Home » Predicted XI vs Brighton: False nine and two competitive debuts expected

Predicted XI vs Brighton: False nine and two competitive debuts expected

by Red Billy

Erik ten Hag will begin his reign as Manchester United manager without the services of Anthony Martial, who suffered a hamstring injury in the side’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in Oslo.

Martial had looked to be starting Sunday’s Premier League opener against Brighton as the only recognised striker at the club who was match fit.

Cristiano Ronaldo has only played 45 minutes of football after having missed most of the pre-season tour due to family issues.

It may be that Ten Hag will rush Ronaldo back because of the crisis, or he could put Marcus Rashford up front and bring in Anthony Elanga or Alejandro Garnacho to replace him on the left wing.

However, Ten Hag often used a false 9 system in his time at Ajax and we think he might do this on Sunday, with Donny van de Beek a possible candidate for the role.

The good news for United is that Jadon Sancho, who missed last weekend’s friendly games through sickness, is back. He will almost certainly take up a position on the right wing.

Luke Shaw has also recovered from sickness but may not walk straight back into the team after the fine pre-season form of new signing, Tyrell Malacia, at left back.

Most people expect that in midfield, Bruno Fernandes will play in the number 8 position with the trusty pair, Scott McTominay and Fred, in the double 6. However, we think it is possible that, especially if the false 9 system is employed, Ten Hag might want more creativity from deep, with Christian Eriksen poised to make his competitive debut.

McTominay could be the most likely to miss out in that circumstance.

Elsewhere, Diogo Dalot appears to be unchallenged as United’s starting right back and David de Gea will, of course, continue in goal. We also think Ten Hag will start with the established partnership of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof at centre back, even though new signing Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane impressed against Rayo Vallecano last week. The former pair have played most of the pre-season.

Ten Hag will continue with the role reversal of the pair, with Maguire at RCB and Lindelof at LCB.

With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for the game on Sunday:


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