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Predicted Manchester United XI to face FC Sheriff: Erik ten Hag to go full strength (Europa League)

Michael Tunstall

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Predicted Manchester United XI to face FC Sheriff: Erik ten Hag to go full strength (Europa League)

Manchester United travel to Moldova to take on FC Sheriff this Thursday in the second game of their Europa League campaign.

Due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, United’s Premier League fixtures on either side of this tie have been postponed. With an international break looming and United’s next fixture set to be a trip to Manchester City on 2 October, it’s fair to assume that Erik Ten Hag will go close to full strength with his selection against FC Sheriff.

Last time out, United came up short at Old Trafford against Real Sociedad thanks to a dubious, second-half penalty which saw the visitors run out 1-0 winners. FC Sheriff on the other hand began their Europa League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Cypriot outfit, Omonia.

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The Europa League has been earmarked as a competition to be taken seriously by Ten Hag and in the eyes of the majority, it’s the most realistic chance of silverware this season, which adds further importance to Thursday’s fixture in Moldova.

After an underwhelming performance last Thursday, none of the players on the fringes grasped the opportunity to stake a place in Ten Hag’s regular XI. Casemiro seems to still be in the adjusting phase and Cristiano Ronaldo is still searching for match sharpness after missing the majority of The Reds’ pre-season preparations.

It’s evident that the United boss has a preferred eleven currently and anyone looking to break into that will find it difficult.

Even Casemiro is struggling to oust the in-form Scott McTominay. Only De Gea, Dalot, Malacia, Eriksen and Antony from Ten Hag’s last Premier League line-up kept their place for the game against Real Sociedad in a much changed side.

Casemiro of Manchester United. (Man Utd)
Casemiro of Manchester United. (Man Utd)

Whilst there will likely be some changes against FC Sheriff with no game for over two weeks after Thursday, Ten Hag will be keen to play the majority of his regular starters.

Marcus Rashford, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed training this week which may mean they won’t be involved on Thursday. Luke Shaw could be in contention after returning to training whilst youngsters Charlie McNeill and Marc Jurado trained with the first-team.

Manchester United’s best defence has been established in recent weeks and we could see all four return to the fold against FC Sheriff. Casemiro and Ronaldo need more minutes and the Europa League is the perfect competition to bring both up to speed.

Christian Eriksen has started every game for United this season and whilst he has been impressive, it could be a good opportunity to give the Danish midfielder a break before the hectic schedule once the international break ends. McTominay is in line to return after sitting out the defeat to Real Sociedad last week.

Manchester United's Christian Eriksen. (Alamy)
Manchester United's Christian Eriksen. (Alamy)

Antony is another player who is still settling at the club and another game in the Europa League could provide valuable for the Brazilian before he jets off on international duty with his United compatriots, Fred and Casemiro.

In the potential absence of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho could play on the left which many believe to be his best position.

Here is the full Predicted XI for Manchester United’s Europa League tie against FC Sheriff.

Predicted Manchester United XI

De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia, Casemiro, McTominay, Bruno, Antony, Ronaldo, Sancho.

Next up, Manchester United will make the short journey to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City after the international break, and then it’s a trip to Cyprus to face Omonia four days later in the Europa League.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Erik Ten Hag, Europa League, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo

Michael Tunstall
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