Sunday afternoon’s home Premier League opener for Manchester United will be against Brighton & Hove Albion and Erik ten Hag might have some decisions to make on the starting eleven. The Red Devils’ eventful preseason came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano.
Overall, the club has had a fruitful preseason, however, it is fair to say that not everything has gone according to plan and the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer drama still doesn’t seem to have a clear conclusion.
Erik ten Hag now has a full week of practice time before his league debut against the Seagulls. The new United boss will be determined to begin the new season with a strong showing and a victory, but the Dutchman still has some significant decisions to make before the match against Graham Potter’s team.
Ronaldo’s involvement in the 1st game of ten Hag:
Due to a personal matter, the Portugal international missed the team’s preseason trips to Thailand and Australia.
While on Saturday, he also missed the match in Norway against Atletico Madrid.
However, there is now no clear destination for the 37-year-old, and there is a good probability that he will remain at the club for the match against Brighton.
Ronaldo, who continues to be the greatest goalscorer in modern game, will undoubtedly not be considered for a start owing to his lack of games this summer together with Anthony Martial’s preseason form, but Ten Hag needs to decide whether there is a position on the bench for Ronaldo.
The Centre-Back decision:
When it comes to the match with Brighton, Raphael Varane’s fitness issues this summer are likely to work against him. He played the entire match against Rayo on Sunday without incident, but Ten Hag is going to be wary of the France international.
Harry Maguire has held onto the armband throughout the season and, barring injury, will start against Brighton, but Ten Hag must choose who plays alongside his captain.
Victor Lindelof played a lot of football while on tour and participated in the match against Atletico on Saturday, but new signing Lisandro Martinez made an enormous impression in his club debut in the draw with Rayo.
Martinez’s status for the Premier League opener must be determined by Ten Hag. And it would not be shocking to see the Dutchman start Lindelof alongside Maguire.
But Ten Hag also views Varane and Martinez as starters, so it will be interesting to see how the team’s new head coach handles his center-back choices.
Luke Shaw was scheduled to play either against Atletico Madrid or Rayo at the weekend, but the Englishman was unable to participate due to illness, thus Tyrell Malacia started the match against Atletico.
Malacia, who joined the team this summer from Feyenoord, has made an immediate impact for the Red Devils, and he is competing for a starting position against Brighton.
The Brazilian, who is expected to leave the club in the next few weeks, is clearly behind the 22-year-old in the pecking order after demonstrating both his attacking and defensive skills during his early appearances for the team.
If Shaw had played against Atletico, Ten Hag could be on Shaw’s side in the matchup with Potter’s team.
Although it could be possible that Malacia, a Netherlands international, though, might make his Premier League debut if he can easily adjust to life at the club.
We will have to wait and see how the new Red Devils boss lines up his team out for his 1st Premier League clash on Sunday.
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