Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be having sleepless nights ahead of the midweek Atalanta game.
United were awful at the weekend in a 4-2 loss to Leicester, throwing away two well taken goals with horrific defending.
After the game Solskjaer suggested he would be open to changing his team around, reflecting: “We might have to change. Do we need more legs in there? What do we need?”
When in doubt previously, Solskjaer has moved away from his preferred 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation to a 3-5-2.
It’s been a while, but United have enjoyed some success with this formation, notably away at Paris Saint-Germain last season.
Considering United’s defensive concerns and Atalanta’s dangerous front line of Josip Ilicic, Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel, having extra players ind defence could help prevent United being exposed.
So how could United line-up in a 3-5-2? Here is a look at one possibility…
Defence: Harry Maguire will need to improve after the weekend’s dire performance. Playing as part of a three will help him do that.
Rather than call up Eric Bailly, it will likely be Luke Shaw playing as part of the trio, as he did in Paris and previously in United’s 3-5-2 run in early 2020.
This allows Alex Telles to get forward at left wing-back and provide an attacking outlet.
There will be a big responsibility on the right for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and while there is a temptation to bring in Diogo Dalot, the Portuguese defender is a weak link defensively and the safer options is to play Wan-Bissaka.
Midfield: This is a tough one to fill, as in this case we have left out Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard.
This is because we consider it most likely United turn to Fred and Scott McTominay, after being accused of lacking bite in midfield against Leicester. Both players were rested for the fixture, enhancing their chance of playing this one.
Pogba would be an impact substitute, similar to at PSG. If he were to play at Fred’s expense, then United may have to sacrifice Fernandes for Jesse Lingard, due to his superior work rate.
Attack: Up front United would have to choose two attackers, and Cristiano Ronaldo is an automatic pick for a Champions League game.
Then it is a choice between Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Rashford’s experience could see him get the nod for this one, and he will be expected to link the midfield and attack, ensuring Ronaldo is not too isolated.
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