Manchester United welcome Sheriff Tiraspol to Old Trafford five days after the 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Casemiro opened his goalscoring account with United in the last minute of the match after United conceded a penalty.
It showed that United’s mentality as a team is changing and they will do all they can to get the results, which is a good corner to turn after the last few seasons of this squad. Sheriff will be led by a new manager after Stjepan Tomas tendered his resignation following a defeat to Petrocub.
United need just a point to progress out of their UEFA Europa League group this season but will be seeking to win their last two matches, beating Sheriff and Real Sociedad so they can top the group ahead of the season entering a break for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next month.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Malacia;
Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;
I think it would be good to give David De Gea a rest for this match, giving him time to recharge his batteries ahead of the clashed against West Ham United, Real Sociedad, the two matches against Aston Villa and the clash with Fulham before the FIFA World Cup.
Martin Dubravka signed for United at the end of the summer transfer window on loan from Newcastle United but he has yet to feature for United. I assumed that he would be playing in the Europa League this season, but four matches already played, he’s to had a look in.
It is important for United to see what Dubravka is capable of playing for United, which will give some insight into whether he could help better the performances of De Gea, or whether it would be better for his loan spell to end this summer and him head back to the Magpies.
Defenders: Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Malacia
United’s defence were hit with a blow against Chelsea with the injury suffered by Raphael Varane, which looked like a serious one which could cut his season short but might have ended his hopes of playing in the World Cup next month. Victor Lindelof can step in for him though.
That said, Harry Maguire is also back in training after his injury lay off, but it is doubtful whether he will be fit enough to start on Tuesday, so Lindelof gets the nod to partner Lisandro Martinez, who is undroppable for United so far this season. What a signing he was form Ajax.
In the fullback positions, Diogo Dalot looks set to start once again although Aaron Wan-Bissaka is now back in training and may be back into the fray soon. On the left, Tyrell Malacia should start in this match, giving Luke Shaw a slight rest ahead of Sunday’s match.
Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen
United’s midfield has seen two great players sign for the club in the summer and both are doing their things to make this United team under Erik ten Hag much better. Casemiro is virtually undroppable at this time, especially after his late equaliser against Chelsea on Saturday evening.
Christian Eriksen has recently sat out for a match due to illness and returned where he left off, guiding United in their quest for more creativity. He really has been a stellar signing for the Old Trafford club and as a free agent makes it much better for the club.
The duo of Casemiro and Eriksen is working wonders for United and Ten Hag still has the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay to fall back on, not to mention the quality youth players such as Zidane Iqbal, Kobbie Mainoo and Charlie Savage, who could well be the future of the club.
Attacking Midfield: Antony, Fernandes, Rashford
United’s attacking players are of of a certain quality but this trio has only scored ten goals and four assists between them. There needs to be a formula to make the attack work a lot better than it has before. These players can play like that and know how to make the difference.
However, that said, United’s inability to score simple goals is a big worry. Antony scored in his first three Premier League matches, Marcus Rashford has five goals so far this season, the clubs top goalscorer and Bruno Fernandes has two goals himself.
All three should be starting against Sheriff as that could be the key to bringing in the goals as United will need them if they want to top the group with the goal difference before Thursday’s matches sitting at four between the two sides. United should be seeking to score three or even four.
Cristiano Ronaldo has seemingly fallen from grace so far this season and has had many problems, the most recent seeing him storm off the pitch at Old Trafford and down the tunnel before the match was finished, resulting in him being removed from the squad prior to the Chelsea match.
That problem has now been solved, apparently paving the way for the Portuguese forward to rejoin first team training sessions and get ready to play for the club again. Ronaldo is a brilliant footballer but his age has caught up with him and he brings his own problems into this team.
When he plays, United are slower and more stagnant but last season, scoring 24 goals in all competitions, he was the driving force, at least looking like it based on those stats, behind the football club. This season, he needs to find the form and play the way the squad has been.
Substitutes: Heaton; Maguire, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, Pellistri, van de Beek, McTominay; Sancho, Elanga, Garnacho, McNeill
United will be able to name 12 players on the bench in the Europa League, using five of them. Tom Heaton is expected to be on the bench as a substitute goalkeeper. In defence, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could all be available.
In the midfield, Fred, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Facundo Pellistri coulbe be called upon. Van de Beek has recently returned from injury, so may not actually be involved. I would like to see Pellistri get some minutes though as he could offer something going forward.
In attack, Anthony Martial looks set to be absent again which leaves Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho and perhaps Charlie McNeill – being that he is the only out and out striker in the squad that could be fit for this match. United so have some young talent in the squad.
Written by John Walker