After a historic afternoon at Old Trafford saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to Manchester United, the Reds take on Young Boys to kick off their Champions League campaign.
As is the case of anyone in charge at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a wealth of talent to choose from when fielding his starting 11 to do the business in Bern. With the turnaround from the Newcastle victory being so quick, Solskjaer will really have to earn his money with his team selection.
Here is our predicted lineup For United’s trip to Switzerland. (Formation 4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper and Defence
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
The goalkeeper’s position speaks for itself from the first time in a year. De Gea has been in superb form, his performances have displayed shades of his peak which suggests the confidence is well and truly back. Dean Henderson has been away from the side due to COVID and has only recently returned in an u23s fixture vs Arsenal. It is highly doubtful he’ll play any kind of role.
Right Back: Diogo Dalot
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been an immovable object since his arrival in 2019. That’s largely been down to Solskjaer’s reluctance to rotate. However, after a decent season on loan Dalot has proved he can be trusted. The Portuguese right-back was linked with a departure from Old Trafford in the summer but a move failed to materialise with United unable to acquire Kieran Trippier. The belief is that Dalot will be Wan-Bissaka’s competition, so where better for him to come back into the side than the place he made his United debut in 2018.Embed from Getty Images
Centre Back: Victor Lindelof
The centre half decision will be a bit of a head-scratcher for Solskjaer. The arrival of Raphael Varane has meant Sweden’s newly named captain has been demoted to the bench as he watches the Frenchman and Harry Maguire strike up a partnership. Solskjaer has always shown loyalty to Lindelof, whose ability on the ball makes him a useful member of the squad. His excellent passing earned him an assist on the opening day, the last time he appeared for United. Lindelof will likely be involved.
Centre back: Harry Maguire
One can’t imagine Solskjaer completely rotating his defence with the idea of starting strong in the group something the Norwegian will champion. So any chance of dropping his captain is far fetched.
Left Back: Luke Shaw
With Alex Telles still sidelined, there isn’t a serious candidate to challenge Luke Shaw’s dominance of the left-back position. His form alone dictates that he should be starting anyway.
Holding midfield: Nemanja Matic
As the only competent holding midfielder on the books at the moment, Matic should be given the nod. The Serb’s performance vs Newcastle on the weekend was a divisive one, however, his authority in midfield cannot be questioned.Embed from Getty Images
Central midfield: Donny van de Beek
Van de Beek got his first taste of Old Trafford with a five-minute cameo vs Newcastle. All it took for him to muster that was a whole 40-minute interview with Rio Ferdinand…
There seems to be some sort of understanding that Donny has that after United blocked his late move to Everton on the final day of the window, Van de Beek will play a bigger role at United than he did last season. Most of his starts for United did come in Europe last season so perhaps Ole trusts him more in European competitions anyway.
Attacking midfield: Bruno Fernandes
Similar to both Maguire and Shaw, there’s no need to drop or rotate Fernandes at this stage of the season so he’d be expected to start in his typical advanced midfield position.
Left-Wing: Paul Pogba
With Van de Beek coming into the side, Pogba might find himself to be a casualty of that change from the Newcastle game. But his form dictates he should start. On the left side, he’s shown his more than capable of affecting proceedings so he should be given the nod.
Right Wing: Jadon Sancho
When Sancho was signed there was a strong belief that United had now solved their deficiencies on the right. However, Marcus Rashford’s injury has meant he’s been deployed on the left, where he’s played for Borussia Dortmund. Sancho strikes me as a player who needs to be played into form and a goal or assist will do him the world of good.Embed from Getty Images
Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo
After a brace on the weekend, Edinson Cavani’s knock and it being Ronaldo’s favourite competition, there is no doubt in my mind Ronaldo will start up front for United.
Mason Greenwood has more than a claim to start, with him arguably being United’s outstanding performer this season. Jesse Lingard is said to be an important part of United’s squad this season according to Solskjaer so don’t rule out his involvement from the start. Anthony Martial is slowly finding confidence having scored on international duty and playing a part in Lingard’s goal on the weekend, he will certainly be chomping at the bit to be involved.