Erik ten Hag’s wounded Manchester United warriors continue their travels on Sunday with another hostile reception awaiting them at West Ham’s London Stadium.
United’s away record has been shocking this season but with Liverpool breathing down their necks for the fourth Champions League spot, they simply cannot afford to take anything less than three points from this game.
The toothless performance against Brighton last night will surely incite Ten Hag to make some changes to the side.
The boss introduced Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred and Anthony Martial for the game and all three were disappointing.
Antony was another star to underwhelm and he was lucky not to be sent off after lashing out at Alexis Mac Allister. We predict that all four will be replaced for Sunday’s game.
Ten Hag said before the game that Raphael Varane is two matches away from a return so defensively, the only other options with senior experience available are Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Brandon Williams.
Malacia is probably the safest bet. He has played well in his last two outings aside from a couple of immature errors, such as conceding a late free kick in a dangerous area against Aston Villa, which luckily went unpunished.
Diogo Dalot would in this case return to right back in place of Wan-Bissaka.
Christian Eriksen was sorely missed against the Seagulls, whose excellent midfield ran rings around that of United. We assume the Dane was benched simply to be rested, and as such he should replace Fred on Sunday. Casemiro is a nailed-on starter although he, too, was lucky not to be sent off again yesterday and seems to be unable to stop himself from making ill-judged sliding tackles in the middle of the park.
There is little alternative anyway to the Brazilian as Scott McTominay is not expected to be back from his mystery injury. So Casemiro will definitely continue and needs to be told in no uncertain terms to stay on his feet.
If Martial is to be benched, the two most logical candidates to replace him are Marcus Rashford and Wout Weghorst.
Ten Hag already swapped Martial and Rashford positionally for much of the second half last night before bringing Weghorst on near to the end, so that suggests that the England man will be given responsibility to lead the line.
Jadon Sancho is likely to replace Rashford on the left wing. Alejandro Garnacho could be available too but is highly unlikely to be thrown into the starting line-up on his return from injury.
If Antony is again dropped, Marcel Sabitzer could come in at number 10, with Bruno Fernandes moving out to the right wing.
This would result in the same starting XI that beat Villa last Sunday, which is as follows:
Kick off at the London Stadium on Sunday is at 7pm.
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