Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday evening as they travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen. United beat the Danish side a fortnight ago, registering their first victory in the competition this season – a terrible start for Erik ten Hag’s side.
United have not just started terribly in the Champions League this season – they are also out of the Carabao Cup, beaten by Newcastle United, last seasons finalists and have lost five of their 11 matches in the Premier League so far this season. United need results and fast.
United have lost to both Bayern Munich and Galatasaray in the Champions League so far this season, so a victory here will put them in good stead to get out of the group, however, they will need to beat both Bayern and Galatasaray in the last two group stage matches to be certain.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3
Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Evans, Reguilon;
Fernandes, Amrabat, McTominay;
Mount, Hojlund, Garnacho
Andre Onana kept his first clean sheet since the victory over Copenhagen at Old Trafford a fortnight ago in the 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday. It was a positive step for United following back to back 3-0 defeats to City and Newcastle.
Onana is a good goalkeeper but United’s confidence must be rock bottom after a season of poor results so far. But the Cameroonian will be seeking to bring the best of his abilities to the table and to help guide the club to positive results home and away.
Altay Bayindir is a player that needs to be given some game time this season with him brought in to rival Onana with him playing in the African Cup of Nations in January. He could be an option in this match but it will be a must win match for United, to even think about staying in Europe this season.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Evans, Reguilon
United’s defence has not bee a constant this season. The players have not had a run of matches playing together consistently with many different combinations involved so far this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka returned recently and both he and Sergio Reguilon should be starting.
Harry Maguire seems to have redeemed himself recently with his performances, with the majority of them being a positive for United, despite the results what have been achieved. The former captain of the club is a positive figure at the club, despite the criticism and his bounce back is admirable.
Jonny Evans could be the only other player fully fit to travel to Denmark as part of the defence. The veteran United academy graduate knows the club inside and out and will be committed to fight for the club going forward. Ten Hag does not have many options at this time, unless it changes.
Midfield: Fernandes, Amrabat, McTominay
United’s midfield needs some inspiration ahead of the clash with Copenhagen on Wednesday evening. United need to find a victory to give them a chance of staying in Europe this season. Bruno Fernandes should be starting and he will be boosted following his goal against Fulham.
Sofyan Amrabat will need to do the defensive work in the midfield for United against Copenhagen with Casemiro out of action for the foreseeable future. The Moroccan midfielder is a positive player and despite being a midfielder, he has played in numerous positions for the club.
Scott McTominay has been pretty impressive for United in the last few weeks and will be seeking to score for his club so he can keep his place in the team on a regular basis. The Scotland international has been a positive performer for the club in recent weeks.
Forwards: Mount, Hojlund, Garnacho
Rasmus Hojlund is a decent striker and when he finds his feet at United, he could be something special for the club. Of course, he will need to get the service from the players behind him, which he has not always been getting since joining the club. In Denmark, this could be different.
Mason Mount has not lived up to his expectations in a United shirt but has been play8ing a deeper role for the club. Against Copenhagen, he could play in the right-wing role, which could help United find their feet and get the win that is needed. He will want to shine for United at some point.
Alejandro Garnacho is a positive player on the left-wing. With Marcus Rashford out of form and seemingly out of action at this time, playing the Argentinian international in the left-wing role could be good for United as he does try and put the effort in and get United forward.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Lindelof, Varane, Dalot; Eriksen, Mainoo, Hannibal; Martial, Rashford, Antony, Pellistri
United could have up to 12 players on the bench in the Champions League. This could consist of more than one goalkeeper if injury is a problem for the club. However, it is expected that it would just be Altay Bayindir on the bench as a goalkeeper, but Tom Heaton could be involved.
In defence, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane and Diogo Dalot could all be available should they be required. United are short of fullbacks at this time, especially with Luke Shaw out of action. In the midfield, Christian Eriksen, Kobbie Mainoo and Hannibal could be available.
In attack, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Anthony and Facundo Pellistri could be available to feature against Copenhagen. United will be required to get a result in Denmark and it may not be an easy feat because at Old Trafford, it was hard to break this team down.
Written by John Walker