Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired nine years ago, Ten Hag will become the eighth different manager to oversee a Manchester United game this weekend. The Dutchman will be raring for a positive start to his life at Old Trafford and help the club clinch a spot in the top four this season, having finished down in sixth last term.
With last season’s harrowing 4-0 away defeat to Brighton still fresh, the Red Devils will be seeking revenge on their home turf.
Manchester United Team News
Anthony Martial suffered a hamstring injury in Man United’s 1-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid in Oslo and is set to miss the Red Devils’ season-opener against Brighton.
Today's the day.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 7, 2022
However, the good news for Erik ten Hag is Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho have recovered from illness and returned to training on Thursday.
Predicted Manchester United lineup vs Brighton (4-2-3-1)
David de Gea has been Ten Hag’s first-choice goalkeeper over the pre-season and is expected to start against Brighton. He will be hoping to start the new campaign at home with a clean sheet.
The Red Devils have strengthened their backline with the signings of Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez from Feyenoord and Ajax respectively. Malacia and Martinez both could get their taste of Premier League football on Sunday, with the former starting at left-back and the latter in central defence.
Skipper Harry Maguire will be raring for a better campaign compared to last. He will start alongside Martinez at the heart of the United backline. Diogo Dalot impressed at right-back over the pre-season and is set to keep his place ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka on Sunday.
Ten Hag is likely to rely on Scott McTominay and Fred as the double pivot until the club manages to bring in a holding midfielder. With Fred screening the backline, McTominay will be given the license to go forward, win possession higher up the pitch and contribute to United’s attacks as much as possible.
If Ten Hag employs the false 9 system, he might want more creativity from midfield and hand new signing Christian Eriksen his competitive debut.
With Anthony Martial ruled out, and if Cristiano Ronaldo is not deemed fully fit to start the game, there is every chance Ten Hag starts Bruno Fernandes as the false 9. Jadon Sancho’s recovery from illness is a positive sign and remains likely to start on the right flank, with Marcus Rashford keeping his place on the left.
Alejandro Garnacho might grab a place among the substitutes after impressing in United’s final pre-season game against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.