Premier League - Van Persie ready to fight Falcao as United competition heats up

Robin van Persie has warned Falcao he has to “fight for his place” at Manchester United, and the Dutchman says he is ready for the battle for his own spot.

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Premier League - Van Persie ready to fight Falcao as United competition heats up
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Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney

WHAT HAPPENED

Falcao arrived at United on transfer deadline day in a loan move from Monaco and is now expected to compete with Van Persie and Wayne Rooney for two spots in Louis van Gaal’s attack.

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There have been fears that Van Persie will have to undergo surgery in a bid to cure his knee problems - but the Dutchman sounded fit, ready and indeed eager to fight Falcao for a place in the starting XI.

Van Persie says he welcomes the competition and that Falcao cannot expect to walk straight into the team.

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"I am happy with the arrival of Falcao," the Dutchman told Fox Sports. "He makes us a better team. You always have to aim for the best at a big club. That's my philosophy as well. Falcao has to fight for his place, just like me. The two of us and Wayne Rooney and James Wilson will have to fight it out."

Rooney echoed Van Persie's sentiments as he labelled the Falcao deal "a fantastic signing", saying that the Colombian, "is one of the best strikers in the world so it’s a real statement of intent from the club.”

[FULL STORY - Rooney: Falcao capture a 'statement of intent' from Man Utd]

OUR VIEW

In a 3-5-2 formation, Van Persie and Rooney commanded places by default so the addition of Falcao - while interpreted as superfluous by many due to United's lack of centre-backs and commanding midfielders - is important to generate real competition for places in that first XI. The injury worries over Van Persie are persistent and if he does continue to struggle, or need surgery, than Falcao should have little trouble finding a place in the team. If Van Persie's fitness does hold up, then perhaps it will be Wayne Rooney who finds himself on the bench...

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Wayne Rooney and Falcao (PA Sport)

PAUL PARKER'S VIEW

For United, it's a huge relief to see Falcao arrive because they've been tepid up front so far this season. Worse than tepid actually. Very, very, very poor. Robin van Persie clearly just isn't right - there's a lot of talk about him maybe needing an operation, and it sure seems like there's something big that's holding him back.

As for Wayne Rooney, he's been awful. There he was at Burnley this weekend, supposedly captaining the team - but I saw a player interested only in himself, doing nothing to try and lift his game or inspire his team-mates. The only thing in any way remarkable about his performance is that he collects £300,000 a week to play that badly.

Once Van Persie is fully-fit again, Rooney must be the person to be dropped from United's new attacking line-up: for me, it'll be RVP and Falcao every time. And though there's lots of talk about him playing in the hole behind that front two, I think that'd be a huge mistake - why would you have Rooney there when Juan Mata or Angel Di Maria would do the job so much better?

[READ PAUL PARKER'S FULL COLUMN]

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Van Gaal hat das erste Spiel der Saison mit Manchester United verloren.

HOW THE UNITED TEAM COULD LOOK THIS SEASON

If Paul Parker is right and Falcao joins Van Persie in attack then that would not necessitate a change in system. However, United also have to accommodate £14m Daley Blind, who also joined the club on deadline day and is expected to play in a defensive midfield role. In a 3-5-2 formation this could mean he would be flanked by Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria, with Juan Mata being sacrificed.

However, we think United could get the best out of all their better players by dropping the three at the back system which requires three centre-backs and replicating the diamond formation which has served Liverpool so well. In the team graphic below, just imagine Blind dropping back a tiny bit in that central role.

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Man Utd first XI

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