The Manchester United XI which deserves to play vs Watford

It is not going to be easy to predict Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s next Manchester United starting lineup.

Solskjaer opted again for a 5-3-2 formation against Manchester City and United were utterly dominated.

He could make any number of changes and it would not necessarily a surprise.

Well in advance of the game, we have had a look at the eleven he should consider selecting against Claudio Ranieri’s side.

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In this XI, we have switched back to 4-3-3. United’s wing-back system was too easily pinned back against City and Solskjaer needs a dominant, attacking display against Watford.

There are also five changes in personnel. Out go Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Fred and Mason Greenwood.

In come Diogo Dalot, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

There could have been a sixth change, with Jesse Lingard coming in for Bruno Fernandes. The Englishman is overdue a league start, but Bruno just about has enough credit in the bank.

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Picking a central defensive duo is difficult. Harry Maguire’s performances have been so poor that he could not complain if he was dropped.

But Victor Lindelof really struggled in Sweden’s 2-0 defeat to Georgia and Maguire’s status as captain just gets him the nod.

Getting Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo in the same XI is also an option but it is hard to see how it can be done while also playing a back four.

It would be a surprise if Solskjaer swung the axe so extensively – for example, van de Beek is unlikely to start – but he should consider it.

He has been loyal to his favourites but recent performances have been so bad that another shake-up is needed, and senior players like Maguire and Fernandes are lucky to cling onto their places in this team.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.