Thursday, 12 January 2017

[SPORT NEWS]What is Manchester United's best front three?

A 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Hull City on Tuesday made it nine wins in a row for a resurgent Manchester United.

That run has included both domestic cup and Premier League progress, but it’s in the latter where the biggest improvements regarding results have been made.

Man Utd are still sixth, but they’re now just three points behind Tottenham in third, and a win at home to Liverpool on Sunday will take them to within two points of their Merseyside rivals.
The current FA Cup holders are now 15 games unbeaten, and in that time, it’s clear to see that new manager Jose Mourinho has found his preferred system.

David de Gea picks himself, the likes of Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have become regulars, while the midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba have formed a very effective partnership.
What is United’s best front three?

The biggest selection dilemma at the moment concerns the wide areas. Mourinho has picked eight different winger combinations in United’s current unbeaten streak, which stretches back to the 3-1 win at Swansea on November 6, 2016.

The mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been banging in the goals, but who should line up either side of the Swedish superstar on a regular basis?


Juan Mata seems to score or assist every time he plays for United, however the creative Spaniard does lack pace and he is clearly best positioned as a number ten.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also a playmaker, but additionally has the acceleration to beat a man and he deserves an extended run on the right-hand side of Mourinho’s starting XI.
The Armenian was exceptional last season on the right of a front three alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus, and he’s lit up Old Trafford lately with some top-class performances after a very slow start.
The 27-year-old is a wizard with the ball at his feet, blessed with vision, technique and dribbling skills, and he loves to drift infield off the wing and affect games from all over the pitch.
Mkhitaryan has also started to provide end product too, starring with two assists in the 4-1 demolition of West Ham back in November and the vital winner against in-form Spurs, not to mention his amazing Boxing Day scorpion kick.

Central striker

Marcus Rashford ended a run of 17 games without a goal in the FA Cup against Reading, but when fully fit, Ibrahimovic simply has to start for the Red Devils.
The big striker occupies centre-backs with his strength, he’s good enough to drop into midfield and spray passes around, and he’s an extremely confident customer in front of goal.
The 35-year-old isn’t the quickest, yet he seems to always be on the move whenever Pogba has time to get his head up, and 18 goals in all competitions (11 more than anyone else for United) proves just how reliant they’ve been on Zlatan for goals.
Everyone is delighted that Rashford has rediscovered his scoring touch and he can certainly make a telling impact off the bench with his electric pace, but for the time being, Ibra should be United’s main centre-forward.


Wayne Rooney had a run in the side at left-midfield last month, but there are definitely more natural, better-suited options to fill the wide positions than the United captain.
Jesse Lingard’s forward running and overall movement off the ball is outstanding at times, but the team’s most menacing attacker in the last 18 months has undoubtedly been Anthony Martial – and it’s he who gets the vote for the left-wing role.
The French star had a difficult start to the campaign, with the problems in his private life well documented, but he’s in great form at the moment and absolutely tormented Calum Chambers a few weeks ago.
Martial has speed, power, and he’s extremely direct – every time he gets the ball, his first thought is to run at defenders and get past his man. He’s scored in twice in his last two starts and has six in total this term.
The fact that United fans chanted the 21-year-old’s name for over ten minutes straight when he was on the bench against Hull (with the score at 0-0) shows that they recognise the threat he possesses.
Martial was United’s top scorer under Louis van Gaal last term with 17, and if he continues to improve, there’s no reason why he won’t take some of the goalscoring burden off the shoulders of Ibrahimovic.

Mkhi, Ibra & Tony

During Man United’s current unbeaten run, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic and Martial have all been in the same starting XI four times, and they’ve scored seven goals between them in those games.
That front three has the potent blend of pace, power, creativity and goals which could help United continue to creep their way up the league table in the coming weeks and months.

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