This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Following an impressive demolition job of rivals Chelsea in their opening Premier League game of the season, Manchester United’s form has shuddered to a halt.
The early momentum that was gained from that 4-0 victory has well and truly disappeared, and now things seem to be going from bad to worse for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Norwegian confirmed the side would be missing several key players for the clash against Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
Taking all those injuries into account, below is a look at the kind of line-up Solskjaer may opt for when Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes come to town.
Whilst Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have nailed down the starting centre-back positions so far, the players tol partner them on either flank could change once more.
Solskjaer confirmed summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a doubt to face the Foxes, and with Diogo Dalot also out injured, make-shift defender Ashley Young could switch sides and operate as a right-back. At left-back, academy product Brandon Williams is unlikely to be thrust into the spotlight, and that could mean Marcos Rojo returns from the wilderness to start.
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In central midfield, Paul Pogba has been ruled out unless he stages a “miraculous recovery overnight“. That could mean a rare start for Nemanja Matic, who had little influence as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Southampton, making no key passes or tackles. Ahead of both the Serbian and Scott McTominay, United’s front-line looks wholly different from the ones seen before this season.
Injuries to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard (the latter some United fans may not be as fussed about) have severely dented the Red Devils’ already limited options going forward. Solskjaer name-checked Juan Mata as an experienced player who could make the step up, and he will likely take up the number ten role.
Daniel James’ career at Old Trafford has taken off with a bang, with the winger netting three goals in four Premier League games. Whilst his position in the team is secure, the same cannot be said however of Andreas Pereira. The Brazilian managed no key passes or dribbles in the 67 minutes he was on the pitch last time out, and that could mean the exciting prospect of Mason Greenwood making his first start of the season.
And with Anthony Martial still out, Marcus Rashford will once again lead the line, in a week where England boss Gareth Southgate specifically questioned his abilities as a number nine.