Man Utd crisis leaves Erik ten Hag with three obvious changes for Bayern Munich
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will be looking for some form of inspiration in the Champions League opening match against Bayern Munich this week with wholesale changes needed from the team that lost to Brighton. With Antony taking a period of absence due to the abuse allegations against him and Jadon Sancho exiled from the squad as punishment for his outburst on social media, Ten Hag opted to change his system for the match against Brighton.
Four midfielders were used with Casemiro joined by Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen while Bruno Fernandes played in an unorthodox role out wide. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was too ill to start, with Sergio Reguilon making his debut on the left flank.
There was a boost in central defence as Lisandro Martinez made his return from injury. However, United were all at sea in defence with Wan-Bissaka’s presence on the right side hugely missed.
Reguilon struggled on his United debut also up against Simon Adingra and the change in formation in midfield failed to work either. Fernandes will want to be back in a more central attacking role for United’s trip to Bayern, where he’s far more productive.
The experiment of playing with three more central midfielders may also have to be abandoned with either Eriksen or McTominay making way. That would open up a spot in attack for either Alejandro Garnacho or Facundo Pellistri to start.
The two young wingers can offer something different down United’s right flank and are more suited to that role than Fernandes. Changes will need to be made in defence as well with Ten Hag hopeful Wan-Bissaka will be fit enough to return to the starting line-up.
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The England star will likely take back his role on the right with Diogo Dalot pushed out to the left in place of Reguilon. But United’s woes at the back may also create an opportunity for Harry Maguire to be given a chance to show what he can do in the starting line-up.
Martinez will almost certainly start against Bayern, but Lindelof can be dropped for Maguire. Ten Hag will have to call upon the England international at some point this season and giving him a chance now could help provide a boost for both the player and the club.
Away from Old Trafford and cruel Premier League crowds, Maguire will be able to avoid the harsh scrutiny he’s received in recent months. A trip to the Allianz Arena for their first Champions League game was always going to be a tough task for United.
But the match could easily act as a springboard for the rest of the season if Ten Hag is able to find the right formula.
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