Welbeck unlikely to start in van Gaal's 3-4-3 formation
Danny Welbeck might have earned some brownie points by scoring the opening goal in Manchester United's 7-0 thumping of LA Galaxy yesterday morning (Singapore time), but it won't guarantee him a place in the starting 11 when the new Premiership season kicks off.
Against the LA Galaxy, United manager Louis van Gaal started Welbeck and Wayne Rooney, who scored a brace, as his front-two pairing in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Juan Mata deployed just behind them.
All the United players, except for Ander Herrera and Darren Fletcher, were substituted at half-time.
Van Gaal confirmed after the match that he will adopt a three-man defence in a 3-4-3 formation for the upcoming season, so Welbeck is set to lose out on a starting place, with the Dutch manager likely to start with Rooney and Robin van Persie.
Welbeck's first-11 role yesterday morning was more to do with the absence of van Persie, who is on an extended break after his World Cup exertions with Holland.
Welbeck will certainly find it tough to dislodge the Dutchman from a starting spot when he returns for duty, or for that matter, Rooney.
Van Persie's place as the attacking focal point in the centre is almost certain.
Rooney's match-winning qualities make him the second name on the list, most likely on the left, leaving Welbeck to fight it out for the right-sided slot with several others, such as Juan Mata, Luis Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.
Of the lot, Valencia has a slight edge, given his defensive qualities and that he is a natural right winger.
With United not involved in European competition next term, van Gaal has little need to reshuffle his pack during the campaign.
This means Welbeck may be looking at plenty of time on the bench.
- GARY LIM
We introduced a new system that we have played only two times on the training pitch 11 versus 11, but the boys are willing to pick up the information. It is fantastic how they have performed. When you want to change a system, you must start at once. We don’t have time to prepare for other things.
— United manager Louis van Gaal, saying he will adopt a three-man defence in a 3-4-3 formation for next season