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Predicted Man Utd line-up vs Brighton – Three debutants, Ronaldo starts

Manchester United start off their Premier League campaign today with a home game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Red Devils had a mixed pre-season under new manager Erik ten Hag. They won their first three outings before picking up two draws and one defeat.

Despite the results, there was a definite improvement in the style of play with more urgency and eagerness to get on the ball unlike last season.

Ten Hag will now want the players to replicate the showing against the Seagulls in his first competitive game in charge of United in front of home fans.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Predicted Line-up:

David de Gea was unconvincing towards the end of pre-season where his reluctance to make high claims were visible. Despite this, the Spaniard is a clear-cut starter with Dean Henderson having been loaned out. He is expected to start between the sticks this afternoon, though he needs to adapt to Ten Hag’s playing style which involves playing out from the back with more sweeping actions.

In front of him, it could be a straightforward choice for Ten Hag in our opinion. Diogo Dalot is the better attacking right-back than Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and he is also solid defensively. The Portuguese is expected to get the nod over the former Crystal Palace graduate.

On the other end, Tyrell Malacia looks set to make his full debut for United. Luke Shaw missed the final two pre-season games with an illness. Malacia barely put a foot wrong in the friendlies, and his better all-round attributes which include strong tackling skills, should give him the edge.

At the heart of the defence, Harry Maguire should be an assured starter as the captain. Ten Hag has made it clear that the England international will keep the armband, but we are backing him to make the starting line-up ahead of the likes of Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

Maguire featured on the right side of central defence in pre-season which gave a clear indication over Ten Hag’s plans to integrate Lisandro Martinez into the XI. The left-footed centre-back should make his debut besides Maguire. Ten Hag confirmed earlier this week that the Argentine is fit to start.

In the centre of the park, we don’t see Ten Hag going with two defensive midfielders in the form of Fred and Scott McTominay. It could be one or the other. Fred got sent off towards the end of the Atletico Madrid friendly for a rash tackle, but he was lively during the opening half in Oslo.

The Brazilian has a much better workrate than McTominay, and he could feature in the number six role with Christian Eriksen playing just in front of him. Eriksen impressed from a central position at Brentford with his key passes. The new signing should provide a new dimension to the midfield with his creativity.

Further forward, Ten Hag would ideally like to pick his regular quartet from pre-season which were Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. That won’t happen today with Martial having been ruled out for potentially two games with a minor hamstring injury.

Ten Hag has the option of playing with a false number nine, but we fancy Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the line like last season. The Portuguese’s future has been a constant topic of speculation, but one thing is for sure, he would assure the club with goals. The 37-year-old always gives his best on the field.

How Man Utd could line up vs Brighton

Stats from Transfermarkt.com