Manchester United desperately need a win this weekend against an out of form Newcastle United.
Jose Mourinho will have to do it without midfield duo Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera.
The United boss told the club website that both players will miss Saturday evening’s fixture.
Neither player have made effective contributions this season so far, but both are big talents and have shown their ability to change games.
Herrera and Lingard’s absences increase the pressure on Paul Pogba to step up
Pogba is locked in as a starter at this point and the questions are who will feature alongside him.
United need to attack, and the static midfield combination of Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini did not work in midweek against Valencia.
Perhaps there will be better success against inferior opponents Newcastle, but Rafa Benitez is a defensive coach who will stack men behind the ball.
One of Matic and Fellaini could start alongside Paul Pogba, but it shouldn’t be both.
It seems set up for £53 million signing Fred to be recalled to the side, having been a substitute in midweek.
He scored in his last league home game against Wolves and he should be given the chance to build on that.
Scott McTominay is another option to come in, and it would certainly be preferable to see him in midfield than in defence.
The one player we would love to see in the middle is Andreas Pereira. Yet he is out of favour at present and hasn’t started a game since August.
If he fails to make the bench this week, it’s really time for the Brazilian to worry.