Manchester United host West Ham at Old Trafford this Saturday as they look to move back into the Premier League’s top four.
The Red Devils were outclassed on Wednesday night as Barcelona secured a 1-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League fixture, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men now having to head to Camp Nou with a deficit to overturn.
That was the Norwegian’s fourth loss in five games in all competitions, their 2-1 league defeat at Wolves last time out leaving his side three points behind Tottenham in the final qualification place for next season’s elite European competition.
Visitors West Ham go into the clash off the back of successive 2-0 losses against Everton and Chelsea, the latter coming last Monday courtesy of a mercurial display from Eden Hazard.
Here are the players Solskjaer may turn to for Saturday’s clash against the Hammers.
3. Goalkeeper & Defenders
David de Gea (GK) – The Spaniard has been named in the PFA Team of the Year on five occasions but is likely to miss out this season after a slightly underwhelming campaign. Despite not achieving the performance levels he reached previously, De Gea remains one of United’s most reliable players.
Diogo Dalot (RB) – The continued absence of Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian could see the young Portuguese revert back to his more familiar position in defence. Dalot has been as effective going forward as he has protecting his own goal for Solskjaer.
Victor Lindelof (CB) – The 24-year-old took some time to adjust to the intensity of the Premier League but now seems assured, developing into one of the most consistent performers at Old Trafford.
Chris Smalling (CB) – Tasked with shackling the wondrous Lionel Messi during Wednesday’s Champions League quarter final tie, Smalling was able to keep the maestro quiet for the majority of the contest. He did, however, show a distasteful side to his game, blindsiding the Barça frontman with a clattering challenge.
Marcos Rojo (LB) – With regular left backs Ashley Young and Luke Shaw both suspended for the clash with the Hammers, Rojo is likely to be given a chance to impress by Solskjaer. Injury has curtailed his campaign, the Argentine’s sole appearance in 2019 coming against Watford in the last league game staged at Old Trafford.
Scott McTominay (CM) – The Red Devils academy graduate was afforded an opportunity in the first team by Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho. McTominay has not looked out of place in the side and recently opened his account for the club with an arrowing long-range effort at Wolves.
Fred (CM) – The £52m acquisition of Fred was looking increasingly like poor business from CEO Ed Woodward, but the Brazilian has made more of an impact in recent games.
Paul Pogba (CM) – Real Madrid appear to have earmarked Pogba as one of the men to front their new-look squad, the La Liga giants feeling a revamp of their playing staff is required. It would take a sizeable fee to pry him away from United where he has become a crucial component in Solskjaer’s set-up.
Jesse Lingard (RW) – Another who has been hampered by fitness setbacks this term, Lingard will be eager to reestablish himself in United’s first choice lineup. The 26-year-old has not netted since the FA Cup victory at Arsenal in late January, a record he must set right in order to nail down a starting berth.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – The target man has a marvellous history against West Ham, scoring nine goals in his ten league appearances versus the Londoners; Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna will need to keep a watchful eye on the domineering striker.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – After a bland beginning to 2018/19 during Mourinho’s ill-fated tenure, Rashford has demonstrated his class with a string of fine displays under Solskjaer. His strong showings echo the team’s overall improvement under the Norwegian.