Erik ten Hag may be forced to fill round holes with square pegs when Manchester United face Crystal Palace at Old Trafford this afternoon. The Red Devils will be without as many as nine senior players, with injury problems mounting up for the Red Devils ahead of a crucial run of fixtures.
Express Sport takes a look at how United could line up to face Palace on home soil later today…
Goalkeeper – Onana
Andre Onana will almost certainly start between the sticks for United despite making a slow start to life at Old Trafford. The former Inter Milan stopper has already made a number of high-profile errors while shipping 10 goals in just six Premier League matches.
He will be desperate to claim his third clean sheet of the campaign against Palace but will need to keep the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze quiet in order to do so.
Defence – Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw
United’s defence will be a far cry from their strongest back four against Palace, with the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw all injured. Tyrell Malacia and Sergio Reguilon will also be unavailable to face the Eagles, with Victor Lindelof likely to be forced into doing a job at left-back as a result.
Diogo Dalot will be tasked with lining up on the right, while a central pairing of Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire could be selected by Ten Hag in the absence of better options.
Midfield – Casemiro, Amrabat, Hannibal
Casemiro appears to have finally recaptured his form in midfield after an initial slow start and will likely be given the nod against Palace. He looks set to be joined in the engine room by Sofyan Amrabat, who impressed against the Eagles in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
Hannibal Mejbri might also be trusted to start in the middle of the park for United following his strong performance against Burnley last weekend.
Attack – Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund
Bruno Fernandes would usually feature in midfield for United but could instead be moved onto the right wing, with the Red Devils thin on the ground in terms of options on the flanks. The Portuguese maestro is effective in a number of positions and is too important to be left out, which suggests that he could be made to operate in a different role than usual against Palace.
Marcus Rashford will be the standout candidate to feature on the other side for United, while Rasmus Hojlund will be raring to lead the line after playing just 15 minutes in midweek. Antony, meanwhile, will be available for selection again from next weekend.
Possible Man Utd XI vs Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1) – Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Lindelof; Casemiro, Amrabat; Fernandes, Hannibal, Rashford; Hojlund.