Erik ten Hag will be without Raphael Varane for tomorrow’s Europa league clash with Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford.
Varane suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury against Chelsea on Saturday which could mean he misses the rest of United’s pre-World Cup matches.
Victor Lindelof has been an able deputy so far this season and is expected to replace the Frenchman even though Harry Maguire is approaching fitness after his own injury.
As for the rest of the defence, given the standard of opposition it could be that Luke Shaw is rested and Tyrell Malacia given a run out at left back.
Diogo Dalot and Lisandro Martinez have no obvious substitutes, so they are likely to continue, as should David de Gea in goal.
Up front, the big question is will Cristiano Ronaldo be offered the olive branch of a starting berth after his high profile strop and subsequent publishment last week.
This could depend on whether Anthony Martial has recovered from a lower back injury in time to take part.
At a press conference on Friday, Ten Hag said “He was on the [training] pitch, but he’s not available for tomorrow [against Chelsea]. We have to see how it develops in the coming days,” which could mean a place on the bench at least.
In this case, Marcus Rashford could start again with Martial and/or Ronaldo making their appearances from the bench.
A home match against lowly opposition could be the ideal time for Jadon Sancho to rediscover his form after a disappointing couple of games. We therefore think he will be picked again on the left wing, with Antony on the right.
In Donny van de Beek’s continued absence, Bruno Fernandes is the only experienced specialist number 10 available so he, too, will probably be pressed into action once again.
This leaves the pivot positions, with two from Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Fred and Scott McTominay to be chosen.
While it would be advantageous to rest Casemiro and Eriksen, McTominay’s poor judgment in conceding a penalty against Chelsea will not endear the manager to selecting him, so on balance it could be a case of sticking with the Chelsea match winner and Eriksen.
The manager will hope that United can build a clear lead by half time or the hour mark so five of the likes of Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Antony, Rashford, Dalot, Lisandro and Rashford can be rested ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham.
With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for the Sheriff game:
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