Manchester United have had a few days to recharge their batteries after drawing 1-1 with Premier League strugglers West Brom and desperately need to get back to winning ways at Real Sociedad later today.
The Red Devils travel to Turin to face the Basque side in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie tonight with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer searching for his side’s first win since the 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup.
In Sociedad, they face a team who have won two of their past three fixtures, so Solskjaer will know his side will have to be at their very best if they are to return to Old Trafford with all three points and has some tricky calls to make.
Dean Henderson is likely to start for United against Real Sociedad after keeping a clean sheet in the FA Cup victory over West Ham with David de Gea dropping to the bench. Henderson has been restricted to just 11 appearances for the Red Devils this season, but he could be handed a rare start against the two-time La Liga champions on Thursday night.
Harry Maguire has started every single one of United’s 24 games in the Premier League this season and as such should be afforded a rest against Sociedad.
While Victor Lindelof is another option, it is Eric Bailly who is expected to get the nod alongside academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe. Alex Telles is the only other change for Luke Shaw at left-back.
Paul Pogba’s absence gives United little room to manoeuvre in the midfield and means Fred will have to shoulder the responsibility of injecting some extra tempo and tenacity to the midield. The Brazilian should once again be asked to play in the holding role with Nemanja Matic recalled to the starting XI to replace the injured Scott McTominay.
Bruno Fernandes, however, should be an easy pick, given he has comprehensively been United’s best player this season thus far, flanked by Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.
And Mason Greenwood, 19, could lead the line in the absence of Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial as Solskjaer turns to the youth. The Englishman replaced Martial in the second half against West Brom on Sunday and it is the Frenchman who he could replace in the starting line-up with Rashford returning to his preferred position on the left-hand side of the attack.
AND in other Man Utd news, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must unleash Man Utd centre-back Axel Tuanzebe on Real Sociedad…