Solskjaer reportedly considering United formation change amid defensive injuries

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could well be without Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane at Leicester today.

Varane is definitely ruled out and Manchester United captain Maguire has only had one training session ahead of the game.

The obvious decision would be to pick Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof at the heart of a four-man defence, before deciding between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 ahead of them.

But the Athletic report that Solskjaer is considering a switch to a 3-5-2 formation.

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They claim that Luke Shaw or midfielder Nemanja Matic could come into a back three.

If Shaw moves inside, Alex Telles would likely come into the team at left wing-back.

Diogo Dalot is perhaps a more natural wing-back than Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but it is likely the former Crystal Palace man would remain in the side.

The last time United played three at the back, it went terribly and ended in Champions League elimination at the hands of RB Leipzig.

Tom Purslow/Tom Purslow

It would also show a real lack of faith in Bailly and Lindelof, who are both international central defenders in their own right.

They have not actually played together all that often, but were bought by Jose Mourinho to be first choice.

Solskjaer has a decision to make; does he put his faith in his backups and hope they repay him?

Or does he really need to reformat his whole side, playing Bruno Fernandes in the hole behind two strikers?

Swapping to three at the back would be a huge call and there would be scrutiny if it backfires.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.