Manchester United fans are hoping to see two Portuguese players’ names on the team sheet come 2pm on Saturday, but could there be an unexpected third?
Diogo Dalot came off the bench to make his first Premier League appearance since February 2020 in the final stages of the 1-0 win at Molineux.
The 22-year-old will be hoping that his first start of the season isn’t too far behind.
In a month where United’s involvement in the Champions League and Carabao Cup commences and games are no longer once a week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to carefully manage his squad.
Diogo Dalot start against Newcastle?
United’s home game against Newcastle will be the polar opposite to the clash against Leeds United, there is no way Steve Bruce is going to set up his team to come after United and allow us to hit the Magpies on the counter attack.
Bruce will probably set his side out to frustrate and contain United’s star-studded attack, so United are going to have a lot of possession.
There is no denying that Aaron Wan-Bissaka is currently a better defender than Dalot, United’s number 29 loves sliding into tackles and winning his one-v-one battles.
Dalot on the other hand loves throwing a stepover, marauding forward and creating chances for his teammates in the final third.
Wan-Bissaka is improving his attacking output, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to him. But with Cristiano Ronaldo expecting to receive a flurry of chances, Wan-Bissaka’s improvement is going to be tested even further.
Dalot to get the nod?
Things could have ended up very differently this summer for Dalot, if Manchester United had signed Kieran Trippier, it would have been likely that the Portuguese international would have left the club.
It’s the matches against Newcastle that Trippier’s crossing ability into the likes of Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani would have been identified as another way to break teams down.
But Dalot scored in the pre-season win over Everton and seemed to clinch his role in the squad. Journalist Fabrizio Romano reported afterwards that Dalot was considered ‘non-transferable’ and he would stay put.
Dalot is more than capable of linking up with Mason Greenwood or Jadon Sancho down United’s right-hand side and whipping in tantalising crosses and cutbacks for United’s forwards.
Solskjaer mindful of Saint-Maximin
With question marks surrounding Callum Wilson’s availability for Newcastle, the bulk of Bruce’s side threat will come from Allan Saint-Maximin.
In last season’s clash between the sides at Old Trafford, Saint-Maximin scored the equaliser before United ran out 3-1 winners.
Saint-Maximin’s pace and trickery may worry Solskjaer and with Luke Shaw pushing up high on the left, the Norwegian could opt to play Wan-Bissaka to give Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane that extra cover to combat the threat of Saint-Maximin when needed.
There will be other opportunities for Dalot to play later in the month, notably the Carabao Cup clash against West Ham, but there is a case for Diogo Dalot to start against Newcastle.
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