Manchester United must start Kagawa and Rooney against Manchester City

Robin van Persie's fine form for Manchester United this season has meant Rooney and Kagawa have yet to really link up as a pairing, but the Dutchman's drought should see them tried together against Manchester City this weekend.

However well Wayne Rooney performs when asked to drop deep for Manchester United, it should never be forgotten that he is an excellent central forward as well, and his defensive and passing attributes are still secondary to his eye for goal.

Rooney has played many roles for Manchester United, and this season Robin Van Persie has generally been the striker Ferguson has asked to lead the line, with Rooney playing behind him to great effect. However this has usually meant that Shinji Kagawa is either relegated to the bench, or pushed out wide to accommodate both Rooney and Van Persie.

Both Rooney and Kagawa have both been victims of their own flexibility at times, and with Van Persie on fire for most of the season there was little reason to change their role in the side. However the Dutchman is now in the middle of a dip in form that has seen him fail to find the net in nine matches, however strenuously he denies that his shot deflected off Titus Bramble last Saturday.

With Rooney expected to be fit for the derby this weekend, Alex Ferguson should drop Van Persie and play the English striker ahead of Shinji Kagawa. Rooney is in decent goal scoring form himself, scoring in his past two matches for both Manchester United and England, and Kagawa has only played 160 minutes of the five matches United have had since his hat trick against Norwich.

With fatigue being mooted as one of the reasons for Van Persie's drought, resting the Dutchman might rekindle his form whilst allowing Rooney and Kagawa the chance to impress in their best positions.

The Japanese player's first season in England has been hampered by injuries and rarely being used in his best position, but Kagawa has the potential to be an incredibly important part of Manchester United's plans next year, and pairing him with Rooney against Manchester City could see both play their best in a crucial derby to settle the title race.

image: © nasmac

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