Juan Mata must play centrally and allow Van Gaal to invest in a winger

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It is fair to say that Manchester United are a club in disarray. Performances have been poor, the manager is breaking and confidence seems to be at an all-time low, culminating in an eight-match winless streak - a run only ended by scraping a 2-1 win over Swansea on Saturday.

But, in terms of their squad, United are only a player or two away from having a great squad, despite what many pundits are suggesting.

A slight reshuffle, to move some of the players back into their favoured position, and two high-profile acquisitions, and they could be back in business. Here is how:


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Formation Change

When Louis van Gaal first came in, he said, "4-3-3 is the best formation." He stated that you can stretch the opposition, and create passing triangles across the pitch, and it was successful for him last season. Why, then, has he reverted to using the safer 4-2-3-1?

A 4-3-3 formation will allow more players to play in their preferred role. Morgan Schneiderlin, when he is available, can be part of a midfield trio including Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, who have a good partnership that could blossom further if they were paired close together in midfield.

This allows both Mata and Herrera to play in their preferred midfield role, as opposed to Mata on the wing, where his lack of pace is horribly exposed. It also opens up the winger position for a potential January signing.

New Wingers

All of the best clubs in the wing have world-class wingers. Barcelona have Lionel Messi and Neymar, Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and Bayern Munich have Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, or the younger Douglas Costa.

Whilst these players are inaccessible for most, there are some high-profile players that United can attract and can transform the look of their club with their pace.

Anthony Martial and even the out-of-form Memphis Depay are promising talents, but not yet ready to shoulder the responsibility that the club seem to be placing on them. They both need to be dropped or rotated for the time-being.

So who can United actually bring in? Andre Schurrle is a great option, a fan favourite at Chelsea and he has rediscovered his form at Wolfsburg. He brings bags of pace, an intense work ethic and professionalism and would be a great acquisition for the club.

Another is Julien Draxler, whose stellar performance against United in their Champions League defeat brought him to the fore of world football's up and coming talents.

Looking over to Dortmund, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are likely inaccessible. Shinji Kagawa will not return to the club that wouldn't give him a chance and Thomas Tuchel regards Henrikh Mkhitaryan too highly to let him go. But Jakub Blaszczykowski, on loan at Fiorentina, is a solid, pacey winger who can provide the spark that United need. He is also not getting the game-time that he would probably want at the latter stages of his career.

So, there are options out there, it is just about getting the right ones. Depay has not dazzled as many predicted - or rather hoped - he would, and both winger positions are definitely up for grabs at United.

A bit of luck

Luke Shaw's injury was wholly unfortunate. He was finally showing the promise he showed at Southampton and looked like a solid option at left back for the rest of the season. And then he got injured, out for the rest of the season. He will likely come back a different player to begin with.

On top of that, Jesse Lingard suffered a similar fate - finally coming through on the promise he has shown and he also got injured, halting his progress. Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Schneiderlin have also all been out for periods over the first half of the season, and at full fitness, the club looked a much better prospect than it does now.

United aren't too far off the pace. It is just about making the right moves to get them back.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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