How can Solskjaer replace Matic against Wolves?

Nemanja Matic put Manchester United within a goal of stunning Manchester City in midweek before being sent off for a second yellow card.

His suspension for the weekend game against Wolves puts further strain on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s already stretched midfield resources.

So how does the Norwegian go about replacing Matic given his lack of alternatives?

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Pereira the obvious choice

Andreas Pereira has played in a deeper midfield role for United at times this season, but pairing him with Fred has resulted in some poor team displays.

The Brazilians were paired together when Sheffield United overwhelmed United in November – with United’s improvement sparked when Pereira went off.

They also played together when City ripped United apart in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final too.

Solskjaer may well go with the obvious but given the worrying precedent, he could get creative.

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Reprieve for Garner?

James Garner has struggled for opportunities this season and faced an uncertain future heading into deadline day.

Matic’s red card may hand him a reprieve and Solskjaer confirmed today via the club website he is not going anywhere.

The youngster has impressed on the rare occasions he has played this season, although facing Wolves would be a major step up in the calibre of opposition.

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Getting creative?

If Solskjaer does want to try and get creative, there aren’t a great deal of appealing options.

He could risk fielding playmakers Jesse Lingard or Juan Mata in a deeper role, but neither men have great experience there.

Phil Jones anchored midfield at times under Sir Alex Ferguson, but that tended to be in an anchorman role when an opposition playmaker needed man-marking, and Victor Lindelof could also slot in there.

Bruno Fernandes may well be in the squad, but tends to operate higher up the pitch. Asking him to move into a more unfamiliar role so early in his United career may not be wise.

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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.