Sportz Interactive, Dec 07, 2011

Be the Manager: Pick your United XI for the game against Basel

United find themselves in a tricky position needing at least a draw to confirm qualification to the next round. So what should the Fergie’s playing XI be to get the necessary result?

Adrian's XI

I would pick a 4-4-1-1 formation for the Red Devils with Anders Lindegaard keeping his place in goal after the weekend’s game at Villa. While David De Gea is a good shot stopper he seems to be prone to the occasional error. In a game where a single error could affect the teams progress, the Dane comes into this game keeping a clean sheet and doing well whenever called on.

Park Ji Sung is a nailed on starter today. Question is, where will he play?
© AP Images

The defence seems an easy pick with the experienced pair of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic picking themselves in the heart of defence. The lack of fit full backs limit the choices and I would go with Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling as fullbacks. The youngster has proved to be an able replacement for Rafael and can be an attacking threat in the oppositions penalty box from set pieces as well.

In Midfield, I would pick Nani and Ashley Young on the flanks both possess guile and speed to get past defenders and are capable of putting in good crosses or scoring while cutting in. In addition, they can both swap positions and play on either of the flanks. In the engine room, I’d pick Phil Jones who had an outstanding game at Villa, shielding the back four, breaking up play and capping an all round performance by scoring the only goal in the game. Joining him in the centre of the pitch would be Park Ji-Sung because of the sheer amount of stamina and running he brings to this side. Always ready to chase the ball or put pressure on the opponents when they have possession, the South Korean is a bundle of energy in midfield. The South Korean just about keeps Darren Fletcher out who is probably not yet 100%.

Up top, I would go for Danny Wellbeck who before his injury was a handful and since coming back has showed glimpses of what he could do. His tally against the Swiss side this season is 2 already and I would be willing to bet he could add to that tally. Behind Wellbeck I’d play United’s talisman Wayne Rooney who would stitch up play, find the wingers with balls over the top or put that killer through ball for Wellbeck to score. Equally important is his defensive game which is a boost to this United side.

Adrian's lineup (4-4-1-1) : Lindegaard, Smalling, Vidic, Rio, Evra, Nani, Jones, Park Ji Sung, Young, Welbeck, Rooney

Parth's XI

A clean sheet will be enough for United to qualify for the knockouts, so Fergie will probably name his first choice defense. Vidic and Ferdinand are usually his go-to guys for a clean sheet, so Vidic’s return from suspension could not have come at a better time. Smalling and Evra should start as fullbacks in a 4-3-3 which would become a 4-5-1 when not in possession.

Welbeck will be looking to get United off to a strong start.
© AP Images

To counter the threat of the mercurial Xherdan Shaquiri, Park Ji Sung will probably be stuck out on the left flank to provide cover for Evra who has had a below-par season so far. Nani will start on the other flank to provide some much needed width and attacking thrust. That leaves 3 midfield slots to be filled up, with not many options available in light of Carrick’s suspension.

It’s a big blow for United since Carrick has been excellent since his return from injury. He was a stand-out performer in the Benfica game and his presence will be missed. Slate him all you want, Carrick probably is the best midfielder currently at United.

Basel is a counter-attacking side, which means United will need young legs in the middle. Expect the wonderkid Phil Jones to start as a defensive midfielder this time and Fletcher to partner him for the clean-up duties. Ryan Giggs will be entrusted with the creative duties alongside the 2 runners. Since an early goal would effectively wrap up the match, expect him to play for an hour or so at full pace to get the desired result.

Rooney will start as the lone striker, although he will look to drop in to help out the midfield. One goal will be more than enough for United and with strong defensive performances in the last 5 Premier League matches; United will go into this match confident of getting the crucial point.

Parth's Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Rio, Evra, Nani, Giggs, Jones, Fletcher, Park Ji sung, Rooney

What do you think? Do you agree with our experts or do you have a better team in mind? Let us know through the comments. Get cracking !

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