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How Manchester United could line up without injured Victor Lindelof

by Red Billy

Victor Lindelof’s withdrawal from Manchester United’s travelling squad to face Atalanta in the Champions League this evening means that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be forced to change his line-up from the one that convincingly beat Spurs 3-0 at the weekend.

That victory was achieved using a 3-5-2 formation which many expected Solskjaer would retain for tonight’s game. If he does, then it probably means drafting in either Eric Bailly or Alex Telles.

Reports claim that Telles would have played at left wing back on Saturday had Raphael Varane not passed a late fitness test, with Luke Shaw occupying one of the centre-back roles.

This is therefore the most likely solution, although Telles will not have endeared himself to the manager on Saturday when he posted a cryptic message on Instagram about his intended selection.

Eric Bailly is also an option and is a more natural centre-back than Shaw. However, with Solskjaer clinging on to his job, he might not trust a player who has reportedly clashed with him recently in the dressing room when an unfit Harry Maguire was selected ahead of him against Leicester City.

Of course, Solskjaer might decide to avoid either of these options but in that case he would probably change to another formation. One option would be to bring in Nemanja Matic in an ultra-defensive midfield role, which would be tantamount to having a back five in many ways.

Although Paul Pogba is eligible to play as his three-match suspension does not apply to the Champions League, the sending off that caused that suspension could give the boss pause for thought as to whether to trust him for such a crucial game.

It seems more likely that Scott McTominay and Fred will once again be trusted.

As discussed in our predicted XI article yesterday, the other possible change would be to rest Edinson Cavani, who struggled toward the end of Saturday’s game. Marcus Rashford is likely to come in if that is the case.

This would lead to a rather unbalanced, or at least narrow, line-up but it would contain the players that the manager seems to trust the most:

Whatever Solskjaer decides, avoiding defeat has to be the main priority for the match, with three points an added bonus that would put the Red Devils within a whisker of clinching qualification into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Defeat, on the other hand, would put the beleaguered manager under even more intense scrutiny heading into the Manchester derby on Saturday.

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