Manchester United take on Luton Town on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup.
This could turn out to be exactly what the Red Devils need, or an opponent United will wish we had not faced.
Luton have played four games already this season in league and cup, winning all of them.
United on the other hand are still trying to get up to speed, having played just one pre-season game, before a defeat at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend.
This game can act as a pre-season match, and it is an opportunity for players to build up fitness and stake a claim for involvement in the Premier League next weekend.
United cannot afford a defeat either. Nobody wants a repeat of the MK Dons debacle in 2014.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side reached the semi-finals of this competition last season. An early exit should be avoided at all costs.
United need to give players game time who need it, and there are plenty of them.
Nemanja Matic and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were both badly missed against Palace and we expect both of them to start this game.
Eric Bailly is likely to start at centre-back, and there is a bit of debate as to who should start alongside him.
Solskjaer may decide Harry Maguire’s experience is necessary, but this is also a great time to give Teden Mengi an opportunity with Axel Tuanzebe still on the sidelines.
That is why we expect Mengi will be one of three United players making their first ever competitive starts for the club.
He will be joined by new signing Donny van de Beek, who came off the bench to score on his debut at the weekend.
In goal, Dean Henderson will get his opportunity to stake his claim to be a regular starter. He will be determined that it goes well.
Lack of attacking options
United do not have many attacking options once you take out Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
You are left with a front three of Odion Ighalo, Dan James and Juan Mata.
This emphasises United’s need for extra additions, although the club have not embraced this.
Donny van de Beek could get a chance in an attacking midfield role, with Fred and Nemanja Matic behind him.
United may not make this game easy, but this side should still be enough to win even against a well drilled Luton team.
- Willy Kambwala makes impressive academy debut
- United will be impacted by Everton’s double suspension
- Manchester United loanee Levitt substituted off at half-time in Charlton win
- Manchester United now have an unpredictable approach which Solskjaer must master
- Manchester United tested switching Elanga’s position with encouraging results
- Bruno Fernandes at top of Premier League creative rankings
- Three players Manchester United should leave out of XI v RB Leipzig
- Brandon Williams looks like he may have switched to right-back
- Maguire and Lindelof share the same view on United’s draw with Chelsea