Danny Higginbotham has said that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal should include midfielder Marouane Fellaini in the starting line-up against Chelsea on Sunday.
Former United and Stoke City midfielder Higginbotham believes that the Belgium international could be the ‘focal point’ in the team at Old Trafford in the Premier League clash.
‘I think United need to line up in a version of 4-4-1-1 with Fellaini behind the front man’, the 35-year-old told Retrounited.com. ‘He gives you a focal point, and means that you can go longer and bypass Chelsea’s midfield early on, getting them running back towards their own box. That’s what you want.
‘It’s alright playing possession based intricate passes but if Chelsea get the ball you’re in trouble. You want to play longer balls in the first 15-20 minutes to get rid of the early counter attacks which they do so well. That way, the power of Falcao or pace of Di Maria can hopefully be utilised’.
Most football followers would suggest that Fellaini is likely to start the game against Chelsea on the substitutes’ bench. After all, there are better and more creative players than the Belgium international, who has only just returned to full fitness.
However, United boss Van Gaal rates the former Everton star highly and brought him on at half time against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Monday.
Fellaini replied with a goal and gave a good account of himself, with Van Gaal later saying: ‘We also have to look for physical balance and maybe that is our problem. I am always looking for creative players and in England you need physical players as well, maybe Fellaini brings that’.
Van Gaal could turn to Fellaini again for his ‘physical’ presence against Chelsea, but it is unlikely that the £27.5 million will be played behind the striker(s) as Higginbotham suggests.