Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has previewed the big game against Leicester City this weekend.
Like many Reds, Chadwick sounds a bit worried about United’s trip to the King Power Stadium, especially as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces an injury crisis at the back, with both Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane ruled out of the game.
Maguire sustained a knock against Aston Villa last month and has missed two games since, though the blow has been made worse by Varane’s groin injury, which he picked up during the international break with France.
This means we’ll probably see both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly start the match in the heart of defence. Chadwick is not one bit convinced by their defensive partnership.
“It’s a real shame,” Chadwick exclusively told Caught Offside. “I think Varane and Maguire looked good together, they’ve been forming a partnership and getting used to playing together. To have the pair of them injured is a blow.
“You’d expect Lindelof to come in. He’s had criticism at times, even if he’s quite effective at dealing with what’s in front of him, it’s that space in behind that has been a problem in the past. Bailly’s played with him before, not always to great success, like in that League Cup defeat against West Ham.
“You’d hope that there’s enough there, they’re two very good Premier League players and it’s a hugely important game for United to bounce back in and get a result after the disappointment of the Aston Villa game.”
There are reasons to be positive about United’s attack, though.
Marcus Rashford is back in contention to play but we wouldn’t expect Solskjaer to throw him in from the start. Maybe a cameo off the bench is on the cards.
Chadwick expects Rashford will be an impact sub for now, and hopes to see Jadon Sancho starting alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood.
“It’s fantastic to see Rashford coming back to fitness but I wouldn’t throw him straight back in,” Chadwick added. “He could probably do with some games coming off the bench. With what he offers he can make a fantastic impact as a substitute.
“For now I’d stick with Ronaldo as the number 9 and Sancho and Greenwood up there with him. Sancho looked a bit more like his old self, a bit more confident for England. The more he’s on the pitch the more chance he’s got to make an impact. I think he’ll be a success once those first few goals and assists come and he settles into it. I think Rashford and Lingard are great live-wire players to produce something from the bench. For now Ole should stick with this front three because at times it’s looked fantastic.
“Just look at the numbers Sancho’s had in the past – his stats were exceptional at Borussia Dortmund and I’m sure he’ll get there with United, it’s only October so there’s plenty of time left this season.
“There’ll be times when he’s not firing on all cylinders, but things can change quickly – a goal, a bit of magic, that sort of thing we now he can do, that can turn his form around. I’m sure he’ll be looking at double figures for goals and assists.
“Some players hit the ground running straight away, but with Sancho it looks like it’ll take a bit more time, in fairness it took him a bit of time to get going last season as well. He played at the Euros as well and hasn’t had much of a break. A player of his quality won’t go through the whole season like this, I’m sure we’ll soon see what the price tag was all about.”