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20/09/2023 16:54

The ways Man Utd could line up v Bayern Munich and Ten Hag could spring surprise

Manchester United will be looking for a much better performance when they travel to face Bayern Munich in their Champions League opener tonight.

Erik ten Hag’s side have struggled across their opening matches of the new season and head into the match having lost their last two matches.

United will not only need a much-improved display against the reigning Bundesliga champions but must also find a way to address their problematic away record, which stems from last season.

In terms of early team news, Raphael Varane  and Mason Mount returned to training but haven’t made the trip, while Harry Maguire has also been ruled out.

This is how our United writers think they should line up.

Samuel Luckhurst

As limited as the options are, United cannot go with the same XI. Brighton dismantled them and Bayern Munich would, too.

Starting Facundo Pellistri would restore a more balanced midfield in Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, with Bruno Fernandes ahead of them. That is probably the only advisable change as the rest of the team largely picks itself.

Alejandro Garnacho is a potential game-changer off the bench and Hannibal Mejbri is a bustling option to call upon but the brutal reality is United have a desperate squad here in Munich.

One change

One change

Tyrone Marshall

When Varane and Mount trained on Tuesday morning it looked like Ten Hag would get a fitness boost for this trip. Instead, things have gone from bad to worse. Maybe that duo will be fit for Turf Moor but tonight United are turning up for a sword fight for a butter knife.

They will have three goalkeepers on the bench but Onana is the only possible starter. In defence, Evans will cover all four positions but Dalot and Reguilon are the only fit full-backs and Lindelof and Martinez have to start at the back and get through the full game.

The diamond midfield has to be jettisoned, but I would switch Fernandes to the right of a 4-3-3, from where he can drift infield when required. That would leave Casemiro and McTominay dropping deep and Eriksen trying to link the play when United actually have the ball.

Having come off on Saturday, Hojlund should be fit to start again through the middle and Rashford looked dangerous at times at the weekend, despite some poor decision-making.

Rich Fay

Ten Hag might not have much choice to tinker with tonight, so the real question is how those players are used rather than who they actually are.

United only have one viable back-four selection, and even though Lindelof played poorly at the weekend, he is still better than Evans. It means they might even need to use McTominay or Casemiro there later in the match.

Hannibal should be rewarded with a start after his impressive cameo against Brighton, while Eriksen has to start by virtue of there not being any other real options.

Fernandes could be repurposed to the right wing to give United a bit more defensive stability, and Rashford has to start in his favoured left wing role. Hojlund should start if he is fit enough, though it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Martial lead the line.

Hannibal could be rewarded with a start

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