Manchester United are back in action on Saturday as they take on Leicester City in the Premier League.
The match will mark the start of a difficult run of fixtures for United, in which they will also face Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City as well as Atalanta home and away in the Champions League.
A strong performance at the King Power is crucial for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and his preparations haven’t been helped by the international break.
The break also claimed a victim in the form of Raphael Varane, who suffered a groin injury in France’s Nations League final triumph over Spain and is set for a few weeks on the sidelines.
His centre-back partner Harry Maguire remains a serious doubt for the match as well after picking up an injury against Aston Villa on September 25. The captain returned to full training on Friday so has a chance of being involved.
There is at least some good news on the injury front as Marcus Rashford could make his long-awaited return to the pitch. The forward hasn’t played so far this season after undergoing shoulder surgery in the summer but he has now been in full-contact training for two weeks and scored twice in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Blackburn Rovers last week.
Fellow forward Amad has also returned to training, though with the competition ahead of him it’s unlikely that he will be involved.
So which team will Solskjaer pick to face the Foxes? Well, here’s how our MEN writers think United should line-up and you can pick your own team in the widget below.
United have little choice but to go with Lindelof and Bailly, who have both fared well against Jamie Vardy in the past – unless Maguire is passed fit. Teden Mengi deserves to be on the bench if Maguire doesn’t make it. Aaron Wan-Bissaka had his best performance in months against Everton and it cannot be a coincidence it came after Diogo Dalot had a meaningful start in the Champions League.
Solskjaer needs to take advantage of the absence of Wilfred Ndidi with his midfield selection. Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have performed as a pair before and they have had ample rest ahead of today.
Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo are non-negotiables. Jesse Lingard merits an overdue league start.
Maguire might have trained on the grass for the first time on Friday but it would be a risk to throw him into the side after three weeks out and Lindelof and Bailly are experienced deputies. With Wan-Bissaka and Shaw the rest of the defence picks itself.
Midfield is difficult with Fred absent. Pogba has to start in a deeper role really, even though it hasn’t really worked for him yet this season. Matic is often his foil but the Serbian might be caught out physically by Leicester’s runners from midfield, so I would pick McTominay.
In attack there’s clearly an argument Lingard deserves a start, but he is earning a reputation as a super-sub and his future is far from certain. Sancho was lively as a sub against Everton and did well for England in Andorra, so he can get the chance to build on that, with Greenwood on the right and Ronaldo through the middle.
Solskjaer has previously been guilt of rushing players back from injury but he can’t take any risks this weekend, it means Lindelof and Bailly are the only real option to start in central defence. The same can be said about Wan-Bissaka and Shaw out wide.
United need to be cautious to the counter-attack so Matic and McTominay make sense as a midfield two with Fernandes taking his customary role in the attacking role.
Lingard is perhaps better suited to an impact substitute role but needs game time if he is to be convinced of a new deal. It would be great to see him start on the right in the place of Greenwood. Pogba edges Rashford for the starting role on the left and Ronaldo is the only choice at No.9.