Cristiano Ronaldo could start on the bench while Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia are set for their Manchester United debuts when they face Brighton.
Manchester United will face off against Graham Potter’s Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford in their first Premier League match of the 2022/23 campaign.
Heading up to the game, Manchester United have only one major injury concern as Anthony Martial, who looked good in pre-season, is sidelined with a thigh injury. “It is always difficult to say with these injuries, but hopefully not too long,” manager Erik ten Hag said about the Frenchman’s situation in his pre-match press conference.
Luke Shaw has recovered from an illness and was spotted training with the rest of the team this week, which comes as a boost. Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri are also likely to be available despite carrying some minor issues.
At the same time, Ten Hag also confirmed that new signings Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen are fit enough to start even though they have not had a lot of minutes in pre-season. “I think they are fit enough to start,” he said. Martinez could be in line for a starting berth at the heart of the Manchester United defence on Sunday against Brighton, where he will likely partner captain Harry Maguire.
At right-back, there is no looking past Diogo Dalot, who has usurped the first-choice spot from Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Despite Shaw’s return, new signing Tyrell Malacia could get the nod on the left flank after impressing in pre-season. As usual, David de Gea will be guarding the Manchester United goal.
Ten Hag does not have a whole host of options when it comes to the middle of the park. So, it is likely that the Dutchman will call upon the pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred to hold the fort in the double pivot. Donny van de Beek could be an option for the latter stages of the game.
While the manager insisted that Eriksen is fit enough to start, the Dane is likely to be named as a substitute, with Bruno Fernandes expected to get the nod in the No. 10 role, given his impressive record against Brighton & Hove Albion. Jadon Sancho should slot in on the left flank for Manchester United and look to carry forward his pre-season form.
Martial’s injury poses an issue for ten Hag and Manchester United, given the lack of options in the No. 9 role. Cristiano Ronaldo would be the obvious pick to start in the scenario. But the manager has previously insisted that the Portugal captain does not have enough minutes under his belt, having missed almost the entirety of the pre-season.
So, Ronaldo could find himself among the substitutes on Sunday, with Marcus Rashford starting in the centre-forward role. Anthony Elanga should occupy the final spot in the attacking third for Manchester United against Brighton.
Manchester United Predicted XI: De Gea, Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Fred, Elanga, Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford.