Five players with a point to prove this weekend

Posted by Mark Payne

Robin van PersieEmpicsRobin van Persie's midweek goal can't hide his stuttered run of form recently

Robin van Persie

The Dutchman's deflected goal earned United the points midweek, but his form has been subdued over the past few weeks. So far this season, he has been the saviour on more than one occasion. United fans will be hoping he can put this quiet run of games behind him to sharpen up for the trip to Manchester City on the 9th of December. A more authoritative performance at the front of the team against Reading would be most helpful.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a victim of the high standards he has set himself in recent seasons. Last time out, he broke his own scoring record and plundered 27 Premier League goals. This season he has managed three so far, one more than Jonny Evans.

Injury has been a mitigating factor, but the club's riches in the striking department mean that he can no longer take his place in the team for granted. It is time for Rooney to start ruling matches from the tip of the midfield and spend less time chasing lost causes. At the age of 27, he should be entering the finest years of his footballing career, not quietly shuffling to the back. Would the real Wayne Rooney please stand up.

Ashley Young

There has been much speculation that Nani is headed out of Old Trafford, perhaps even as soon as January. This seems to have caused Ashley Young to take his foot off the pedal somewhat. The former Aston Villa man scores spectacular goals and bamboozles defenders when in form. On his bad days he dives and is anonymous. There has been too much of the latter recently and it is time to turn the tide.

Darren Fletcher

The Scot is six starts into his comeback now and everybody is pleased to see him back in the team. He has completed ninety minutes on several occasions and surely must be match fit now and approaching maximum capacity. His last two games - against QPR and Galatasaray - have produced very lacklustre United performances. This team is still sorely lacking a midfield general and, until Anderson can prove he is consistent, the Scot is the best United have. Now back on the field, Darren Fletcher needs to turn back the years.

The goalkeeper

There seems a strong chance that David de Gea will start against Reading, but who really knows these days? Anders Lindergaard has worn the jersey for the past three fixtures, including one rare clean sheet, and it seems logical the Spaniard should return. Both men must feel on trial with the current rotation, but de Gea would be many fans' pick for a permanent starting role.

His reaction saves often keep United in contention and a settled goalie is surely the foundation for a settled defence. Lindergaard is also extremely good at his job, but lacks the natural talent of de Gea. Whoever starts, they will know that even the slightest mistake will be scrutinised ad infinitum.

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