Manchester United will come against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It will also be the first time that Amazon Prime will be broadcasting the matches live in the United Kingdom. After getting two draws in the last to Premier League matches; 3-3 against Sheffield United and 2-2 with Aston Villa and a 2-1 defeat against Astana in the UEFA Europa League, changes are needed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to find a way to get his team playing attacking football that is able to not only create goals but score them too. In the last three matches, United have scored six goals but conceded seven, which is not the way to gain anything. Whilst injuries continue to become a problem, there are things that could be changed to get things ticking over once again. Here I will talk about those.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The Spanish goalkeeper is still the best goalkeeper at the club. Confidence may not be at an all time high at this moment in time, but it could all change with a good run of results. Injuries have cost United this season and they are still suffering from them, so in the coming weeks, things might become much better. Granted, De Gea needs to rally his troops and get those ahead of him playing to his strengths so that defence is highlighted as a strength once again with United doing what it needed in order to get the much needed results.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
The defence has not been the greatest of late, well over the past three matches. Ignoring that defeat in Kazakhstan, as youth played a big part, United have conceded five goals and scored five goals, getting two draws which should have been victories. Victor Lindelof scored a goal yesterday but I feel he should be replaced in the team with Axel Tuanzebe getting a chance to form a partnership with Harry Maguire. Aaron Wan-Bissaka keeps his place but the fact that Ethan Laird is coming through may present him a challenge. Luke Shaw should start ahead of Brandon Williams, whose mistake against Villa was costly. A match on the bench might be of benefit, especially in terms of rest with nine matches to play up to New Year’s Day.
Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay
This is the main area where there is a lack of ability, confidence, fight, determination and quality at this moment in time. Fred has risen his during recent matches, which is what he needed and he does have some ability in there somewhere but might fall short of the requirement to run United’s midfield. However, right now, he’s one of the only options at the club – all because of injury and a very thin squad, based on experience. Scott McTominay could well be back in action against Spurs, which is needed but it is the likes of Paul Pogba, is this is the challenge that he wants that will make the real difference. When he’s back, only then can we judge what is needed at the club.
Wingers: Daniel James, Marcus Rashford
Daniel James and Marcus Rashford are two of the best players able to play in the wide positions in attack at the club. There are some other talents coming through the ranks though. A slight formation change or tweak could be good for United. The 4-2-3-1 formation is not working all that well and Anthony Martial is not leading the line as a true striker. Some see this differently, probably because they think the sun shines from his posterior. Instead of having three attacking players behind the striker, playing two strikers, having one just behind the leading man might work.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial
Mason Greenwood has scored four goals in all competitions this season and has a good shot conversion rate. Greenwood is a forward with an eye for a goal. Granted he has had many shots on goal and has a small goal rate but in terms of experience, he has little in a first team environment. Greenwood will do what a striker needs to do to get a goal and playing through the middle he is a threat. Anthony Martial is a threat too, but his instinct is to play the ball at his feet, not lie in wait and aim to score. Against Villa, this could be seen a few times. Playing behind the striker might raise Martial’s game significantly. It equally might not but some things need to be tried to see if it changes anything, rather than sticking with the same which has not exactly worked as well as it could have.
Substitutes: Lee Grant; Ashley Young, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, James Garner
As there are still many players on the sidelines through injury, added to the fact there are many players in the squad who fall short of the requirements to play for United, I would rather see some talented youth players on the bench on Wednesday evening. However, as United are also participating in the EFL Trophy against Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday, it is unlikely that many youth players will be on the bench for United, meaning there would be little inspiration off the bench, unless Paul Pogba is able to take his position, which is what I have predicted. I expect Lee Grant to remain on the bench, not knowing what is up with Sergio Romero. Ashley Young and Brandon Williams could be the defensive reinforcement with Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and James Garner could be available to supplement the midfield and attack. Of course, I would rather see Dylan Levitt, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Laird on the bench instead of Young, Mata, and Pereira.