OK. So this is not going to be an easy task this week, to predict Manchester United’s starting line-up.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could change the whole team and it wouldn’t be altogether surprising.

Neither would it be a shock if he went for the farcical approach of selecting the same XI, such was the foolhardiness which saw him select the same team against Liverpool which lined up against Atalanta.

After nearly losing his job earlier in the week, Solskjaer has to ring the changes.

Manchester United Training Session
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Tactical dilemmas

The first choice Solskjaer has to make is over how he wants his side to play.

In recent games United’s cavalier approach has been so attacking that it has effectively been a 4-2-4 formation. This is the main reason an overloaded defence has been easily picked off.

Over the last fortnight we have looked at how United may line up with shifts to a 3-5-2 formation or a 4-4-2 diamond.

But over his near three years on the job at United, Solskjaer has rarely veered away from his 4-2-3-1 approach.

It is most likely he sticks with his favoured formation, simply selecting players who make for a more balanced fit and play with greater discipline than in the last two league games.

Who is in and who is out?

There could be several players dropped, but Solskjaer won’t quite rip up his entire team.

He is fighting for his job after all, so he is not going to select his ‘second choice XI’ and lose the faith of players he has previously relied upon.

Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof, and Mason Greenwood should be the players who make way.

Shaw and McTominay have been especially poor in recent games, while Greenwood and Fernandes are big parts of the reason the attack – and entire team, has been imbalanced.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

What about Harry Maguire? It is absolutely fair that Maguire probably does not deserve to retain his place. But Solskjaer will want his captain on the pitch, especially if Fernandes is left out.

Raphael Varane is set to return from injury and he is likely to go straight back into the side, alongside Maguire.

Back in: Alex Telles is the obvious replacement for Shaw and he deserves a recall. Likewise Dalot should come in for another chance for Wan-Bissaka, to send a message to the right-back to improve.

Nemanja Matic will likely replace McTominay to shore up the midfield, with Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho coming into the attack.

Ronaldo will likely retain his place as will Marcus Rashford, with Edinson Cavani expected to miss out unless Solskjaer shifts formation to play two up front.

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