Man Utd predicted XI vs Brentford: One change expected & Erik ten Hag’s left-back dilemma
The Manchester United manager could make several changes after a disappointing loss to Brighton last week.
The Red Devils put in a hugely underwhelming display when they hosted Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, losing 2-1 and failing to create sufficient chances across the 90 minutes.
It means Ten Hag may already be tempted to make changes to the team he spent weeks of pre-season building.
In particular, he has a huge choice to make up front, with Cristiano Ronaldo expected to be fit to start, an option Ten Hag didn’t have against Brighton.
But the Portugal star has another week of training under his belt, and he should have regained his fitness levels after featuring for just 45 minutes during the summer warm-up games.
Last week, United started with Christan Eriksen as a false nine, but changed mid-game and dropped the former Brentford man into midfield and restored Ronaldo as a striker.
But will he opt to start with a similar system in West London on Saturday?
Ten Hag’s team selection
In nets, David de Gea will almost certainly start despite a disappointing display in the season opener.
Ahead of him, there are concerns Victor Lindelof is not available after missing out altogether against Brighton and not being seen in training this week.
Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez are expected to retain their places, although Raphael Varane is also an option.
Diogo Dalot is another who is likely to play at right-back, but on the opposite flank Ten Hag may be tempted to hand Tyrell Malacia a first start after an encouraging pre-season.
Luke Shaw played there at Old Trafford last weekend, but was far from his best, like several in red.
In midfield, we’re tipping Eriken to drop back alongside Fred in the centre, meaning Scott McTominay could find himself on the bench. The latter midfield duo were the first two players to be replaced against Brighton after both had put in poor performances.
Bruno Fernandes should feature in the attacking midfield role, although Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are also options.
In the more advanced areas, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are expected to start out wide, although Ten Hag could opt for Anthony Elanga, who scored at the Brentford Community Stadium last season.
While there are plenty out there who feel Ronaldo is a burden to the team and actively holds them back, United don’t have much choice other than to play the 37-year-old in the capital.
That’s because Anthony Martial is expected to be absent with a hamstring issue, one that forced him to miss the season opener. The Frenchman wasn’t spotted in training this week and is a major doubt for the Liverpool clash that follows the trip to Brentford.
With Ronaldo in the side it should solve one issue, and if the Red Devils create as few chances against the Bees as they did at Old Trafford last week, they’ll need the striker’s predatory instincts in order to find the back of the net.
Our Manchester United predicted XI: De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia; Fred, Eriksen, Fernandes; Sancho, Ronaldo, Rashford.