Few people are giving Manchester United much of a chance to win anything from their journey to Bayern Munich for their debut Champions League encounter on Wednesday after they were unable to defeat Brighton and Hove Albion at home in the Premier League.
United has had a poor start to the season and has been mired in controversy regarding events that occurred off the pitch.
The challenging matchup against the Bundesliga team led by Harry Kane may be seen in one of two ways: either as a free-hit damage control exercise in a game that United is not expected to win and does not need to win given that two teams advance from the group.
According to manager Erik ten Hag, the starting lineup will be mostly determined by damage limitation, which will call for a lot more cautious lineup, and the “free hit” strategy, which will call for a much bolder lineup.
In general, we believe he will choose the latter and field a potent, offensive team.
Goalkeeper Andre Onana will start.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was out of the defense against Brighton due to “illness,” despite social media claims that he has a hamstring pull that will keep him out for two months.
In either case, we’ve presumed that he won’t take the pitch and that loanee Sergio Reguilon, who was outstanding on his debut on Saturday, would play left-back while Diogo Dalot retains the right-back position.
Raphael Varane’s injury could have healed in time for Bayern to play, but the two centre-backs, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof struggled against the Seagulls. If that’s not the case, though, Ten Hag will undoubtedly support Victor and Licha if the choice is between them and the infamous Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans.
Ten Hag tried a diamond midfield shape against Brighton, but it did not work, so we believe he will switch to a double pivot. Sofyan Amrabat might be available for the first time, but considering that he hasn’t kicked a ball in months, expecting him to start would be unreasonable.
Even though Casemiro and Scott McTominay performed poorly on Saturday, the Brazilian should remain in the starting lineup alongside Christian Eriksen, with Bruno Fernandes filling the 8/10 spot. McTominay is anticipated to move to the sidelines.
Facundo Pellistri or Alejandro Garnacho could start up front in the absence of both Antony and Jadon Sancho, with Rasmus Hojlund playing through the middle and Marcus Rashford on the opposite flank to the chosen youngster, assuming the latter’s differences with Ten Hag have not been resolved by then. One of the most intriguing young forward lines in world football, a Rashford-Hojlund-Garnacho front three is most likely and, on paper.
Another player nearing injury recovery, Mason Mount, might fill a wide position if it were available.
In the end, we anticipate that the starting lineup will be identical to Saturday’s, with McTominay being replaced by a winger. The bench, though, might be much stronger with the addition of Mount, Amrabat, Varane, and Wan-Bissaka.
This, then, is our predicted XI for Wednesday’s game: