Erik ten Hag has a full-blown injury crisis at a crucial stage of his first season at Manchester United.
United’s squad this season has always been five men thinner than previously, having lost nine first team squad members – Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesse Lingard, Tahith Chong and Lee Grant, plus the likes of Alex Telles, Eric Bailly, Amad Diallo and Dean Henderson on loan, and having brought in only five – in Casemiro, Antony, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez, with three loanees in Wout Weghorst, Marcel Sabitzer and Jack Butland.
But following last night’s battle against Sevilla at Old Trafford, those depleted ranks are now decimated.
Donny van de Beek and Alejandro Garnacho were already long-term absentees and had been joined by Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay in the treatment room in the last seven days.
Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez booked their own places on the physio table last night, with the latter, in particular, looking serious.
Shaw’s injury has been described by Ten Hag as not that bad, so we are hopeful that he will be available for Sunday’s trip to the City Ground to play Nottingham Forest.
If he is fit, he will probably play at left centre back, as the boss tends to prefer a left-footer in that role.
However, Tyrell Malacia’s poor game against Sevilla could see him replaced, so if Shaw plays centre back, Diogo Dalot could take up the left back berth.
Despite his own goal last night, Harry Maguire will probably replace Varane, although Victor Lindelof is another option.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will play right back in this scenario, with David de Gea in goal.
In midfield, Casemiro returns to Premier League action after a four-match ban. Christian Eriksen might not be ready to start a game yet, so Bruno Fernandes could continue in the number 6 role with Marcel Sabitzer once again at number 10. The Austrian scored a brace last night and is doing superbly playing higher up the pitch.
Jadon Sancho and Antony would then retain their places on the wings, with Anthony Martial up front.
If Eriksen were to start, he could play left wing instead of the struggling Sancho. Another possibility if Sancho was to be rested would be for Wout Weghorst to play up top and Martial take up the left wing spot with which he is more than familiar.
With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for Sunday’s 4.30pm kick off:
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