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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Experience v Youth! Which one will Ten Hag choose? Martinez to start? Amrabat to keep his place? Casemiro benched?

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Manchester United travel to the South Coast on Sunday afternoon where they will face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in the Premier League. United beat Newcastle United in the final league match at Old Trafford this season, scoring three goals, winning 3-2 in the end.

Erik ten Hag will need to keep United winning to end the season, not that it will increase their chances of anything as they look set to finish outside the top six this season and could well miss out on a European place unless they win the Emirates FA Cup next weekend. It is what it is.

United will need to start performing if they want to beat City in the FA Cup final, which will need one of the best performances of the season if that was to happen. United have a talented squad but it is the application of their skillsets and abilities that is the main problem, which is a worry at the club.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Wan-Bissaka, Kambwala, Martinez, Dalot;

Mainoo, Amrabat;

Amad, Fernandes, Garnacho;

Hojlund89

Goalkeeper: Onana

Andre Onana has not had a great season for United. More than 80 goals has been conceded by him this season, with is terrible for any goalkeeper. United have suffered with injury problems, especially in the defence for much of the season and that is a big factor as to the number of goals conceded.

Onana is a professional and seems to be annoyed when he concedes a goal, which is a good attribute but this summer and beyond, United will need to start making a major improvement into the quality of players and sort out the injury problems, which have been horrendous this season.

United will probably stick with Onana against Brighton as he will be seeking to end the season in good form and maintaining his fitness prior to the FA Cup in a week’s time. Altay Bayindir would have liked to get some more minutes this season, but it seems unlikely that it will happen.

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Kambwala, Martinez, Dalot

United’s defence has been injury hit for the majority of the season – that is something that is written ahead of every match here. It has been a major problem for United and is one of the reasons why United have not been great this season – it is a major factor of the problems and needs to change.

Against Brighton, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should start at right-back in what could be his last Premier League match in a United shirt with his exit likely to happen this summer. On the left, Diogo Dalot should start as Wan-Bissaka is not a left-back. Harry Amass could be chosen though.

In the centre of the defence, United could have Lisandro Martinez back after his return against Newcastle during the week. Will Kambwala could start alongside him. However, Raphael Varane has returned to training so he could make his bow out of the Premier League against Brighton.

Midfield: Mainoo, Amrabat

United’s midfield has been largely good this season despite injuries in their plenty for a lot of the season. Kobbie Mainoo has risen in stature and provided the club with some stability in the centre of the midfield – something that has been needed for much of the last decade.

Casemiro, who had partnered the academy graduate has recently played in the centre of the defence, despite not looking the part there the majority of the time, but he could be set for a place on the bench in what could be his final Premier League match for United.

Sofyan Amrabat should start alongside Mainoo against Brighton as he offers stability and has looked the part in his last few appearances. United should probably look into signing the player permanently if Casemiro is going to be allowed to leave the Old Trafford club in the summer.

Attacking Midfield: Amad, McTominay, Garnacho

United have not been great in the attacking ranks this season. 37 goals and 25 assists have been created in these positions amongst five different players – which has not been great. Amad Diallo has two goals and one assist and should start ahead of Antony on the right-wing.

Antony has just three goals and two assists – which is terrible. Alejandro Garnacho has nine goals and five assists and should start on the left-wing. Marcus Rashford has eight goals and five assists and should remain on the bench until he can offer something that warrants his weekly wage.

Bruno Fernandes has 15 goals and 12 assists this season – the joint top scorer this season with Rasmus Hojlund. Fernandes needs to start in the central area, behind the striker. United have some good players but creativity is a problem and that needs to start changing and soon.

Forward: Hojlund

Rasmus Hojlund is the player that United will depend on to get goals this season. He is the best striker at the club and nobody else comes close who is an attacking player. Scott McTominay has done well in the forward areas this season with ten goals and three assists though.

Hojlund is much better than Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, who between them have ten goals and six assists – which is not great based on the experience both have. That said, Martial has been on the sidelines for the majority of the season with different injuries. Hojlund should start.

It has been reported that Martial could be fit for the final match of the season away to Brighton, which is good but not something that will excite many supporters as he best days are in the past and no matter how much hope someone has, his return is going to be short-lived.

Substitutes: Bayindir; Varane, Amass; Eriksen, Casemiro, McTominay; Martial, Antony, Wheatley

United should have nine players on the bench against Brighton in the Premier League, five of which can be used throughout the match. Altay Bayindir looks set to remain on the bench for United. Ten Hag could choose youth for the bench, or even start some but some players need minutes.

With the FA Cup final on the horizon, United need to get some of the players who have returned some match fitness. In defence, Raphael Varane and Harry Amass could be available with Varane ending his Premier League career at the club this summer with his exit soon coming.

In the midfield. Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Scott McTominay could all be available to play a part – should they be needed. In attack, Anthony Martial, Antony and Ethan Wheatley could all be named on the bench and two of those players should depart in the summer – not Wheatley!

Written by Paul


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