Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was furious with his Manchester United side after they threw away a two-goal lead for the second time this month against Spurs yesterday.
After the game the manager said “Some thought 90% was enough … We didn’t block the crosses or the shot, we didn’t squeeze out. It was so easy for them to score … You could see the goal coming, I had the subs ready but it was too late.”
It is likely that the substitutions he is referring to are the replacement of Antony and Aaron Wan-Bissaka with Tyrell Malacia and Wout Weghorst, rather than the first change – Fred and Anthony Martial for Jadon Sancho and Christian Eriksen.
Wan-Bissaka has been a revelation recently but was up to his old tricks yesterday, clearly mentally switching off and allowing acres of space down the right flank.
Both he and Antony were making little or no effort to track back in the second half and were both ineffective going forward as well.
If those two were the main targets of the boss’s fury, they could be dropped for Sunday’s home game against Aston Villa.
With a defensive injury crisis, there are few alternatives to Wan-Bissaka. Harry Maguire’s injury status is unclear, but he, too, has been error prone. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are both out, so Luke Shaw has been partnering Victor Lindelof at centre back to good effect.
Shaw’s natural replacement at left back, Tyrell Malacia, has also made some mistakes and again last night allowed Harry Kane to break free to tee up Son for Spurs’ equaliser.
The only other available experienced defender is Brandon Williams, but this seems like a stretch as he hasn’t played a competitive game all season.
It could therefore be a case of deciding which is the lesser of two evils – Wan-Bissaka or Malacia – and we think the Dutchman could just nick it, with Dalot returning to right back.
In midfield, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen were not at their best yesterday but are still expected to start.
Jadon Sancho was the first to be substituted yesterday despite opening the scoring with an excellent goal. However, again referring to Ten hag’s post-match comments, it could be Antony that is rotated out on Sunday as he put in a lazy performance.
Anthony Martial was also ineffective as a second half substitute and Fred was poor when he came on.
If Scott McTominay remains injured, Marcel Sabitzer could therefore be given another chance to shine. He could play in the number 10 position, with Bruno Fernandes pushing out to the right wing.
Marcus Rashford impressed at centre forward and so is likely to keep that role.
With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for Sunday’s game:
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