Formation change, Pogba recalled? Predicted Manchester United side to play Cardiff

Manchester United’s trip had the potential to be one of the most turgid matches of the Premier League season when Jose Mourinho was still in the Old Trafford hotseat, as well as a real potential banana skin for the visitors.
Now, it’s a match shrouded in intrigue as Reds fans wait to see which immediate changes caretaker manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer can make.
The first indicator will come from his starting eleven, and with all the players fighting to prove themselves now the spectre of Mourinho has been removed, there could be some surprises…

Goalkeeper and Back Four

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)


Mourinho went with a back five against Liverpool, but it would be a surprise if Solskjaer did not revert back to a four-man backline.
Luke Shaw is fit to return at left-back, and Diogo Dalot has impressed enough of late to keep his place on the right of defence.
Victor Lindelof made his return from injury at Anfield, and as United’s best defender this season, he should keep his place.
Chris Smalling limped out of the warm-up last weekend, so Eric Bailly should get the nod alongside Lindelof.

Midfield three

(Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)


Solskjaer could well revert back to the 4-4-2 often used in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, but a switch to 4-3-3 looks more likely.
The Norwegian may look for energy and Nemanja Matic’s form has not been good enough for quite some time now; Fred and Ander Herrera will both hope to start.
Paul Pogba will also fancy his chances of being reinstated; his relationship with the new caretaker goes back to their time together in the Old Trafford reserve ranks, and Solskjaer
is a huge fan.

Attack

(Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)


Juan Mata may hope for a start if Solskjaer is looking for a more attacking outlook, but his comments regarding building around Pogba indicate a 4-3-3 that allows the Frenchman to roam may be his preferred choice.
If Solskjaer wants pace, then a frontline of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – who returned from injury at Anfield – would be the way to go.

 

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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.