Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba will start, but Fred is unavailable due to an injury ahead of Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Norwich City.
Manchester United will be eager to keep their faint top-four hopes alive when they play hosts to Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. And Ralf Rangnick has been handed a blow on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Fred is the latest absentee for Manchester United after picking up a hip injury against Everton last weekend. The Brazilian international has joined Luke Shaw (leg), Raphael Varane (knock), Scott McTominay (foot), and Edinson Cavani (calf) on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Mason Greenwood remains suspended due to off-field issues.
During his pre-match press conference, Rangnick provided an update on all the players who are unavailable due to their respective fitness issues. The Manchester United interim boss first confirmed that five players are sidelined before giving more details on Shaw’s issues.
“Five players will still be missing for tomorrow, and probably some of them also for the upcoming games. You already mentioned Fred and Scott. Rapha Varane, Luke Shaw had his bolts and metal stuff removed from his leg and Edinson Cavani, those are the five that will be missing.”
“Yeah, as it seems, he [Shaw] will be out for at least another four weeks, if not five weeks. So I think for him it will be difficult to be available for one of the outstanding remaining seven games.”
Rangnick also talked about Varane in an exclusive chat with the Manchester United media, saying, “I think probably with Raphael Varane he’s the one who can hopefully can back for at least one of the next two games against Liverpool or Arsenal. With the others, I don’t see them coming back within the next couple of days.”
With Varane still unavailable, Victor Lindelof will continue as Harry Maguire’s partner at the heart of the Manchester United defence. Shaw’s continued absence means there is no looking past Alex Telles in the left-back slot. So the only change at the back will come at right-back, with Diogo Dalot replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Up ahead in midfield, Rangnick has no choice but to hand Nemanja Matic a start, considering Fred and McTominay are out for the foreseeable future. Matic has confirmed this week that he will leave Manchester United in the summer, meaning the Norwich game will be one of his final outings for the Red Devils.
Matic will have Paul Pogba starting alongside him in the double-pivot, meaning the Frenchman will take up a withdrawn position on the pitch. So Bruno Fernandes will be back to reprising his usual no. 10 role, playing off compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo will spearhead the Manchester United attack, with Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga being the two wide-attackers. Elanga’s return means Marcus Rashford will drop to the bench, with Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard being the other backup options in the final third.
Predicted Manchester United XI: de Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo