Manchester United went into the international break in the midst of an injury crisis.
Erik ten Hag was without Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, and Raphael Varane for the final game before the break, a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal. Lisandro Martinez, meanwhile, was forced off during that game after a challenge on Eddie Nketiah.
Sofyan Amrabat was signed too late to feature at the Emirates but joined up with his national side for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, only to withdraw through injury. It left United fans watching from behind the sofa as the remaining fit players represented their respective countries.
But on the injury front, things are starting to look up. Martinez linked up with his Argentina teammates for international duty, Amrabat’s issue doesn’t look to be serious and Mount is hoping to be back for United’s opening Champions League group stage clash at Bayern Munich – there is even some hope he could be back to face Brighton.
Rasmus Hojlund, meanwhile, made his United debut at Arsenal having arrived at the club with a back problem. When Ten Hag picks his side to face Brighton on Saturday, he may actually have some selection decisions to make.
The Dutchman could give Hojlund his first start. The Denmark international caused Arsenal plenty of problems in his cameo last weekend, providing a presence that had been lacking before his arrival and allowing Marcus Rashford to take up his natural spot on the left.
Confirmation on Sunday that Antony will take a leave of absence means he will likely miss the game against Brighton, and Jadon Sancho’s fallout with Ten Hag could see a gap open up on the right. Mount is hopeful he can be fit in time to feature and could show his versatility by drifting in from the right. Should he be absent, Facundo Pellistri could finally get his chance.
Midfield has been a particular point of concern for United and Ten Hag might be minded to shore things up in that area. Morocco head coach Walid Regragui insisted that Amrabat’s withdrawal from the squad was precautionary and the 27-year-old could be handed a debut at Old Trafford on Saturday, offering more stability and support for Casemiro while allowing Bruno Fernandes to create further forward.
At the back, a debut could be handed to Sergio Reguilon, who was registered to feature in the squad at Arsenal but did not come on.
Martinez did not feature for Argentina on Friday but by travelling to South America he all but confirmed he should be fit to face Brighton on Saturday. He will likely partner Victor Lindelof at center-back, despite Harry Maguire proving he can manage 90 minutes for England against Ukraine, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andre Onana will likely retain their respective places.