Manchester United have announced their team to face Leeds United in today’s Premier League opener.
The league got underway last night as Brentford marked their Premier League debut in style, beating Arsenal 2-0. United know that a bigger win than that will see them move to the top of the table for a couple of hours – and also that defeat by the same score would see them replace the Gunners at the foot of the table.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a mixture of availability concerns in his squad.
The signing of Raphael Varane has still not been completed and so the manager has been forced to pick the steady but occasionally error-prone duo of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire.
Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford were also unavailable so Anthony Martial’s season – and indeed career – has got something of a reprieve. You could say the same for David De Gea, who might not have expected to start the season as first choice, but does due to Dean Henderson’s recovery from illness.
“Edi is in the country,” Solskjaer said. “He’s just finishing off his isolation period. He’s had a little bit of extra time for personal reasons. Eric and Amad are also in the country waiting to get the all-clear to join the team again. They’ve had a very exciting summer of course, been in the Olympics, played games before that as well, so they should be fit before they come.”
Solskjaer talked up Martial – as well he might – and though he suggested he was going to keep him, he did seem to leave the door open for a move if an offer came in from an overseas club.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams targeted Anthony because he’s a very, very good player,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve got no plans for him to play against us. He’s coming back strong and hungry with a determination to prove his fitness, and his quality. Last season was a disappointing one for him and you can see that little bit of grit between his teeth again. He’s up for the challenge, he’s a Man United player and we’re happy that we have him. He’s proven doubters wrong so many times.”
The game is at Old Trafford and kicks off at 12:30pm – screened on television on BT Sport in the UK. United fans will be hoping their first game back in a full stadium for 18 months will be similar to Leeds’ December visit, when United won 6-2.
Wan-Bissaka Lindelof Maguire Shaw
James Greenwood Pogba
Subs : Heaton, Dalot, Williams, Matic, Van De Beek, Pereira, Mata, Sancho, Martial