Manchester United will host Nottingham Forest on Saturday as the Reds look to bounce back from their defeat to Spurs.
Manchester United have had an unimpressive start to the 2023/24 Premier League. The Reds are currently struggling with a number of issues stemming from the last two games. Adding to Erik ten Hag’s woes, Mason Mount and Luke Shaw have been ruled out due to injuries.
Rasmus Hojlund is still not available for selection, as revealed by Ten Hag during the pre-match press conference. United’s front three also hasn’t fired up yet, with centre-back Raphael Varane scoring the only goal of the season so far.
Forest, on the other hand, kicked off their Premier League season with a loss at the hands of Arsenal. However, a much-improved performance and a late goal from Chris Wood saw them beat Sheffield United last week.
Here are a few things to look out for ahead of the game:
#1- Who will replace Luke Shaw?
Ten Hag has another major headache in finding Shaw’s replacement in the starting 11. Shaw’s backup, Tyrell Malacia, is already injured, and hence Ten Hag doesn’t have many options in the left-back position.
Academy player Alvaro Fernandez, who played in the pre-season, is a like-for-like replacement for Shaw. However, he has yet to make his debut, which will be a big moment for the 20-year-old. Another unpopular take is to shift Martinez to the position and include Lindelof in the middle of the defense.
#2- United’s injury crisis continues in midfield too
Mason Mount has picked up an injury and will not be available for United’s next couple of matches, including a mouth-watering clash against Arsenal. Mount’s performance, however, in the previous two matches was put under a lot of scrutiny, with many raising questions about whether Casemiro and Mount can work together in the midfield.
With him sidelined, Christian Eriksen remains the most likely player Ten Hag would turn to. Other midfielder, Scott McTominay’s future at United is uncertain, and he may be forced to sit on the bench. United still haven’t made any significant progress in acquiring the services of Sofyan Amrabat and Rayan Gravenberch.
#3- Manchester United wingers will have a busy day
Nottingham Forest play with a back three, with two attacking wingbacks ably supporting their team’s attackers. Serge Aurier and Neco Williams will look to overload the midfield, thus creating pressure to win the midfield battle. On paper, this doesn’t sound good for United.
To prevent this, United’s attackers have to put in extra shifts to contain both wingbacks. However, from what the fans have seen in the last two games, United are heavily weak on their wing play. On top of that, the absence of Shaw has put a huge dent in United’s defense.
Forest have also strengthened themselves with the signing of World Cup winner Gonzalo Montiel, who will provide tough competition to Aurier for a place in the starting 11.
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