Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as they welcome Luton Town to Old Trafford. United’s season has been terrible so far, which has continued with the 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening.
United were 2-0 up in 28 minutes with Rasmus Hojlund scoring both goals. United then saw Marcus Rashford send off in the 42nd minute, Copenhagen score a goal in the 45th minute then equalise nine minutes into added time at the end of the first half.
United took the lead from the spot in the 69th minute through Bruno Fernandes before Copenhagen scored two goals in the 83rd and 87th minutes which saw them fall to the bottom of the group. United are in a predicament that Luton will love, especially as they will try to win.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3
Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Reguilon;
Fernandes, Amrabat, McTominay;
Mount, Hojlund, Garnacho
Andre Onana has been widely criticised this season for the start he has had in the Premier League. He has conceded so many goals this season I have lost count and cannot be bothered to check. But it is a major problem for United. Granted, it is not all on him but some of them have been howlers.
He will be out of action for the club in the New Year because of the African Cup of Nations, so giving another goalkeeper the chance to shine for the club would be a good thing to do in the not too distant future, which could also solve the problem and provide competition.
But for now, Ten Hag seems to want to stick with Onana, who is a talented goalkeeper but needs to brush up on a few things before he can find his feet at the club. Something will give at some point – either he will improve or he will be another expensive player to flop at the Old Trafford club.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Reguilon
United’s defence has some major problems at this time. Raphael Varane’s fitness is just one of those problems. United could be forced to play him from the start against Luton with former captain Harry Maguire playing alongside him in the centre of the defence. United needs it to work.
In the fullback positions, United should be utilising both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Sergio Reguilon. The former has redeemed himself under Ten Hag after seemingly looking like a player that was going to be sold. Reguilon is a loan signing but has more passion and desire than some players.
Jonny Evans came off early against Copenhagen so could be out for some time, which is something United did not need at this time with Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez out of action for the foreseeable future. United will need to get their defensive problems fixed and soon.
Midfield: Fernandes, Amrabat, McTominay
The midfield needs to be packed against teams that know they can overpower United. We saw if with Brentford last season and will continue seeing it until the problems have been resolved. A three-man midfield is a positive for United and providing it is right, it should work well.
Bruno Fernandes is a player that has provided for United in the last few matches, the last one from the penalty spot. He will need to play more of an impact in this match and those coming after the international break. He needs to be leading the club in the right direction from now on.
Sofyan Amrabat is a solid player in the midfield but he will need to offer more to get United heading in the right direction. The Moroccan will be absent for the start of the New Year so he has chances now to show himself. Scott McTominay is an important player for United too.
Forwards: Mount, Hojlund, Garnacho
United have showed that they have a good attacking line with the number of goals they have scored in the UEFA Champions League this season. That said, conceding goals has been a problem. Ten Hag will need to try something new against Luton this weekend.
Rasmus Hojlund needs to be leading the line as he offers something that other players cannot at the club currently. The Danish striker has five goals so far this season and will be seeking to provide more for his new club. Ten Hag has a great player in the making.
In the wide positions, Ten Hag needs to be using Mason Mount and Alejandro Garnacho. The duo have the ability and talent to do a job on the wings and should be able to eclipse what Antony and Marcus Rashford have done in those positions. Picking players that fail needs to stop.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Lindelof, Dalot; Eriksen, Hannibal; Martial, Rashford, Antony, Pellistri
United wiki have nine players on the bench against Luton. Five of those can be used during the match. Ten Hag will need to have a plan to see out the match as the defeat to Copenhagen will have negative effects in this match – the last one before the international break.
Altay Bayindir will probably remain on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot could well be the only defensive players on the bench. Ten Hag will need to get defenders back to fitness during the international break.
The midfield could see the likes of Christian Eriksen and Hannibal on the bench, although Kobbie Mainoo could have some involvement. In the attacking ranks, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Antony and Facundo Pellistri could play a part, should they be needed.
Written by John Walker