Premier League big five: Pundits predict teams line-ups
Soccer Saturday experts analyse United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool
Last Updated: 16/08/14 4:39pm
Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will all start the season with optimism of lifting the Premier League trophy come May.
The potential title race protagonists have invested heavily over the summer and consequently the managers of the big five have some huge selection calls to make. Who will they place their faith in? Where will they deploy their best assests? And how will they demand their teams play?
Here, some of our pundits look inside the minds of Messrs Mourinho, Rodgers, Pellegrini, Wenger and Van Gaal and predict how they will set up their teams this season as they go in pursuit of the Premier League title.
We've asked them to choose from the CURRENT squads assuming there are no injury or suspension issues. Don't agree? Visit the Sky Sports Team Selector to make your own choices and share with your friends.
Paul Walsh's Manchester City XI
Here’s how former Manchester City forward Paul Walsh expects Manuel Pellegrini to line up his side...
PAUL'S XI (4-4-2): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Nasri, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva; Aguero, Dzeko
Paul says: "I think and hope Frank Lampard will get starts in certain games because he is better playing from the off than making an impression as a substitute. David Silva has to play so I suspect him and Samir Nasri will figure as the wide midfielders, leaving Jesus Navas as a sub, while Edin Dzeko would be my guy to play alongside Sergio Aguero. That looks like a good side to me and should secure City second spot – behind Chelsea."
Matt Le Tissier's Manchester United XI
Here’s how Matt Le Tissier reckons Louis van Gaal should set his team up in his first season once everyone is fit...
MATT'S XI (3-5-2): De Gea; Jones, Evans, Smalling; Valencia, Herrera, Fletcher, Mata, Shaw; Rooney, Van Persie.
Matt says: "I get the feeling that Louis van Gaal will improve United after their problems last season. However Van Gaal must strengthen in central defence before the transfer window closes. I am looking forward to seeing how former Saint Luke Shaw gets on at Old Trafford."
Phil Thompson's Liverpool XI
Here is how former Liverpool defender and assistant manager Phil Thompson thinks Brendan Rodgers' strongest team should look...
PHIL'S XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Johnson; Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho; Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana.
Phil says: "You’ve got Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho. I like the boy Emre Can as he's a physical presence. Playing at Anfield he’s more offensive than Joe Allen so you can see Can playing with Gerrard and Henderson, with Coutinho pushed up alongside Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic could play from the left, while I expect Rickie Lambert to be an impact player from the bench."
Charlie Nicholas' Arsenal XI
Here’s how former Gunners’ striker Charlie Nicholas reckons Arsene Wenger should set his team up next term once everyone is fit...
CHARLIE'S XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil; Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez
Charlie says: "I think we’ll see a more productive attacking side from Arsenal this year. I’ve been very impressed with their signings this summer and think Wenger will make one more before the deadline. They’ll be able to play Alexis Sanchez on the left of a three-man frontline with Theo Walcott the other side of Olivier Giroud and with Mesut Ozil just behind them."
Paul Merson's Chelsea XI
Here is how Paul Merson thinks Jose Mourinho will select his side this season...
MERSON'S XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Luis; Ramires, Matic; Oscar, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa
Merse says: "I’d have Cech in goal rather than Courtois. This is a different league to Spanish football and there’s a lot of crosses with the game being played at 100 miles per hour. I don’t think he should be thrown in straight away and I would stay with Cech while he is bedded in. I think Azpilacueta would now move to right-back because that’s his position and at centre-half I would have John Terry and Gary Cahill because those two are as good as anybody, probably the best pair in the league. Diego Costa has to play up front and I think Fabregas, Oscar and Hazard will play behind him – but they can rotate and go anywhere they like. Their positions won’t be fixed."
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