The two successive Premier League postponements have almost forced Ten Hag’s hand when it comes to selection tonight. There are 28 days between the game against Arsenal and the derby at the Etihad and there’s a danger of what is essentially the Premier League XI losing rhythm if they don’t play tonight. It means players like Maguire and Casemiro have been dropped and miss out on valuable minutes, but circumstances have dictated that.
Ten Hag has dropped Maguire, Lindelof, Casemiro, Fred and Elanga, five internationals who have received call-ups for this month’s internationals.
United’s bench consists of the other 11 players who obviously made the trip and it is lacking attacking options, to say the least. Elanga and Garnacho would the go-to options if United are in need of a goal.
That’s exactly the team United should be playing after last week’s result. I think three of us chose that team in our morning panel XI, too.
It’s as strong as it gets for United on recent form and player availability, so the locals must be absolutely thrilled that Ronaldo is not just in the squad but starting.
The last time Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score in August and September for his club side he was a 19-year-old into his second season at United in 2004-05. He came agonisingly close to scoring at Bolton with an audacious effort that rattled the crossbar and he struck the post against Liverpool with another piledriver in October.