Manchester United’s last-gasp defeat against Young Boys felt like a sucker punch and no one would have felt it more than the man culpable for the error, Jesse Lingard.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his teammates have rallied around the club’s number 14 following the fallout of Tuesday’s defeat.
Lingard will be desperate to redeem himself and tomorrow’s clash against the club he spent the second part of last season on loan at could present the perfect opportunity and surroundings for him to flourish.
First United start for Jesse Lingard?
Playing against West Ham and his good friend Declan Rice, Lingard will be yearning to get on that pitch and prove the difference between the two sides.
Lingard’s loan playing under David Moyes revitalised him and it was the perfect move for all parties.
But he hasn’t come back to United to play a bit part, he wants to force his way into Solskjaer’s first eleven.
Having inside information on ways to hurt the Hammers could mean that Solskjaer is considering starting the 28-year-old.
Where could he play and who could he replace?
With Mason Greenwood being an un-used substitute against the Swiss champions, it’s inevitable that the youngster will earn a recall on United’s right alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.
That leaves the only opening in Solskjaer’s forward line on the left-hand side.
Alongside Lingard, candidates for this role include Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho.
Pogba has started the last two Premier League matches centrally and could start at the London Stadium alongside Nemanja Matic.
However, Solskjaer could opt to deploy Pogba from the left like he did in Switzerland and play Matic and Fred in midfield.
But with West Ham possessing a physical midfield, the Norwegian could prefer the Matic and Pogba partnership to combat the physical attributes Rice and Tomas Soucek pose.
Sancho or Lingard?
Sancho’s United career has yet to hit lift off, but it is only a matter of time before it all clicks into place for the talented winger.
But in a match where winning the midfield battle is going to be pivotal to the outcome of the match, Lingard could well be deployed from an inside left position, similar to what Pogba took up in the first two games of the season.
This would allow Lingard to join in the midfield, drift from the touchline and outnumber West Ham centrally.
Luke Shaw will still be bombing down the flank so United’s threat in the wide areas would not be lost.
Lingard will no the threat Vladimir Coufal and Jarrod Bowen pose from West Ham’s right, so his willingness to track back and work hard for the team could be advantageous.
But he’s also a great ball carrier when finding space and if the marauding Coufal does get caught high up the pitch, Lingard could turn defence into attack very quickly and punish West Ham.
Solskjaer has a difficult decision to make but after his midweek error and the timing of playing his old club, Jesse Lingard may well have an immediate chance to make up for his Champions League error.
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