Manchester United are back in UEFA Champions League action as they travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray at the RAMS Park in a bid to earn some points which could see them remain in the competition or fall into the UEFA Europa League this season.
United have not been in good form this season despite losing three of their four matches in the Champions League so far. In fairness, the defeats were narrow; 4-3 to Bayern, 3-2 to Galatasaray and 4-3 to Copenhagen. United still have a chance of qualifying this season.
On Sunday, United returned to Premier League action following the international break with a 3-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. Alejandro Garnacho opened the scoring in the third minute with a stunning overhead kick. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored the other goals.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Shaw;
Pellistri, Fernandes, Garnacho;
Andre Onana recovered from the injury that he sustained whilst playing for Cameroon during the international break – which was good for United who needed him and his performance proved what a talented goalkeeper he is, despite the poor start in a United shirt.
Onana has lots of faith in him from Ten Hag and the coaching staff who have worked with him before. The goalkeeper clearly has something that Ten Hag and his coaching team want to bring into United this season and patience needs to be afforded for that to be instilled at the club.
Altay Bayindir may need to be brought into the fold sooner rather than later because of the African Cup of Nations which starts in January 2024. Ten Hag will know about this and will have his introduction into the team earmarked at some point in December, no doubt.
Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw
United’s defence has been hit with major injuries this season and losses of form which have been high profile in the media. United are now starting to get players back, which could be great for the club over the next month, which is set to be very busy for the club.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw playing in the fullback positions is great for United as they seem to be the best players in those positions at this time. Having them both on the pitch against Galatasaray will be great for Ten Hag and United and could help do the job.
In the centre of the defence, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof could be partnered once again as at this stage, the duo have not done all that much wrong with Lisandro Martinez on the sidelines and Raphael Varane losing his form and his place in the squad for the time being.
Midfield: Mainoo, McTominay
United’s midfield is down on it’s luck this season with injuries to Casemiro and Christian Eriksen but against Everton, Kobbie Mainoo and Scott McTominay did well to establish control in the match which helped the eventual 3-0 result. Mainoo is going to be a class player.
He has recently come back from injury and it is good that he played a big part in the match – more than 70 minutes before coming off. The fact he has come so far at a young age shows his skill level – one for now and for the future. It is great to see this happen at United.
McTominay is also a player with a bit between his teeth as he looks to establish himself in the starting XI more often. It seems that he has something to give this season and has proved it with the goals he has already scored for United. Hopefully more of them will start to come.
Attacking Midfield: Pellistri, Fernandes, Garnacho
United’s attacking midfield is positive this season but they need to find their way and start performing for the manager. Alejandro Garnacho is the hot topic at this time after his overhead goal against Everton on Sunday, which is a contender for the Goal of the Season.
Bruno Fernandes is the captain this season and in his last few matches, he has brought something to the team. Allowing Marcus Rashford to take the penalty was a captain’s decision and admirable. Fernandes is a class player and he will want to strive to perform this season.
Rashford is suspended for this match due to the red card he received against Copenhagen last month, so is not eligible to face Galatasaray on Wednesday evening. Facundo Pellistri could step in on the right-wing – or Antony could return, who is Ten Hag’s favourite – he will need to perform.
Rasmus Hojlund is currently United’s top scorer this season – despite scoring all five of his goals this season in the Champions League. The Danish striker missed the 3-0 victory over Everton on Sunday with an injury but has a better chance of finding fitness for this match.
The Dane is an important player for United and his progression as the main striker in the first team is very much important as United seek to right the wrongs of this season and prove the doubters wrong. United have many talents in this squad and they need to be allowed to shine.
Should Hojlund not be fit enough for this match, it is possible that he could find involvement at the weekend instead. Should he not play a part in this match, Anthony Martial could lead the line for United. His goal against Everton could get him started to provide a threat to the Turkish team.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Reguilon, Varane, Dalot; Amrabat, van de Beek, Hannibal; Martial, Antony, Pellistri
United could have up to 12 players on the bench against Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. Despite the injuries to the squad, it seems that Ten Hag could have many players to add to the bench – and that is without adding youth players to the squad.
Altay Bayindir will once again be on the bench for United, but it is possible that he could soon find involvement on the pitch for his club as at this time, Onana will be playing in the African Cup of Nations. In defence, Sergio Reguilon, Raphael Varane and Diogo Dalot should be available.
In midfield, Sofyan Amrabat, Donny van de Beek, Daniel Gore and Hannibal should all be available – which is not a bad bunch of players at the end of the day. In attack, Anthony Martial, Antony, as long as he is fit and Facundo Pellistri could all be involved. It could be a good match.
Written by John Walker