Setting the tone for the Manchester derby, former United legend Paul Scholes has called the axe on Juan Mata and has backed skipper Wayne Rooney to lead the Red Devils to a victory.
Former Manchester United midfielder believes that Juan Mata has not proven himself to play at such an important game and has called for the Spaniard to be dropped in favour of Wayne Rooney who will be making his come-back following a three match suspension.
“As for United, my key change would be Wayne Rooney back in for Juan Mata. I cannot see Louis van Gaal doing any different. The Chelsea game just seemed to pass Mata by on Sunday and that is what will count against him. He seemed to be overpowered. Rooney has a great record against City and he just has to play”
Paul Scholes also explained that Manchester United would be worried about Radamel Falcao’s stuttering start to the season as he has failed to stay injury-free at Old Trafford.
“Lastly, from United’s point of view, they will be concerned with Radamel Falcao. He has not been able to get that run of games together to get match-fit and start scoring goals consistently. He scored against Everton, was taken off and did not start against West Bromwich Albion. Then he was injured for the Chelsea game. It has been a stop-start beginning to his career at United. He needs that run in the team to build his confidence, his performance levels and his fitness.”
According to Scholes, the Manchester derby is the kind of game that is rememebered by fans for years and has backed new signings Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw and Falcao to lead United to a memorable win. However Falcao will not feature against Manchester City this weekend.
“These are the kind of games that get remembered for a long time by supporters, on either side of the city’s divide. For players like Shaw, Falcao and Di Maria, it is their first taste of playing against their local rivals. From my experience, it is not a game you want to lose.”
Speaking about arch rivals Liverpool, Paul Scholes believes that media has been severe on new arrival Mario Balotelli and that the other players are getting away with ‘murder’ at Anfield.
“Another week of Mario Balotelli stories and I cannot help thinking he is an easy target. There are some players at Liverpool getting away with murder while Balotelli cops a lot of the stick.”
“His name, his reputation, even his body language on the pitch, they all add up to the kind of player who attracts criticism. It does not detract from the reality that Liverpool lost Luis Suarez, their best player and key goalscorer last season, and their next best striker, Daniel Sturridge, has been injured for so long. It is a basic truth that good forwards make the whole team look better.”
He also criticised Brendan Rodgers for his ill-advised transfer policy and believes that the manager should have focused more on quality than quantity.
“I recognise Brendan Rodgers needed a bigger squad, but they should have gone for fewer players and greater quality. Balotelli cannot take the blame for all of that.”