There should finally be some light at the end of the injury tunnel for Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag tomorrow as he seeks to end a run of three defeats on the bounce.
An away Premier League tie to Burnley awaits the Red Devils and given Vincent Kompany’s team’s poor start to the season, anything less than three points will be considered failure on United’s part.
Ten Hag has been dealing with a list of 11 absentees – nine injuries and two players – Antony and Jadon Sancho – unavailable due to off-pitch reasons.
However, there is a chance that four of the walking wounded will be able to return for Saturday’s game, with one – Tom Heaton – already back in the mix.
Raphael Varane, Mason Mount and Kobbie Mainoo – the latter yet to kick a ball this season – are all back in training. Sofyan Amrabat, who also has not played all season, is training too, but is believed to be a little further behind the others.
It would not be a surprise to see the first two put straight into the starting XI against Burnley.
Having conceded 10 goals in 3 games, Varane’s presence to steady the back line will surely be considered a priority.
He is expected to line up alongside Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez and Sergio Reguilon in front of Andre Onana in goal.
Victor Lindelof will likely drop down to the bench.
Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia are all still injured.
In midfield, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen were both poor against Bayern despite the former scoring two goals.
That should be enough for him to keep his place, but we wouldn’t rule out a surprise; if he can get fit enough in time, Amrabat could be drafted in to replace Eriksen, especially as the other alternative, Scott McTominay, has also underperformed.
Mount is certainly likely to find a way straight back into the team. If the Moroccan doesn’t make it, he could be the one replacing Eriksen. But if Amrabat is able to play, Ten Hag could try the diamond midfield that didn’t work well against Brighton.
This could mean Casemiro holding, Amrabat left central midfield and Mount right (or vice versa) with Bruno Fernandes at number 10.
Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund would be the front two in this scenario.
Gambling that Amrabat will be fit, here is our predicted starting XI for tomorrow’s 8pm kick-off: