Manchester United travel to face Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening in what will be United’s third group stage match of the competition this season. United have a defeat to Real Sociedad and a win against Sheriff so far this season.
United were beaten 6-3 at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday in a match which saw both Phil Foden and Erling Haaland both score hat-tricks. United were 4-0 down at half time and were out of the match. However, a goal from Antony and a brace from Anthony Martial gave United fight.
It will be important for United to hit back against Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday evening to get over that debacle against City before they visit Goodison Park to face Everton in the Premier League on Sunday evening – another must win match for United and Erik ten Hag.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho;
Goalkeeper: De Gea
David De Gea conceded six goals against Manchester City on Sunday but despite that, he was not going to stop the majority of then, if any of them. It seems clear that United are not going to take on the might that is City with the squad they currently have. He needs to get over that on Thursday.
It is time that De Gea agrees that his future at United is going to be short, even though he has given his peak at the Old Trafford club. He will be out of contract at the end of the season, despite the option of another year on his current contract.
I would like to see Martin Dubravka start, but his injury carried from the international break is likely to keep him out for the foreseeable future. It would seen that both De Gea and Dean Henderson could be out of luck at United next season with Erik ten Hag likely to bring in his own goalkeeper.
Defenders: Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw
United’s defence had a big wake up call against City at the weekend and with both Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire out of action, it is looking like Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martínez would partner in the centre of the defence against the Cypriot club on Thursday evening.
Tyrell Malacia did not have the best of matches against City, which resulted in Luke Shaw being recalled into the team during the match, so it seems quite likely that he will start on Thursday evening with a view to him regaining his place ahead of the visit to Goodison Park to face Everton.
Diogo Dalot will also have some soul searching to do following that embarrassment against City with him seeking to regain his good form and push forward as United look to get three more points in the bag in their first match against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday evening.
Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen
United will need to start getting Casemiro starting matches to get him up to speed as him playing 20-30 minutes is not going to get that done. It is about time now that he started matches and Thursday’s match could be a good one for that to happen.
Christian Eriksen is one of the best signings United have made in a number of years and he has effectively replaced Paul Pogba in everything that he has done, not that he had to work all that hard to get there. Some rate Pogba so highly they are happy to rewrite history to placate themselves.
A midfield of Casemiro and Eriksen would be good against Omonia as it would allow the duo to have some time on the pitch together ahead of the Premier League clash with Everton on Sunday evening. United need to start finding a way to dominate the midfield this season.
Attacking Midfield: Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho
With United playing in the Premier League on Sunday once again after a Europa League match on a Thursday, which has so far not happened this season, Ten Hag will need to rotate his team but there will still need to be some top players to get a result in Cyprus.
Bruno Fernandes should start in the number ten position against Omonia and he could well play the whole match, starting on Sunday too. Antony will be the same as he will still be fresh at this stage of the season, which will benefit United. He could play 60 minutes and still start on Sunday.
The other attacking player should be Alejandro Garnacho, who scored the winning against Barrow on Tuesday evening in the Papa John’s Trophy, scoring in added time. He could also start in Cyprus on Thursday evening, getting some first team minutes under his belt.
Anthony Martial returned from injury in the 6-3 defeat to City on Sunday, scoring a brace although one goal was from the penalty spot. The Frenchman has not played a lot of football this season, seeing just 75 minutes or so in the Premier League because of injury.
It will be important for Martial to start in this match to get his prepared to start against Everton on Sunday, which is what will be needed based on his contributions against City. He kind of changed the game in the second half so seems to be up for it as he was in pre-season.
It is possible that Cristiano Ronaldo could start in this match, or even come on late in the match but for United to get something, Martial starting would be more beneficial though. Marcus Rashford could also start but up front, the best option right now is Martial.
Substitutes: Heaton; Fredricson, Malacia; Fred, Pellistri, McTominay, Mainoo; Ronaldo, Rashford, Sancho, Elanga, McNeill
United can name 12 players on the bench to face Omonia, using five of them during the match. I think with the injury to Martin Dubravka, Tom Heaton will be on the bench in the capacity of goalkeeper with De Gea starting the match.
In defence, Tyler Fredricson could be the only central defender on the bench unless Harry Maguire or Raphael Varane are in fact fit. Tyrell Malacia could be the only fullback on the bench. In midfield, Fred, Facundo Pellistri, Scott McTominay and Kobbie Mainoo could be available.
In attack, United could have a number of options with Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga and Charlie McNeill, who also scored against Barrow in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening. This could be a big week for him.
Written by John Walker