We are beginning to understand how this works. Each and every week we anticipate a little rotation from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And then Solskjaer goes and names exactly the same starting Manchester United side as from the previous game. Last night made it four consecutive Premier League games with the same XI.
So this should be straightforward for Monday night’s fixture with Southampton, right?
Assuming we are in for more of the same, and hopefully another three points, this then is how United will line up…
No complaints, but changes are due…
If this is United’s starting line up, there will not be any complaints from supporters. On home turf against Southampton, we should be confident of victory.
While the saying goes ‘one game at a time’, United do have very little recovery time before the next fixture, away at Crystal Palace on Thursday night. Palace have an extra day’s rest, as they face Aston Villa on Sunday.
So if there is going to be rotation, there may be one or two players rested against the Saints, with an eye on the Palace game.
Solskjaer even told the club website that he is wary of the challenge Ralph Hassnhuttl’s team will pose, commenting: “That’s going to be a hard game against a Southampton team that probably runs the most in the Premier League. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see, it’s my team being outworked.”
So this enhances the need for potential fresh legs in a game which United must win.
We have picked out three possible changes for the fixture…
Defence: Victor Lindelof came into the Vila game having shaken off a back injury sustained against Bournemouth.
Was the plan always for him to then play three consecutive games in eight days? That may not be wise, and this fixture against Southampton is one opportunity to bring in Eric Bailly. If not, the Ivorian may get his chance against Palace.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic is a candidate to drop out here. United could look for the energy of Scott McTominay or Fred in his place.
Solskjaer needs to look at the bigger picture with Matic, 31, and keep him fit and sharp for the semi-final against Chelsea. So he should get a rest in one of these upcoming games.
Attack: Marcus Rashford is due a rest at some stage. Upon his comeback from injury he has started five straight Premier League games, and his form is not particularly great.
It would be an unpopular decision to rest Rashford and bring in Dan James here, but it may be a necessary one.
James will have the work rate United need against Southampton, and Rashford could give United a lift from the bench in the second half if we need him.
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