Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday, 29th November 2014, KO 15:00 GMT
Round 13 of the English Premier League sees Champions League aspirants Manchester United clashing with relegation battling Hull City. Louis van Gaal’s team has finally started to pick up pace but the title of English Champions is already out of reach and a Champions League qualification seems a realistic target. Hull on their part have been struggling to gain traction this season, losing against newly promoted teams like Burnley.
Injury to Luke Shaw during the Arsenal match is likely to keep him out for another three weeks. The recent injury brings the injuries suffered total to an unbelievable 40, meaning a player has suffered injury almost every three days since van Gaal took over. This presents a different kind of selection headache for the manager who will have to field another make shift defense for this match. Luke Shaw and Jones are expected to miss the match, making Smalling as the only senior defender to start. Evans played for 64 minutes against Blackburn Rovers reserves in a 0-5 win in the Lancashire Seniors Cup this Tuesday. This was his first outing since the injury he suffered against Leicester in September. This could mean a return to the first team albeit on the bench. Louis van Gaal confirmed the return of Rojo to training since his absence through dislocated shoulder suffered during match against Manchester City and will decide whether to select him or not after final training before the match.
Ander Herrera also played full 90 minutes in the same match. He has been effectively forced out of the team since Fellaini has started to impose himself in games. However with 3 matches over a period of next 10 days, he might feature at some point during the game. Carrick and Valencia are also expected to retain their places.
With van Persie misfiring in recent times and Falcao returning to training, Rooney could move up front with di Maria and Mata taking up Rooney’s position in the deeper role.
Hull City are relatively injury free with only Robert Snodgrass only notable absentee after he suffered a dislocated knee cap in August. Gaston Ramirez will also miss the match after he received a three-match ban for a red card against Tottenham last weekend. Hull City’s record signing Abel Hernandez will also be missing the game as he has gone back to Uruguay for the birth of his child.
Rest of the team is expected to remain unchanged after it performed admirably against Tottenham. Mohamed Diame is expected to feature in the midfield after scans on his knee showed no major cause of worry. He missed the game against Tottenham after returning injured from international duty with Senegal.
After a morale boosting 1-2 win against Arsenal last week, optimism must be running high in Manchester United camp. Despite fielding a severely weakened and make shift defense consisting of reserve team players and midfielders, Manchester United remained strong, soaked up the pressure and hit strongly on the counter. Against Hull; Manchester United are expected to line up in a more attacking 4-4-2 formation with a midfield diamond that has resulted in Manchester United playing their most attacking football. Carrick will be stationed in front of the defense with Fellaini and Herrera in front of him. Mata will be at the tip of the diamond and Rooney and di Maria leading the line. Mata can be replaced with Falcao or van Persie taking Rooney’s position up front and Rooney dropping deeper. This can provide much need rest to the players ahead of the busy December schedule and the long injury list.
Hull City are expected to line up in a 4-5-1 formation with Huddlestone acting as an anchor man to limit Manchester United’s attacking prowess. Ben Arfa will cut in from the right to provide the additional cutting edge in attack. Diame is expected to start with Jelavic fronting the attack in absence of Hernandez, Snodgrass and Ramirez.
Player to look out for
David de Gea
The Manchester United shot-stopper has become one of the most dependable goalkeepers in the premier league after a slow start to his career in the England. His heroics kept Manchester United in the game against Chelsea and Arsenal. Having unbelievable shot stopping ability and reflexes, he will want to keep a clean sheet in a match against a team not known for their scoring prowess.
Manchester United have won their previous five matches against the same opponents and are expected to carry on the winning run. The last victory against the same opponents came at the same venue with a score line of 3-1 in which James Wilson made his debut and scored a brace.
Manchester United 2-0 Hull City