Saturday 6 February 2016

Schneiderlin is important to this side and should start at Chelsea

He was poor at Derby but Morgan Schneiderlin is needed back in the United side against Chelsea this weekend.

Marouane Fellaini's display against Stoke, whilst finally impressive at the fifth time of asking, was an anomaly- he was incredibly lucky to retain his place after four demoralising performances from Newcastle to Southampton.

For a player Louis van Gaal vowed would play as a forward this season, Fellaini has been tasked with defending and his height is an asset when defending set-pieces.
It appears to be the sole reason why LVG has retained him in his line-ups over the last month. 

He might not be able to build on his encouraging efforts against Stoke having left the field injured and it would be needlessly risky of Louis van Gaal to overlook Morgan Schneiderlin at Chelsea on Sunday.

Chelsea's midfield at Watford included the Nemanja Matic, John Obi Mikel and Cesc Fabregas triumvirate, and they are unbeaten under Guus Hiddink but with such a defensive-minded middle, playing Michael Carrick and Fellaini together seems excessive.

The two no longer seem a viable long-term partnership, though.

City and Liverpool exposed that in 2013/14 when they battered Moyes United 4-1 and 3-0 in games six months apart.
Schneiderlin- and Bastian Schweinsteiger- were signed to improve the Reds defensive nous in the middle third. 

Schneiderlin was overlooked for United's away games at PSV, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Stoke, United lost them all and Van Gaal was particularly narked when asked why he had dropped him for the trip to the Emirates.

However sloppy he was at Derby, Schneiderlin improved United. 

He is yet to emulate his consistent excellence at Southampton, but there have been flashes of his quality against City and at Liverpool.
The Frenchman's vigilance, diligence and discipline is indispensable and he has quickly proved to be the most important of Van Gaal's 12 United signings.

United's momentum derailed at Chelsea last season without the injured Carrick, whom Van Gaal's successful 4-3-3 hinged upon.

A superstitious coach, Van Gaal might highlight that factor to legislate for Carrick's inclusion at Stamford Bridge, even though he was understandably off the pace in the first half against Stoke.

The vibrant victory over Stoke could ensure the side remains unchanged and after last season's breakthrough win over Spurs at home, Van Gaal ignored Angel Di Maria's availability a week later at Anfield as we put the Scousers to the sword to all but seal a top four place. 

"How can I change this team" Van Gaal asked rhetorically- the Stoke success was reminiscent of the 3-0 blitz of Tottenham in March and LVG might be resistant to change.

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