Manchester United will travel to face Sheffield United at Bramble Lane in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It is the first match after the second international break of the season and prior to that United came from behind to beat Brentford 2-1 at Old Trafford.
United have been in dire form this season – losing more matches than they have won. Their start in the UEFA Champions League has resulted in two defeats, despite United scoring five goals, they conceded seven. Erik ten Hag will need to find a way to boost his team and make them win.
Sheffield have had a poor start to the season and sit bottom of the Premier League with just one point from eight matches. United sit tenth with 12 points from eight matches. They are eight points from the top of the league so have a lot of work to do this season.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Reguilon;
Fernandes, Amrabat, Mount;
Antony, Hojlund, Rashford
Andre Onana has not had a great start to his United career. His ability as a shot stopper is questionable but the lad can use his feet. His distribution needs improvement too. It is early days for him to be judged but some supporters will do just that.
Ten Hag seems to trust him and like all goalkeepers, coming into a new team is going to have its problems and this could be the case for the Cameroonian. However, with the African Cup of Nations coming up at the start of 2024, United need to blood in Altay Bayindir.
Bayindir was brought in to challenge for the number one position and could do that with him being given a change in goal whilst Onana is playing for his country next year. Of course, Tom Heaton could stand in the was of the Turkish goalkeeper.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Reguilon
United’s defence will need to up their game against Premier League strugglers Sheffield United this weekend. They will need to help the side get a win on the road – they have one out of four so far this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a chance to be back in the squad if fit.
Sergio Reguilon could also be back in action with both fullbacks being out injured for a number of weeks, which has weakened the defence at this early stage of the season. United could be strong in the fullback position again, which would be about time. Luke Shaw is close to a comeback too.
In the centre of defence, Raphael Varane should be back in the squad after his injury, which is a good time for the Frenchman to return. He could be partnered by Harry Maguire, who had a positive impact against Brentford almost a fortnight ago.
Midfield: Fernandes, Amrabat, Mount
United’s midfield is going to see some changes this weekend with Casemiro remaining in Brazil for treatment and will miss matches for the foreseeable future – which is a blow for United. However, Sofyan Amrabat has returned from international duty and should start against the Blades.
Bruno Fernandes has had a good international break for Portugal and supporters will hope that this transfers over to his club performances, which needs to happen from the captain of the club. He has done well this season but I would like to see more from him.
Mason Mount could also be starting in the midfield, which has become a midfield three ahead of this match, which will probably not be the case when the team news is announced. But this trio should be enough for United to get a result against the Blades this weekend.
Forwards: Antony, Hojlund, Rashford
A three-man attack will be a good move for United this weekend. Rasmus Hojlund should lead the line for United as he is starting to find his feet at the club with the goals he has scored this season. The Dane will be a great striker for United this season and beyond.
Antony could find himself in a starting position after the international break too, which would be good for him to get back to playing football after he was sidelined by problems in his private life. The Brazilian is a talented player but the jury is still out for him.
Marcus Rashford had a positive international break for England, scoring against Italy in a European qualifier match which England won. The forward should be ready to get something started for United this season as his start to the season has not been the best, especially after last season.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Lindelof, Dalot; Eriksen, McTominay, Hannibal; Martial, Garnacho, Pellistri
United will have nine players on the bench against the Blades this weekend. In goal it is expected that Altay Bayindir will remain on the bench with his long awaited debut still to be completed. At some stage he will be starting for United though – they will need him in January.
In defence, United could have Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot, if Wan-Bissaka or Reguilon are back in the squad. If either are not available, Jonny Evans could have a place on the bench. In the midfield, Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Hannibal could be available.
In attack, United could have Anthony Martial, Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri on the bench against the Blades. United will need all the first choice players they have to get three points on the board this weekend – also aiming to do so in the Champions League next week.
Written by John Walker