The Champions League is back. Manchester United will travel to Switzerland for the opening fixture to face Young Boys.
United head into the game on the back of an impressive 4-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big squad to select from and with just three days between matches, there are likely going to be changes.
Istanbul Basaksehir away last season serves as a reminder not to make too many, and we are predicting there will be two new faces brought into the team for Tuesday night.
Same back five for United?
David de Gea will retain his place in goal. Dean Henderson is not ready to be rotated in as he rebuilds fitness, and it would be an unnecessary gamble to take. The best Henderson can hope for is the League Cup game at West Ham next week.
While Victor Lindelof may hope for a game, this is a chance for ‘Champions League Varane’ to shine and Solskjaer would be making it easier for Young Boys by leaving the Frenchman out.
Diogo Dalot starred away at Young Boys on his debut in 2018. He may be the most likely change to the backline, but it is hard to see Solskjaer leaving Wan-Bissaka out unless he has to. Expect the same back five to start as at the weekend.
Fred to return
Fred was eligible at the weekend after all, but he was left on the bench as an unused substitute. This looming fixture was likely the key reason why.
Scott McTominay did not make the bench against Newcastle so a start for him is probably out of the question. Starting Donny van de Beek in a game like this will be viewed as too risky, if he was not trusted at home to Newcastle.
Paul Pogba could be selected alongside Fred, but we predict he will play a more forward role.
Instead it will be Nemanja Matic in midfield after a strong performance at the weekend. He and Fred will have to perform a lot better than against Southampton.
Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line and United simply have a choice of who to surround him with. Edinson Cavani is not yet fit to start.
Jadon Sancho is likely to retain his place and switch to the right. Mason Greenwood has to get a rest sometime after a busy start to the season and this game could be the moment.
Paul Pogba would feature on the left, with Bruno Fernandes dropping out for Jesse Lingard, who has earned an opportunity.
Both Greenwood and Fernandes would come back into the side for the game with West Ham at the weekend. United have a big squad, and Solskjaer has to start trusting his alternatives.
Summary: Fernandes and Greenwood out, Fred and Lingard in.
Manchester United’s Champions League group stages fixtures 2021
- Young Boys (A)
Tuesday September 14, 5.45pm
- Villarreal (H)
Wednesday September 29, 8pm
- Atalanta (H)
Wednesday October 20, 8pm
- Atalanta (A)
Tuesday November 2, 8pm
- Villarreal (A)
Tuesday November 23, 5.45pm
- Young Boys (H)
Wednesday December 8, 8pm
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