Manchester United’s head coach, Erik ten Hag, faces a selection conundrum ahead of their Premier League encounter with Brentford at Old Trafford, slated for 3pm on Saturday.
This season has seen the Red Devils falter on several occasions, enduring six defeats across various tournaments. Their most recent loss, a shocking 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray in the midweek Champions League clash, has raised many eyebrows. During this fixture, Brazilian forward Antony marked his comeback, entering the field in the latter stages as a replacement for English midfielder Mason Mount. Antony’s re-entry may see him getting his first start since the setback against Arsenal, possibly adding a new dimension to United’s attack.
In the lead-up to the Brentford clash, Ten Hag opened up about his squad considerations. He remarked, “I think he’s [Antony] ready for a start. We’ve had to make changes almost every game. You make mistakes as a team and the opponent can take benefit from it, so we need to be on the same page. We need communication in such moments and to be well organised.”
The United camp is currently missing key figures like Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, and loaned-in Spurs full-back Sergio Reguilon, leaving them thin in the left-back position. Given this scenario, Sofyan Amrabat seems poised to retain his spot, even though his last outing against Galatasaray wasn’t his finest.
On the attacking front, Ten Hag has a bit more room to maneuver. At his recent press interaction, he voiced confidence in Marcus Rashford’s ability to bounce back to form. This could be a sign that Rashford, fresh from being called up for international duty, is still very much part of Ten Hag’s plans. The anticipated starting XI could see Hannibal Mejbri making room for Antony, paving the way for skipper Bruno Fernandes to occupy his preferred No.10 role. Another name to watch out for would be Alejandro Garnacho, who might be in contention to start.
Projected Manchester United XI against Brentford (4-2-3-1): Onana; Dalot, Varane, Lindelof, Amrabat; Casemiro, Mount; Antony, Fernandes (capt), Rashford; Hojlund.