Mason Greenwood deserves the nod.
Manchester United are set to host relegation threatened Bournemouth tomorrow afternoon in what will be the Red’s next crucial Premier League clash. Having put on arguably one of their displays post Sir Alex Ferguson on Tuesday against Brighton and Hove Albion, questions are being asked as to how many, if any, changes should manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer consider making tomorrow.
The feeling among fans after Tuesday’s performance is one of optimism with a general sense of excitement that the Reds are finally heading in the direction.
Having recently seen top-four rivals Chelsea and Leicester City drop significant points in their last outings, United fans will be keen to ensure the side are at full strength to allow them to take advantage of other’s slip-ups.
Manager Solskjaer issued a response early today in a press conference regarding suggestions that he may look to make some changes from the side which thumped Brighton 3-0.
Solskjaer said (via Yahoo): “I’ve got to wait and see. There are a couple that got some knocks and bruises, if there are a couple of changes don’t be surprised just because of fitness. But there are also so many games. I’ve got to look after the players.”
Taking the Red’s last performance into consideration as well as Solskjaer’s recent comments, I will assess how I think we can expect United to line-up tomorrow afternoon:
David De Gea
Unless a last minute injury occurs I fully expect the United number one to keep his spot in between the sticks. No surprises here.
Despite fellow right-back and youngster Ethan Laird being promoted to the first team squad, I do not expect him to start over the ever-reliant and recently offensively rejuvenated Wan-Bissaka. With an assist in each of his last two league outings, Solskjaer will be keen to offer Wan-Bissaka another opportunity to get forward against Eddie Howe’s predominantly narrow Bournemouth.
Bailly did not feature in United’s last game against Brighton but did get a solid 70-minutes under his belt before being substituted off against Norwich City. I do expect Solskjaer to use Bailly’s fitness and match sharpness as a risk-free opportunity to give regular starter Victor Lindelof a well-deserved rest.
Proving to be a mainstay, I fully anticipate skipper Maguire to start again tomorrow afternoon. Maguire’s presence within the United squad is remaining a constant especially at the heart of a back-four which has only conceded two goals since the restart of competitive matches.
Similarly to Bailly, Solskjaer has given Williams some minutes under his belt since the sport’s resumption with the young left-back being subbed on against both Norwich City and Brighton. Tomorrow’s game against Bournemouth could be the ideal starter for Williams after his counter-part Luke Shaw has started in every game since United’s opener against Tottenham on June 19. I expect Williams to get his first start since the restart tomorrow afternoon with his more attacking nature to be favoured by gaffer Solskjaer.
It will be a shame not see Nemanja Matic line-up for a consecutive time tomorrow afternoon, however, it is important to remember that United, like everyone else, have to cram a lot of games into a short amount of space. Matic endured a superb last outing against Brighton where he controlled proceedings start to end, the Serbian was thoroughly dominate both in defence and in possession. However, with Solskjaer needing to man-manage the squad carefully in these next few weeks, I would expect a game against Bournemouth to be one where he can swap Matic out for McTominay with relative ease.
The Frenchman seems so much happier with life in Manchester in recent times which perhaps can be attributed to his resurgence in form since coming back from a long-term ankle injury. Introduced gradually back into the squad, I foresee the World Cup-winning midfielder to start for consecutive games tomorrow afternoon.
Perhaps due a rest, I believe Solskjaer will opt to start with the on-fire Portuguese Magnifico in an attempt to kill the game dead as early as possible with a view to bringing him off in the second-half. I do expect Fernandes and midfield partner Pogba to start tomorrow’s game alongside one another.
In light of his manager’s recent praise the young attacker is proving essential to United’s wide attacking options. Often deployed on the right-side of a three-man attack, the 19-year old has shone, most notably in his last game against Brighton where he bagged the opener and soon followed it up with a superb assist where he chipped a pin-point ball into the box for Fernandes to volley into the net. I expect Greenwood, like Fernandes, to start the game and perhaps come off during the second-half in an attempt to conserve some energy whilst ensuring the Reds come away with all three-points.
Desperately seeking a goal, Rashford has featured in all of United’s four games since the restart but failing to hit the back of the net. Solskjaer will be keen to stick with his left-sided attacker through what appears to be a slight goal draught. I fully expect Rashford to start tomorrow and be given license to roam freely on the left in an attempt to take advantage of Bournemouth’s out-of-form right-back Adam Smith.
With the Frenchman firing on all cylinders since the restart with his best performance coming against Sheffield United where he bagged an impressive hat trick, I see it as unlikely he will be dropped in what is a very important league tie for the Reds. Despite positional rival Odion Ighalo netting against Norwich in the FA Cup, I believe Solskjaer sees Martial very much as his first choice striker and will stick with him tomorrow afternoon.