Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has just one first-team player left on the treatment table as Manchester United prepare to host Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be aiming to continue the Manchester United resurgence on Sunday, when Bournemouth pay them a visit at Old Trafford, to kick off their campaign in the second half of the Premier League season.
With a 100 percent record to boast of, the Norwegian couldn’t have asked for a better start to life as Manchester United’s caretaker boss. To make matters even more pleasing, he has only received good news on the injury front ahead of Bournemouth’s visit this weekend.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 28, 2018
Chris Smalling (foot) remains the only first-team member on the treatment table, with a bevy of players returning to training in recent days. And, in his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer confirmed the big good and the minor bad news, while also adding that Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia will play a part for his side soon.
“Marcos [Rojo] and Scott [McTominay] look like they can take part very soon as well, so it’s looking better. Smalling has got a sore foot, so I don’t think we’ll see him until the New Year anyway – maybe not even before Spurs [on 13 January] probably, around that time, but you never know.”
“I told you he [Valencia] is the captain and, when he’s properly fit and playing, he’ll wear the armband. He’s going through a couple of tough sessions now to get him ready for the busy period coming up. When you look at Antonio, there are not many better right-backs going forward with his abilities so, yes, you’ll see him wearing his armband.”
With Valencia still working his way back to full fitness and Diogo Dalot struggling at times against Huddersfield, Ashley Young should return to the starting lineup as the right-back. The rest of the back four should remain the same, with Luke Shaw being the left-back, while Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones are starting to forge a strong partnership at the heart of the Manchester United defence.
Up ahead in midfield, Nemanja Matic has been the go-to man under Solskjaer as well, while Paul Pogba has found a new lease of life since the managerial change. While Matic and Pogba are certain starters, the midfield unit should be completed by Ander Herrera, with Fred dropping to the bench once again.
Up ahead in attack, the Manchester United boss is set to have all the riches available to him soon, with Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez resuming light training this week.
“We’ve not had a lot of training since [the Huddersfield game]. We had yesterday [Thursday] off so today is the first day back. Romelu [Lukaku], Anthony [Martial] and Alexis were [in] light [training] yesterday so hopefully they can join part of the training today and let’s see after they’ve come through.”
Lukaku and Sanchez might be given some more time to get back to full fitness, and are likely to make an appearance off the bench against Bournemouth. Martial though, could start, returning to the left side of the Manchester United attack, with Jesse Lingard shifting to the right flank. Marcus Rashford should lead the line again for the hosts.