I'd expect our full backs to be Valencia and Shaw on the opening day. In todays press conference Van Gaal said that Darmian was purchased as our second right back - by which I think he means he needs to prove himself before automatically being our first choice right back. Which should take about 45 minutes.
I'd also hope we have a new centre back purchased by the time the season starts - ready to slot next to Smalling.
Interesting; I missed LVG's comments re: Darmian. Valencia is a tremendous tackler and 1 v. 1 defender, but he offers very little going forward (particularly as a converted RW!) and his positioning is suspect. I was 50/50 re: Shaw and Blind but gave the edge to the latter due to his experience and relationship with LVG. I don't think it impacts my Manchester United verdict very much, though.
I also expect United to sign a new CB and a ST. I expect more business from all the CL contenders bar Liverpool, but my guesses above were only based on current squads. Given how close we are to the new season, I'd expect LVG would wait awhile before starting a new CB. Defending is more about cohesion than the individuals involved.
I have literally never seen us line up 4-1-3-1-1. And though I disagree with your selection, that would almost 100% be a diamond with Coutinho as the most attacking midfielder and Firmino as the supporting striker.Mignolet
Clyne Skrtel Sakho Moreno
Henderson Coutinho Milner
Possible Improvement: They don't have the elite attacker found in all of the above sides (unless Sturridge miraculously puts his injury problems behind him), but that is a well balanced side and they're having a good summer despite my belief Benteke doesn't suit their style. Firmino adds goals to their midfield, Milner is a much better player than Allen, and Coutinho is better when he plays deeper and is on the ball more often, similar to Cazorla. Can, similar to Smalling, is waiting to be one of this season's surprises. He's not a CB; he's a midfielder. I like Skrtel's passion and willingness to attack the ball, but defensively he is the weakest center back out of all 12 listed in this post.
I have literally never seen us line up 4-1-3-1-1. And though I disagree with your selection, that would almost 100% be a diamond with Coutinho as the most attacking midfielder and Firmino as the supporting striker.
I feel violated. 4-1-3-1-1, get out of here.