Erik ten Hag is likely to shuffle the pack for Manchester United’s home tie against Brentford tomorrow following his team’s lacklustre 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United at the weekend.
The manager’s experiment of starting Bruno Fernandes in the number 6 position and Scott McTominay at number 10 was an abject failure.
McTominay’s performance once reverted back to central midfield was not much better and it seems like a no-brainer for the boss to reinstate Fred alongside Marcel Sabitzer in the double pivot.
Casemiro is still unavailable as he serves the third of his four match ban. Christian Eriksen is back in training following a lengthy layoff, but is highly unlikely to start. The best he could hope for is the bench.
Donny van de Beek remains unavailable with a long-term injury.
Elsewhere on the pitch, one big decision for Ten Hag is whether to risk Anthony Martial from the start tomorrow evening. Wout Weghorst has worked hard in the Frenchman’s absence but he was another player whose Newcastle performance was poor and the boss surely needs a new plan up front.
We suspect that even if Martial is not deemed fit enough to start, Weghorst will step down, with Marcus Rashford potentially moving into the striker role and Jadon Sancho coming in for him.
Martial could then come on for 30 minutes to replace whoever is the least effective forward on the night; a direct swap for Rashford, or Rashford moving over to replace Sancho on the left or Antony on the right.
The ever-present Bruno Fernandes will start in the number 10 role.
In defence, we expect Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane to start again as Ten Hag tries to contain Ivan Toney. Harry Maguire could step in for Varane if the Frenchman requires another rest.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is expected to come back in for Diogo Dalot at right back. The Englishman missed the Newcastle game with illness and Dalot was given a torrid time by Allan Saint-Maximin. At left back, Luke Shaw will probably start although he, too, was disappointing against the Magpies and could be replaced by Tyrell Malacia.
With David de Gea in goal, this is the United line-up we predict for tomorrow’s game:
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