Manchester United’s midfield will be reshuffled once again for the upcoming game against West Brom on Monday.
Angel di Maria started in central midfield alongside Antonio Valencia in front of Daley Blind with Juan Mata completing the diamond against Everton in the last match but with Valencia now out injured, somebody will have to step in and replace him.
Ander Herrera could potentially play after reports suggest his fractured rib isn’t as first imagined and Michael Carrick is close to making his return but will Louis van Gaal risk them ahead of Chelsea the following week?
Andreas Pereira is waiting for his opportunity but starting the 18-year-old Brazilian would be a big risk for Van Gaal given that, alongside Di Maria, he’d be unable to offer any defensive cover for Daley Blind.
In that sense, Darren Fletcher could come into the side. He’d be pedestrian but his mind would be defensively focused, giving United a stronger presence to defend with. Anderson is (technically) another option but he’s got little to no chance of featuring at all in the squad.
Could Juan Mata drop and play deeper in midfield alongside Di Maria? Potentially but, like Pereira, he’d offer very little defensively as that isn’t his forte.
Adnan Januzaj is absolutely desperate to play so he’d be eager to adapt and play centrally or, if Mata dropped further back, in his favoured No.10 position behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
A curve ball could be U21s captain Tom Thorpe who has played in defensive midfield when asked to and done so very well. He’d certainly have the energy to play it with more vigour than Fletcher could.
Hopefully Herrera is completely fit and is ready to play but if he isn’t, United’s midfield diamond will have to take on another new shape but with so many potential options open, it’s hard to predict what Van Gaal will choose to do.