Home » Predicted XI vs Southampton: Casemiro and Fred to start in midfield

Predicted XI vs Southampton: Casemiro and Fred to start in midfield

by Red Billy

With no new injuries or suspensions to worry about, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has an almost full squad to choose from ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s Premier League match with Southampton at Saint Mary’s.

Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri are the only stars out injured. Eric Bailly has completed a season-long loan switch to Olympique de Marseille.

The big question in defence is whether Ten Hag will stick with the quartet who performed so heroically against Liverpool on Monday or rotate, as he has reportedly promised he would do as tactics dictate.

At centre-back, with Bailly gone and Lindelof out, this boils down to whether Harry Maguire would be brought back in. This seems unlikely given his current form.

It’s also hard to see a case for bringing Luke Shaw back in at left-back after the superb performance of Tyrell Malacia against Liverpool. Diogo Dalot is almost certain to start as well, with Williams out and Wan-Bissaka unfancied by the boss.

In midfield, there is another big mystery: will Ten Hag throw new signing Casemiro straight into the side?

It will be just over two weeks since the 30 year old played 90 minutes, against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup, although he did get seven minutes off the bench in La Liga a couple of days after that.

However, we think Ten Hag could gamble and start the Brazilian, depending on his sharpness in training. Despite Scott McTominay’s good performance on Monday, the Brazilian is a class above the academy graduate and generally keeps himself in peak physical condition. The sooner he is integrated into the side, the better.

If Casemiro does start then we think Fred could replace Christian Eriksen in midfield. Fred plays alongside the former Real Madrid man for Brazil and so they will have an understanding. Likewise, Casemiro is used to playing alongside Raphael Varane so that is another reason that the defender is unlikely to be rotated out.

Bruno Fernandes would then be set to retain the captaincy and make up the midfield trio.

Up front, everything points to Cristiano Ronaldo remaining on the bench, with the rejuvenated Anthony Martial playing up top having returned for 45 minutes on Monday. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford will occupy the flanks, with Anthony Elanga dropping to the bench.

With David de Gea keeping his place in goal, this, then, is our predicted line-up for the 12.30pm kick-off on the south coast:


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