Manchester United face Chelsea on Sunday at Old Trafford in the standout fixture of the opening weekend.
It’s crucial Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side get off to a fast start in the league, with negativity already rife amongst the fanbase following the lack of a summer overhaul that was promised.
However, there is room for optimism amongst fans as new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire will both change the dynamic of how United play this season.
Possible line-up v Chelsea (4-2-3-1) :
David De Gea
The Spaniard looks set to commit his long-term future to the club, ending speculation of a move away from Old Trafford. He didn’t have his best season last time out but can be forgiven for consistently saving this United side; we expect a big season from De Gea this year.
Shaw was named United’s player of the season last time out, but in reality it was a prize for best of a bad bunch. The 24-year-old is Solskjaer’s trusted first-choice left-back and will hopefully kick on this season with the help of new arrivals alongside him in defence.
Lindelof was many United fans player of the season last year. The ‘Iceman’ is growing into an established centre-back at Old Trafford and now looks confident with and without possession.
The man Lindelof needed as a partner in defence. Solskjaer confirmed the Englishman is ready to make his debut on Sunday and we will get to see what will hopefully be the beginning of a solid defensive partnership blossoming with the Swede. A commanding presence that will also add a different dimension to United’s attack through his willingness to play out from the back.
What a pre-season the England u21 international has had. Wan-Bissaka has made a huge impression since joining from Crystal Palace and adds pace to United’s attack, but also has an excellent natural tackling ability to prevent danger.
No midfield additions in the summer was criminal for United, but McTominay has proven he is ready to step up and establish himself as a first-team regular this season.
The Frenchman has been the centre of one of the transfer sagas of the summer, but it’s clear he is still a huge part of Solskjaer’s plans. United look lifeless in midfield without Pogba and his fitness and form are essential to the Reds’ top four hopes. Pogba should join the attacks and look to create while McTominay holds in midfield.
Lingard was poor last campaign and must improve this time out. However, he still plays an important part of Solskjaer’s pressing system and is likely to start behind the attacking trio. Lingard’s decision making must vastly improve this season.
Rashford has been in scintillating form in pre-season since committing his long-term future to the club. The England international may interchange from the left-wing and a central position with Martial in Solskjaer’s fluid system on Sunday. It’s a big season for Rashford and he must improve on his 10 Premier League goals last time out.
It still feels like we haven’t seen the best of Anthony Martial in a Manchester United shirt. We saw a glimpse against AC Milan on Saturday of the Frenchman starting in his desired striker role and Solskjaer could deploy him there again to get in behind Chelsea’s defence. Martial is a natural finisher and must deliver in front of goal this season with the Reds not replacing goalscorer Romelu Lukaku.
It seems a toss up between new signing Daniel James and Mason Greenwood to fill the right-wing role. The Reds do not have a specialist in the area, but in a fluid system, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. James has shown glimpses of his raw pace in pre-season, which would be useful from the bench against a tiring Chelsea defence. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Greenwood is one of the most exciting players to come out of the academy in recent years. Solskjaer has already confirmed the youngster has an important role to play this season so expect a substitute appearance if he doesn’t start.