David Moyes’ first ‘competitive’ game in charge of Manchester United will be against Wigan, their perennial whipping boys, in the Community Shield, though the team selected that may not be the fairest representation of what he considers his best.
Those keen to see who has caught the eye early in Moyes’ reign must wait a week later when United tackle Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
The Scot isn’t one to fiddle around with his squad or system too much, as opposed to predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, and it’s likely his tried and tested 4-2-3-1 set up will be employed in south Wales.
Traditionally a fan of a commanding presence as opposed to a shot-stopper, Moyes could field Anders Lindegaard in his first match. David De Gea’s perceived inability to deal with high balls under duress is something Everton exploited to their gain when coached by the new United boss and he may opt against starting with him in the net.
Pacey, forward-thinking full backs became a necessity towards the end of Moyes’ Goodison Park tenure, so there’s no doubting Rafael and Patrice Evra will begin flanking the defence, assuming he doesn’t sign Leighton Baines, that is.
Central defence, fitness depending, will be Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as, traditionally, an old head has typically been thrown in alongside a more complete defender to complete his back fours.
A midfield enforcer is also a key aspect of his teams so it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see Michael Carrick pushed into more of a playmaking role with Phil Jones utilised as the midfield battering ram as he has been in pre-season.
Wide right could well be Japanese star Shinji Kagawa.
Big things are expected of the former Dortmund man this term and, as Moyes isn’t keen on the direct running winger, favouring players who want to cut inside and link up with the central players, Kagawa could be the man he turns to, despite him operating more from the left in the title-winning season.
Again, a player cutting in from the left is also valued so expect to see Ashley Young preferred in this position when fit.
Obviously, Robin van Persie will lead the line but, assuming he stays, Wayne Rooney could be the biggest benefactor of Moyes’ system.
He likes his ‘off-the-front’ player to be aggressive and eager to score goals as opposed to creating them, making Rooney the perfect fit for this role.
Notable omissions from this possible line up are Antonio Valencia and Nani, while Wilfried Zaha is also fancied to miss out. The former two are built more as traditional wingers, all about beating full backs on the outside and whipping in crosses.
Zaha’s youth and inexperience is likely to deem him second choice to Young but, much like Kevin Mirallas at Everton, his willingness to attack the goal and charge inside from out wide could lead him to become the first choice left winger before the season is finished.
United will start their clash with Swansea as 7/10 favourites to win it.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date