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Solskjaer has major Man Utd selection dilemma ahead of Newcastle clash

The international break has left time for dust to settle in Manchester after an Old Trafford humiliation and the frantic deadline day that followed. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now had time to plot a United revival after a torrid opening three league games with 11 goals conceded and a defence in disarray.

But the two-week period without a game has prompted more questions than answers and defence isn’t the only concern Solskjaer has ahead of his latest team selection.

United face Newcastle away on their return to action in what promises to be a challenging test against a side high in confidence.

Solskjaer should hand first Premier League starts to new signings Alex Telles and Donny van de Beek and could revert to a five-back formation to accommodate the duo.

But it’s the lack of availability of other summer addition Edinson Cavani that is causing the Norwegian an unwelcome selection headache.

Cavani was a shoo-in to take Anthony Martial’s place in the starting XI with the Frenchman beginning his suspension for the red card he received against Spurs.

However, as per BBC Sport, the Uruguayan will not feature as he has had to quarantine for two weeks after his arrival in Manchester.

That leaves Solskjaer with a decision to make.

Start Odion Ighalo, who has started the season sluggishly and is on the way out in January. Or move Mason Greenwood to a more central role where he was so dangerous at academy level.

The latter option is more viable as Greenwood has had time to recuperate after being overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England duty.

Greenwood offers more quality than Ighalo in every sense and deserves to chance to shine in a central role.

If Solskjaer opts for a five-back formation, Greenwood should start in a front two alongside Marcus Rashford with Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka providing the width at wing-back.

Alternatively, the heavily utilised 4-2-3-1 formation would allow Daniel James or Juan Mata to take their place on the right-flank should Greenwood play through the middle.

The right-winger will be tasked with tracking explosive Toon winger Allan Saint-Maximin who is bound to cause United’s defence real problems.

James may be more adept in defensive recovery, but Mata has proven in two man-of-the-match Carabao Cup outings that he still has the quality to break down sides with clever movement and decisive passing.

Despite his two main centre-forwards being ruled out, Solskjaer is not short of options ahead of the trip to St James’ Park.

Solskjaer has already hinted Greenwood will naturally evolve into a centre forward in the future and Saturday’s game could offer the teenager a chance to thrive in the role.

But the personnel of his attacking support system is crucial and Solskjaer has to get it right if United are to be potent on their return.

READ MORE: Mauricio Pochettino would prefer to manage Man Utd over Man City, pundit claims

More Stories Anthony Martial Edinson Cavani Man Utd Mason Greenwood OIe Gunnar Solskjaer

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