Man United FC

Manchester United could unleash new unseen midfielder in Europa League fixture vs Sheriff

Man United will seek to get back on track when they travel to Moldova on Thursday night to face Sheriff Tiraspol.


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Manchester United will be determined to get back on track after having their scheduled trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace postponed on Sunday when they meet Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday evening.


The journey to Moldova, which will be the first meeting between the two clubs, provides United with the opportunity to try to earn their first point[s] in Group E after being defeated 1-0 by Real Sociedad in their first match last week. Following the 3-1 triumph against Arsenal four days earlier, manager Erik ten Hag decided to rotate his pack for the visit of the Spanish outfit to Old Trafford, making six changes.


It was a conclusion that came as no surprise to anyone. United are overwhelming favorites to emerge from Group E as group winners, and they have more than enough depth to ensure they do so.


However, their performance against Sociedad may be influenced by the solemn tone felt inside Old Trafford following the revelation of the Queen’s death just 90 minutes before kick-off, which served as a warning that they will not always get their way. The other three clubs in their group, Sociedad, Sheriff, and Omonia Nicosia, will see their matches against United as cup finals.


It’s why, in a season where they can’t afford to ignore the Europa League — given the possibility to break their trophy drought — United must leave nothing to chance against Sheriff, who has the ability to stun Europe’s most powerful clubs. Simply ask Real Madrid.


Following the cancellation of Sunday’s match against Leeds United, United will now go exactly a month without playing a Premier League tie, with the international break also on the horizon. Certain members of the squad, such as Marcus Rashford, now face missing a month of action if they are rested against Sheriff, after being rested against Sociedad.


The same might be said about Scott McTominay. He was also given a rest against Sociedad, allowing Casemiro to make his first start for United since joining from Real Madrid last month.


The Brazilian did not have the most memorable complete debut, failing to find any sort of rhythm, but it was evident that he requires more minutes on the pitch, functioning with players who will form Ten Hag’s strongest starting lineup. He deserves time to acclimatize to United’s style of play and to learn how others around him work.


Casemiro can only gain such insight through play. McTominay, to his credit, has improved since joining United from Real Madrid, justifying Ten Hag’s choice to keep him in the lineup.


However, there is a general consensus that Casemiro will eventually replace McTominay and slot into the defensive-midfield role that everyone expected him to fill after his recent arrival. Once the guard is changed, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes should play ahead of him in the midfield trio.


Eriksen and Fernandes have both firmly established themselves in Ten Hag’s top lineup in recent weeks, putting in outstanding performances. At United, Fernandes is the set No.10, while Eriksen has thrived as the shuttle between the two roles.


Casemiro started in midfield with Eriksen and Fred, although strangely, the latter was the most forward midfielder. Ten Hag’s decision backfired spectacularly.


As a result, bringing Fernandes back into the mix and pairing him with Casemiro and Eriksen would allow Ten Hag to test out what is likely to become his first-choice midfield. With due respect, it feels like the right time to test the waters against Sheriff, given it is a game that United is anticipated to win.


You may argue that the Leeds game, which was initially scheduled for three days later, was more important, and that Ten Hag couldn’t afford to take too many chances with his best players. However, with the Europa League and the looming postponement, United has an opportunity to telegraph their trophy intentions. If you play it correctly, it might be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

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