Manchester United face Chelsea at Old Trafford tomorrow hoping to pick up their first home result of the season.
The Red Devils lost both of their previous home games, to Crystal Palace and Spurs, while winning all of their five away games, including Tuesday’s tough Champions League tie in Paris.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said today that he is hopeful that Edinson Cavani, Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood will all be fit for the game tomorrow. As Phil Jones and Sergio Romero were not registered to play in the Premier League, it leaves Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial as the only absentees from the squad, the former two carrying muscle and tendon injuries and the latter serving the second of a three-game suspension.
After the heroics on Tuesday from the back three of Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and especially Axel Tuanzebe, it will be tough on someone to have to make way for captain Maguire. Indeed, if the manager reverts to a back four, two of the Tuesday night back five will revert to the bench.
Assuming Ole continues with three at the back, Tuanzebe might be the one to step down on the basis that the manager will not want to overplay him after such a long absence.
Martial’s suspension may mean that Solskjaer plays with a lone striker tomorrow, which would then mean a Bielsa-type 3-3-1 formation. Alex Telles would probably make his first Premier League start in this formation. As Scott McTominay and Fred ran the equivalent of a half-marathon between them on Tuesday, they may be rested, so we think Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek may be brought in.
If, on the other hand, the manager sticks with two up front, Greenwood is the most likely to partner Rashford with Cavani possibly having his first 20 minutes or so of Premier League football from the bench.
The in-form Juan Mata could be another possibility in the right attacking midfield position.
There are certainly plenty of options, but our best guess based on all of the above is therefore this fascinating 3-3-3-1: