoing lack of confidence in front of goal from Miggy may give the Frenchman cause to challenge that selection as he chomps at the bit to get game time.
The solidity of a back 5 too is also something Bruce seems keen on. Although he will have to work on those mistakes we’ve already seen pre-season.
To be fair to him, even Manquillo has put a few decent performances in during the ongoing absence of Yedlin. Whilst the injury to Ritchie will be a blow if Steve Bruce wants to work with wing-backs. Maybe there is hope for a front three yet!
Let’s hope, whatever he goes with, this rare summer investment pays off.