Manchester United are set to host Brighton & Hove Albion this Sunday as the Premier League season kicks off.
The first game of the season usually brings excitement to the fans. However, the news that Anthony Martial is ruled out of the season’s opener is a massive blow.
The Athletic reported that the Frenchman has suffered a minor hamstring problem which will keep him out of the Premier League curtain-raiser.
The 26-year-old was out-of-favour at United last season but his resurgence in pre-season made him a favourite to start in the number nine position.
Erik ten Hag now has a major decision to make in his first league game.
Who should lead the line against Brighton?
The Old Trafford giants allowed Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard to leave after their contracts expired at the end of the last campaign.
This leaves the Dutchman with Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford as the potential options to fill in for Martial.
Amad Diallo can also play as a central striker. He replaced Ronaldo in the pre-season game against Rayo Vallecano and scored United’s only goal.
However, Amad is still very young and it is difficult to see him get that spot in the starting 11.
Ten Hag has been vocal about Ronaldo’s fitness issues. The veteran didn’t join the team on their tour to Bangkok and Australia due to ‘family reasons’.
The new manager believes that the 37-year-old needs some more training sessions under his belt to gain full fitness. He might start the game on the bench, coming on in the second half if goals are required.
This leaves Rashford as the only possible option who can lead the line this weekend. If the England international does start as a striker, ten Hag has to fill the left-wing spot with either Anthony Elanga or Alejandro Garnacho.
The latter caught the eyes with a stunning performance against Vallecano. He offered blistering pace, creativity and fearlessness to take on the defenders.
If the wing spot is vacant, Garnacho should be given an opportunity to show his talent at Old Trafford again.
The Seagulls are not a team that can be taken lightly. United suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat when they visited the Amex Stadium this year.
Hopefully, ten Hag will be able to inspire his troops and fetch the three important points against tough opposition.
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