How Manchester United should line up vs Partizan Belgrade – Samuel Luckhurst
Manchester United will aim to end a run of six games without a win when they take on Partizan Belgrade on Thursday evening.
The Reds have not tasted victory since September 14, although they did come close to downing high-flying Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
Here, our writers select the team they think should start at the Partizan Stadium.
Sunday is an infinitely bigger game for United even though the Europa League could provide salvation in a season where they may not challenge for the top four.
Sergio Romero has to come back in, Brandon Williams excelled on his full debut at Alkmaar and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could do with the playing time. Victor Lindelof needs to play for his place and Marcos Rojo gets in ahead of Phil Jones.
Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are also in need of minutes. The Europa League provides Juan Mata his midweek start and James Garner is overdue a full debut. The durable Scott McTominay would be a steady presence beside him.
After an encouraging display against Liverpool last weekend United need to maintain momentum, and sticking with their 3-5-2 formation would be a wise decision.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also needs to balance his squad rotation wisely, which means Romero, Jones and Rojo should all start at the back.
The game should also give youth a chance to gain valuable match experience with Williams surely deserving of a start, along with fellow teenager Greenwood. It is a shame that Gomes and Chong have not travelled but the inclusion of Laird on the bench would certainly please fans.
Martial should be introduced from the bench ahead of a full return against Norwich, which means a starting role for James in his developing role as a central attacking figure.
Solskjaer has vowed to blood United’s youngsters in the cup competitions but it would be wise for him to field some experienced players at a stadium that can become hostile.
United could do with winning for several reasons, primarily because the Europa League is the Reds’ most likely route back into the Champions League but also because they have not won away from home since March and haven’t won at all for nigh-on six weeks.
Wan-Bissaka looked spent towards the end against Liverpool and should be rested for Sunday’s trip to Norwich, but many of the defenders that played at the weekend should start again as they need to familiarise themselves with the new system.
Andreas Pereira, Daniel James and Marcus Rashford all ran themselves into the ground against the Premier League leaders and deserve a rest.
The game against Norwich on Sunday is more important for United despite the need to get more points on the board in the Europa League and Solskjaer‘s team selection should reflect that.
De Gea hasn’t travelled and Romero is United’s Europa League goalkeeper and should keep his place and in defence there’s a couple of players who need to be rested. Maguire shouldn’t be risked and Young shouldn’t start despite Shaw’s absence which gives Williams another opportunity at left back.
Lindelof has had a shaky start to the season so needs more game time likely alongside Rojo. In midfield Garner should be given his first start in alongside Fred and Mata.
While Martial needs to get minutes in upfront to get back to full fitness which would push Greenwood out on the wing along with Lingard.
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