Line-ups Debate: Who replaces Scott?
Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that midfielder Scott McTominay will miss Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton with a foot problem.
McTominay joins Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane as fresh absentees, while Edinson Cavani is still out after suffering an injury during the international break.
While Alex Telles is the obvious replacement for Shaw at left-back and Victor Lindelof has been, more often than not, the man to come in for Varane when he has been absent this season, pinpointing McTominay’s stand-in is a little more difficult.
Fred has been one of United’s most impressive performers since Rangnick came in as interim boss in December and is likely to retain his place in the middle of the park, albeit in a more attacking role.
Paul Pogba started last week’s 1-1 draw with Leicester in a more advanced position and can play deeper, although he is yet to be deployed as the sitting ‘no.6’ in Ralf’s 4-3-3 formation.
Nemanja Matic would be a more like-for-like replacement for Scott and the Serbian has provided drive and energy off the bench on several occasions in recent weeks – could he do so from the start on Merseyside?
What might Ralf do? Let us know by voting in the poll, but first read our opinions on the matter…
SCOTT OUT, NEMANJA IN?
For me, Nemanja Matic has been one of United's more impressive performers in recent weeks, regularly providing impetus and forward thrust when introduced. The Serbian has long been a reliable option from the bench, whether the Reds are chasing a game or trying to protect it, but it's time he was given the nod from the start as United's only true specialist sitting midfielder in McTominay's absence. If, with Cristiano Ronaldo back as the spearhead of the attack, Ralf returns to the 4-3-3 system he has used for most games since the turn of the year, Nema could sit as the holder, with the in-form Fred and Bruno Fernandes in the more attacking 'no.8' roles. We'd then have two of Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford on the wing, with the other - plus Paul Pogba - available to bring off the bench in the second half if needed. That sounds like a good recipe for success in this must-win encounter with the struggling Toffees, for me.
POGBA TO SIT DEEP
Paul Pogba’s contract may be expiring but, as Ralf Rangnick has continued to stress, there is every reason to utilise his qualities in the run-in whatever happens in the summer regarding any new deal. The World Cup winner’s ability is plain for all to see and I recall him having a really impressive game at Goodison on the left-hand side in the past (in 2018, I believe). While Nemanja Matic will offer more protection to the defence, and allow Fred to maintain his impressive form higher up the pitch, Pogba is capable of unlocking defences and setting the Reds away on the break, as he did for Jadon Sancho in the Manchester derby. It's the sort of game where Everton are likely to attack from the outset, in a bid to get the home crowd on side, and they may leave holes at the back which our no.6 could exploit with his range of passing. It always feels like a smallish pitch at Goodison with the fans right on top of the players and this could be an occasion where the strength and subtlety in Pogba’s play helps the Reds come out on top in what is sure to be a bruising battle.
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