Manchester United are preparing for kick-off against Brighton at the weekend for the club’s Premier League opener.
A home match at Old Trafford is the ideal way for new manager Erik ten Hag to begin, but the Seagulls will be tough opponents, beating United 4-0 last time out.
Despite the new manager’s arrival, it feels like not a lot has changed at United. The promised squad overhaul has not really happened.
Our predicted line-up features two new signings, although it’s quite possible the manager players super safe and none feature. Erik ten Hag has some big decisions to make this weekend.
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The big news rocking United was Anthony Martial’s injury. The Frenchman has been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury.
The decision facing Erik ten Hag is whether to pick Cristiano Ronaldo to replace him. Is the Portuguese superstar fit enough after a shortened pre-season?
Ten Hag will be more tempted to try to replicate the system which served him well with Anthony Martial in pre-season, and move Marcus Rashford into attack.
This would mean Anthony Elanga starting on the left – although there is a strong case it should be Alejandro Garnacho. He will likely be on the bench.
United’s midfield is also, not a pretty sight. Fred and Scott McTominay appear destined to start. United fans had hoped the start of the season would be so different.
Bruno Fernandes will complete the three-man midfield. If Ten Hag is feeling more adventurous, he could swap out McTominay for Christian Eriksen.
We are predicting one new signing will start at left-back. Tyrell Malacia has been excellent in pre-season and could get the nod over Luke Shaw.
Harry Maguire will start at centre-back, although his partner is less certain. It could be any of Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof. We are predicting Martinez will get the nod, after Ten Hag told the press conference the new signings are fit to start.
Diogo Dalot and David de Gea are certain starters in their positions at right-back and in goal.
United can use up to five substitutes, which means there will be plenty of ways for Ten Hag to mix up his selection as the game goes on. Ronaldo,, Eriksen, Van de Beek, Garnacho will be among the attacking substitutes United can call on.
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron…