The international break arrived in timely fashion for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose Manchester United side have underwhelmed at the start of the Premier League season.
Having taught Chelsea a lesson on the counter-attack in their opening game, the Red Devils subsequently picked up just two points in their following three games, including an embarrassing defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
The break should have allowed for some of United’s stars, such as Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw to recover from injuries. The pair have been ruled out – and so has Paul Pogba (!) – while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard are doubtful.
Up next are Leicester, who are the favourites to challenge the top six this season. Brendan Rodgers’ side have been solid at the back despite the loss of Harry Maguire and have dangerous attacking players, such as Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.
To try to overcome their threat, here’s the United XI that Solskjaer should field this weekend, considering their injury problems.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
David de Gea (GK) – The Spaniard has taken his dodgy form from last season into the new campaign, beaten at the near post by Patrick van Aanholt’s winner for Palace. Nevertheless, De Gea remains by far United’s best goalkeeper.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – Renowned for his defensive ability, Wan-Bissaka has made 6.5 tackles per game so far this season – the most in the division. With 1.8 dribbles per game also, the England Under-21 international is behind only Martial in the United squad, demonstrating that he has variety to his game. Wan-Bissaka is touch-and-go for Leicester, but will play if fit.
Victor Lindelöf (CB) – The 25-year-old has made a shaky start to the season, tamely losing a header to Jeffrey Schlupp for Jordan Ayew’s opener for Palace. However, considering the alternatives are Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, Lindelöf should and will be given the chance to form an understanding with Maguire.
Harry Maguire (CB) – The England international has made a solid start to life at Old Trafford, dominating aerially and playing out from the back comfortably.
Ashley Young (LB) – A painful name for United fans to see on the team sheet, Shaw’s injury necessitates that Young plays, where he can surely do a job for a week or two.
Scott McTominay (DM) – The 22-year-old does not look out of place in United’s midfield, doing the hard yards with surprising quality in possession. Possesses far more mobility than the ageing Nemanja Matic.
Nemanja Matic (DM) – Pogba’s injury is a huge blow for the team, with others required to step up and provide the creative force. At 31, Matic is on the decline but is probably the leading alternative to the Frenchman. Fred exists too though, I think??
Andreas Pereira (RM) – The Brazilian has never convinced in a United shirt, but injuries have forced his inclusion into the team. The 23-year-old needs to prove his worth to the United fans.
Juan Mata (AM) – Now 31 and not the star playmaker he once was, Mata can still show glimpses of quality but also goes missing often too. With Lingard’s poor form, the Spaniard will be desperate to take this opportunity to stake a regular place in the first team.
Daniel James (LM) – With three goals in three starts, the summer signing from Swansea has been a shining light in an otherwise dim United team. The Welshman has impressed with his pace and shooting technique.
Marcus Rashford (ST) – Rashford has a rare chance in his favoured number nine position and will be keen to prove his quality. The England international has had a mixed start to the season, with undoubted ability requiring consistency.