The Champions League is back. Manchester United are preparing to take on PSG tonight in the team’s opening group stage game.
There were five players who did not travel for the game. These include strikers Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood. Jesse Lingard is also missing.
Defensively United are in bigger trouble, with both Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly unavailable through injury.
Teden Mengi did not travel either, while Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are both ineligible.
This leaves United with a limited options at the back, with Victor Lindelof the only centre-back with a start this season.
Here is a look at two ways the team could line up, with 3-4-1-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations…
United can turn a defensive weakness into an advantage by going for strength in numbers.
Luke Shaw has played in a back three for United before in big games, with some success, and there should be no hesitation in bringing him in.
In this formation Shaw can better cover for Alex Telles when he is surging up field.
Returning against PSG is a big ask for Axel Tuanzebe. But it should be a lot easier as part of a trio, than as a pairing, especially if he is on the right with Aaron Wan-Bissaka helping him out.
In midfield there could be more heartbreak for Donny van de Beek. Nemanja Matic’s defensive approach could be required to shield the defence.
Van de Beek’s best hope of a start is displacing Pogba. Up front a pairing of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford should pose PSG some real questions.
United stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation at the weekend and Solskjaer has been reluctant to go with three at the back since the FA Cup semi-final.
This makes it a little tougher over who gets the nod alongside Lindelof at centre-back.
Solskjaer may prefer Luke Shaw’s recent match sharpness to throwing Tuanzebe in, if between the two. Scott McTominay is an emergency option, having played there in three matches for Scotland over the international break.
In midfield the dilemma remains the same, while Anthony Martial will play up front and Marcus Rashford on the left.
Juan Mata would retain his place on the right in Mason Greenwood’s absence. He played well at the weekend and deserves an opportunity.
Champions League group stage fixtures
- PSG (A)
United win 2-1: Fernandes, Rashford
- RB Leipzig (H)
United win 5-0: Greenwood, Rashford (3), Martial
- Istanbul Basaksehir (A)
United lose 2-1: Martial
- Istanbul Basaksehir (H)
United win 4-1: Fernandes (2), Rashford, James
- PSG (H)
United lose 3-1: Rashford
- RB Leipzig (A)
United lose 3-2: Fernandes, Pogba
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