Henderson for De Gea?
Dean Henderson was promised starts in both legs against Istanbul Basaksehir, although that was before Demba Ba was allocated two-thirds of the pitch by the United defence.
Henderson was blameless in Turkey three weeks ago and Basaksehir are still expected to receive the wooden spoon in Group H. They were the obvious opponents to give Henderson playing time against before the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Everton on December 23.
David de Gea has had a respectable start to the season and was as much of a matchwinner as Bruno Fernandes against West Brom. He is certain to keep his place in the Premier League at Southampton on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rant about player welfare is likely to be reflected by the number of changes he makes against Basaksehir. Henderson, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood are all pushing for starts.
Manchester United ground out a 1-0 win over West Brom to finally notch a victory at home in the Premier League this season.
It wasn’t pretty but it means two successive wins for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who have to balance league and Champions League commitments over a busy period in the coming weeeks.
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Solskjaer still has to tread a fine line in not underestimating the only side to have beaten United in the group so far. There were five changes in Istanbul earlier this month and the chosen XI should have been good enough to win but United were shambolic.
Van de Beek’s chance to shine?
We are almost a quarter of the way through the Premier League season and Donny van de Beek is yet to make his full league debut for United. The Dutchman has lined up in two of their three Champions League ties and would be the logical replacement for Bruno Fernandes if the Portuguese is rested against Basaksehir.
The theory Van de Beek will only truly flourish once Paul Pogba has left was undermined by his absence from the XI on Saturday when Pogba was out injured. Basaksehir at home is an opportunity for Van de Beek to kick-start his United career – if he is selected – and Cavani could start at the tip of the arrow.
The consensus prior to the away game with Basaksehir was United should qualify for the round-of-16 with two games to spare. Alas, they lost appallingly and if Basaksehir emulate fellow Istanbul sides Fenerbahce and Besiktas by winning at Old Trafford then all four teams in the group could be on six points.
United and RB Leipzig are currently on six but Leipzig are away at Paris Saint-Germain, currently on three points, on Tuesday night.
Can Wan-Bissaka channel Rafael?
There was a right-back theme to the pre-match Zoom calls on Monday, yet only one turned up. Rafael da Silva was on camera in the evening after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s no-show in the afternoon.
Da Silva, extroverted, buccaneering and often reckless, is just about the polar opposite to the introverted, risk-aversive and reticent Wan-Bissaka, whose near-faultless defending does not compensate for his absence in attack.
The 22-year-old has not ticked enough of the boxes for new United signings since the club invested £50million to sign him and it was telling Solskjaer listed ‘right-back’ among the positions where a player cannot ‘rest on your laurels’.