Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to make some tweaks to the starting XI for his team’s away encounter against Newcastle United.
Manchester United will be aiming to kickstart the New Year on a winning note, when they take on Newcastle United at the St. James’ Park on Wednesday night in matchweek 21 of the Premier League.
Coming on the back of three consecutive wins under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United have their tails up and will be aiming to carry the momentum forward against the Magpies.
With Manchester United playing their second game in space of three days, Solskjaer is likely to rotate his troops for the trip to the Tyneside. However, no change is expected between the sticks, with David De Gea a certainty to feature from the get go on Wednesday night.
Diogo Dalot could be set for a return to the starting XI at right-back, replacing veteran Ashley Young. However, Luke Shaw is expected to hold on to his spot on the opposite flank against the Magpies.
Solskjaer will, however, be forced into a change at the heart of the defence, following Eric Bailly’s sending off against Bournemouth this past weekend. Chris Smalling continues to be sidelined with an injury, while Marcos Rojo is also unavailable for the Red Devils, meaning Phil Jones is set to partner up Victor Lindelof at the back, with Matteo Darmian providing cover.
Speaking of his defensive options in his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer said: “That’s enough isn’t it? It should be enough with two! We’ll have to look at it, of course, but we’ve got Darmian, who can definitely play centre-back. I don’t think Rojo will make it so it will probably be Darmian as back-up centre-back.”
No changes are expected in the middle of the park for Manchester United, with the trio of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and star man Paul Pogba performing exceptionally well in recent matches. That would mean the likes of Fred and Andreas Pereira might have to wait for the FA Cup tie against Reading for a starting berth.
Manchester United have been boosted by the return of superstar Alexis Sanchez, who had been sidelined with an injury for over a month.
“Alexis has had some great training sessions over the last few days and wanted to be here [against Bournemouth] as well but we’ve had to manage him. He’s been out for a month. He will be involved [at Newcastle], yes,” the interim boss confirmed.
The Chilean, however, is likely to feature from the bench, with Anthony Martial expected to hold on to his spot on the left flank. Jesse Lingard could be given some much-needed rest against Newcastle, with Juan Mata in line to replace him on the right.
Marcus Rashford came off with a knock against Bournemouth this past weekend, but is expected to be available for the game. “I think Marcus would be okay. He’s been working so hard and has been a bit tired. But I think he will be alright [for Newcastle]. I hope so,” the manager said.
However, the Englishman is likely to be afforded some rest, with Romelu Lukaku set to start after scoring in his brief cameo against the Cherries.