Predicted Manchester United XI to face Partizan Belgrade
Rotation is the name of the game as Manchester United prepare a team to face Partizan Belgrade.
United need a good result away at the team who sit level on points at the top of Europa League Group L, but also have an away fixture at Norwich on Sunday to plan for.
This means careful selection is required from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although some players will be needed to start three matches in eight days regardless.
Injuries and rest
United have injuries to adjust to, with Diogo Dalot and Nemanja Matic out, while Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba remain sidelined.
Axel Tuanzebe also picked up an injury in the warm-up against Liverpool, and Dan James is a player in desperate need of a rest after relentless use by United and Wales.
David de Gea will also likely be rested after his injury, allowing Sergio Romero another opportunity.
At right-back, it’s probable Aaron Wan-Bissaka makes his first European start, although it is possible youngster Ethan Laird gets the nod after his call up to the first team following a successful under-23 return following an injury.
The squad is boosted by the availability of young players, with Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams likely starters. Ashley Young should return to the bench.
United played with three central defenders against Liverpool and enjoyed some success.
In order to improve, United need to stick with this, and a 3-4-1-2 formation is an intriguing way to go.
This would allow an exciting partnership of Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial to start up front, with James able to come off the bench late on if required.
In midfield there is an option to bring in youngster James Garner. United are low on options, and Fred and Andreas Pereira may need to be rested for Sunday after their exertions against Liverpool.
An academy created partnership of Garner and McTominay may be an ideal balance.
Addressing Jones and Mata returns
Two unpopular players who may be likely to start are Phil Jones and Juan Mata.
If United are going to play three at the back, while rotating and bearing in mind Tuanzebe’s injury, Jones will be needed.
He was on the bench against Liverpool after recovering from injury.
Many would prefer to see Angel Gomes selected over Juan Mata after the Spaniard’s recent poor displays. That’s fair, but he didn’t make the travelling squad on this occasion.
We expect Mata will play, to balance out an otherwise youthful United midfield and attack. He needs to deliver.
Jesse Lingard is back with the squad after injury and is another alternative to play the same role.
This is a young team, but also an exciting and well balanced one. United should be strong at the back, while possessing the firepower to score at the other end.
United need to be ambitious and that means moving away from the 4-2-3-1 formation which has produced poor results this season.
This line up would allow David de Gea, Harry Maguire, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Dan James and Marcus Rashford the chance to rest for the weekend, and hopefully finally get back to winning ways in the Premier League.
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