It has been a difficult few weeks for Manchester United. The 3-1 win over Everton prior to the November international break was a convincing one over Carlo Ancelotti’s men and it lifted spirits in the dressing room, though that didn’t stop the manager having a rant about the congested fixture schedule.
The upcoming game against West Brom brings the start of another hectic period for United — but at least they’re facing it with more players available from the sidelines.
Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard have yet to return from injury and I would think this game has come too soon for both of them, however, the former was with the Ivory Coast squad during the internationals.
Then there’s Luke Shaw, who has been playing very well but will be out for at least a month after sustaining a hamstring injury, as per BBC Sport. Meanwhile there is some doubt over whether Marcus Rashford will be ready after missing England duty after sustaining a shoulder injury.
Will there be room for Alex Telles to make his second appearance for the club?
That’s one of the big questions facing Solskjaer right now, with the Brazil national team releasing a statement on the left-back on Tuesday. He was named on the bench for a World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay, which ended 2-0 in Brazil’s favour.
Brandon Williams, who has been waiting on the wings since the season began, may well get his chance at left back.
If United are without Shaw, Telles and Lindelof — who will all be in the doubtful category ahead of the match — United could be forced to field a threadbare defence. And surely that is a reason to start Axel Tuaznebe at centre-back alongside Harry Maguire.
West Brom currently sit 18th in the table with just three points, but United have yet to win at home in the Premier League this season. You can bet on Manchester United’s next matches and it may be worth doing if you think the Reds are going to turn it around over the next month.
The midfield should be easier to predict although Solskjaer has plenty of options. Fred and Scott McTominay are likely to form a double pivot behind Bruno Fernandes.
I would also throw Donny van de Beek into the midfield ahead of Juan Mata. The Spaniard may link up well with Fernandes, but I want to see the Dutchman in this side more often so he can build on some sort of form. He scored during the international break too.
Mason Greenwood could also take that slot on the right flank — instead of Mata or Van de Beek — if United are looking to be more direct. The 19-year-old is going through a difficult time with negative publicity and it’s a shame fans have yet to return to games because I know for a fact United’s following would air their support for Greenwood.
Anthony Martial could return to his role of old on the left flank if Rashford misses out, and we could see Edinson Cavani lead the line as a result.
Possible United XI vs West Brom: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Williams; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial; Cavani.