Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick could make four changes or more when selecting the side to face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday evening’s Champions League last 16 first leg.
The German has already confirmed one definite absentee, and several stars could come back into the fold after starting the weekend’s grudge match with Leeds United on the bench. According to Express Sport below is how the Red Devils are likely to line up:
Goalkeeper – De Gea
The Spaniard has made the most saves in the Premier League this season, which tells its own story about Man Utd’s ability to keep opposition at bay.
For one, defence has not necessarily been their strong point this campaign, but secondly, David De Gea has been back to his best.
Defensive struggles have crossed over to the European competition too, having only kept one clean sheet during their six group stage outings.
Dean Henderson will continue to hold out hope for first-team action in cup competitions, but as we reach the business end of the Champions League campaign, there is little doubt that De Gea will retain his spot between the sticks.
Defence – Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw
If Rangnick is brave enough, United are likely to switch the defensive-minded Aaron Wan-Bissaka with Diogo Dalot, who offers more going forward.
His restoration to the side is likely to be accompanied by Raphael Varane, who started on the bench at Elland Road.
Harry Maguire will be in high spirits after ending United’s corner drought at the weekend, and should be in line to start alongside the four-time Champions League winner.
Luke Shaw could complete Rangnick’s favoured defensive quartet, with two changes from the backline that started in Yorkshire.
Midfield – McTominay, Fred, Fernandes
Tough tackling midfielder Scott McTominay revealed his battle scars from Sunday’s showdown on social media, but the cuts and bruises are not believed to have put his spot against Atletico in jeopardy.
Alongside him in the defensive role, Paul Pogba is certainly in with a shout of retaining his starting berth, but Fred nabbed an impressive goal after coming off the bench against Leeds.
Rangnick may also favour the Brazilian’s industry in midfield, if the aim is to keep things tight until the return leg at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes is virtually certain to feature in a more attacking role than the aforementioned duo, where he will be tasked with unleashing the talented trio ahead of him.
Attack – Elanga, Ronaldo, Sancho
Up top, the United boss has two nailed-on starters and one spot that remains up for grabs.
Despite a goal-shy few weeks, Cristiano Ronaldo is sure to start through the middle after Rangnick confirmed Edinson Cavani’s continued injury absence during Tuesday’s press conference.
Jadon Sancho is also sure to retain his spot having come on leaps and bounds since his spluttering start at Old Trafford, and he notched two crafty assists against Leeds which should only add to his upward momentum.
On the right flank, Jesse Lingard proved largely ineffective on Sunday while Marcus Rashford sat out. Meanwhile, Anthony Elanga took his chance after emerging from the bench, casting aside a hostile atmosphere to net United’s fourth goal before shushing the crowd.