Manchester United will be aiming to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign when they host Newcastle United this afternoon.
An opening-day thrashing of Leeds United has been followed up by a draw with Southampton and a narrow victory over Wolves, leaving the Red Devils with seven points from a possible nine in the early stages of 2021/22.
The arrival of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has provided a significant boost to the Old Trafford outfit in their pursuit of the top-flight title, but his return isn’t the only positive update for United.
Solskjaer confirmed that Dean Henderson is available once again after suffering from the after-effects of a viral infection, and summer signing Jadon Sancho is also in contention to start, although Alex Telles and Scott McTominay haven’t recovered in time.
“They’re all training. Dean (Henderson) has not got the after-effect and tiredness anymore, that’s very positive,” the Norwegian revealed in Friday’s press conference.
“(Alex) Telles is not 100 per cent yet, still a few weeks, and Scott (McTominay) has recovered very quickly from the operation. He’s probably not going to play, depending on who we’ve got available and can use.
“Jadon’s (Sancho) come back in with a minor knock but is determined to play, to be fit, he’s available, that’s a positive. Cristiano’s trained all week, we didn’t get anyone injured in internationals, not a lot of recoveries, but they will be available, I think.”
With that in mind, here’s how Football FanCast expects Solskjaer to line up at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo making his second debut for the club…
Despite Henderson’s recovery, we expect Solskjaer to stick with David de Gea in goal after the Spain international made a solid start to the new season, keeping a clean sheet last time out.
There should also be a familiar feel to the back four, with Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Aaron Wan-Bissaka keeping their places in defence.
However, Solskjaer has some big decisions to make in the midfield. A last-minute U-turn from South American associations means that Fred is now available for selection, but after underwhelming displays against the Saints and Wolves, it’s unlikely that either Nemanja Matic or Paul Pogba will partner him in the engine room.
That means that Donny van de Beek could get a rare opportunity to impress from the off in McTominay’s absence, meaning that Pogba will be fielded out wide in place of the £90m-rated Sancho after a slow start to life in Manchester for the 21-year-old.
A trio of Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo should complete the forward line as United look to mark the latter’s momentous return with a win.