Manchester United host Brentford at Old Trafford on Monday night.
It will be United’s first game since it was announced last week that caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick would become manager of the Austrian national team. Rangnick will continue in his role as a consultant and the German said he wanted to help ‘United become a real force again’.
Rangnick has just three games left as interim coach. United drew 1-1 against Chelsea on Thursday night, despite the London club dominating the game, and they will be hoping to deliver an improved performance against Brentford. Alejandro Garnacho made his United debut against Chelsea and more youngsters from the academy could have chances tonight.
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So how should United line up? Here’s what our MEN editors have to say.
Dean Henderson can start because he hasn’t played in the league all season. Alvaro Fernandez would liven up the defense and Nemanja Matic bid farewell to Old Trafford after some passable performances. Fred can replace Scott McTominay.
Juan Mata has brought verve to the attack in some of his recent cameos and could pair productively with Cristiano Ronaldo. Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho were unfazed playing at Old Trafford for the youth teams and now deserve a chance from the start for the first team.
The youngsters have always been unlikely to see much action against Chelsea, but their minutes are set to increase by the end of the season. It certainly looks like a chance to start Hannibal and Garnacho and I would consider others on the bench.
The back four will likely pick up, given the lack of options. Fernandez deserves minutes as a substitute with a view to replacing Telles in the starting XI for one of the final two games.
McTominay really struggled against Chelsea and looked out of form at the end. Matic should start here, with McTominay coming on as his replacement when the Serb starts to wind down. I would start Fred and Hannibal in a new midfield, with Fernandes dropping to the bench.
In the top three, it has to be Ronaldo again and with Garnacho starting, I would go for Rashford’s experience ahead of Elanga.
It was understandable that United didn’t give the youngsters a chance upfront against Chelsea last week, but it wouldn’t make sense to limit them to bench roles against Brentford. Monday’s game is the final home game of United’s campaign and those at Old Trafford deserve something different and a reason to be excited about the club’s future.
There should be changes on both sides at the back, although there isn’t much else to do in defense given the current injury news. Fernandez still has a lot to learn if he is ever to be ready for the first team, but Telles cannot continue on recent projections.
United also need to freshen things up in midfield and, if fit, Fred needs to start. Matic was good against Chelsea and should be ready to go again, with Fernandes likely to feature from the start.
A youngster deserves an attack and Shola Shoretire is just as deserving as anyone given his recent performances at youth level. Ronaldo is the only striking option and Elanga deserves to start Rashford again.
With Chelsea on the sidelines, United have just three games remaining this season against Brentford, Brighton and Crystal Palace.
The club’s youngsters should be given the opportunity to play as almost all senior players have started by default this season. This means Fernandez is set to make his full debut at left-back ahead of dismal Alex Telles.
Hannibal was named United’s U23 Player of the Season last season and fans were hoping to see more of him this term. He’s actually only been given six minutes in the first team but is expected to start in midfield alongside Fred and Fernandes here. McTominay was mediocre against Chelsea and he should make way for the 19-year-old, who made a strong impression during his cameo at Anfield.
Garnacho made his United debut on Thursday night and is expected to start on the left with Sancho unavailable. Starting alongside Ronaldo in a Premier League match is an experience the youngster won’t soon forget.
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