Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs a victory over Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tomorrow evening to relieve some of the growing pressure on his job.
United have won just four league games out of 14 this season, failing to beat newly promoted sides Aston Villa and Sheffield United in each of their previous two fixtures.
With Mauricio Pochettino seemingly waiting in the wings, this is a crucial week for Solskjaer with games against Spurs against Manchester City.
A key area which will determine the result against Mourinho’s men is whether United can nullify the threat of potent attacking quartet Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Heung Min Son and Harry Kane.
Conceding five goals in two games against Villa and Sheffield United was not good enough, and it will be interesting to see the tweaks Solskjaer makes to his backline.
The first decision Solskjaer has to make is whether he opts for a five-at-the-back formation in an attempt to negate Tottenham’s attack. This tactic failed emphatically at Bramall Lane and should not be the approach Solskjaer takes against Spurs.
United lack the authority in midfield to play successfully with five defenders as they are just overrun in the middle, as Fred and Andreas were against Sheffield United.
Solskjaer should select four defenders, and new signings Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are almost certainly guaranteed starters. Maguire was shaky in the draw to Aston Villa, but is one of few leaders in the starting eleven and will be tasked again with marshalling the backline.
Brandon Williams is likely to be taken out of the firing line after his mistake which led to Aston Villa’s equaliser on Sunday, and Solskjaer has the option of selecting Ashley Young and the fit again Luke Shaw at left-back..
Luke Shaw could be more of a threat going forward, but Young is alert defensively and it may be a safer option to select the veteran at left-back over Shaw.
Victor Lindelof’s central defensive partnership with Harry Maguire has failed to blossom despite a promising start to the season. Axel Tuanzebe is back to full fitness and should be in contention to start against Jose Mourinho’s side. Tuanzebe has proved to be solid whenever given the opportunity by Solskjaer this season, and should be given a chance on Wednesday evening ahead of Swedish international Lindelof.