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Manchester United take on Kristiansund in Oslo for their fifth friendly game in pre-season. Having won all the games so far, United are back from China and getting closer to the first game of the season. The match takes place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s native country and the Norwegian will get a roaring welcome there. Also, the Scandinavian weather should be a much-needed break from the heat in Asia.
For those unaware, Kristiansund BK is a Norwegian side playing in the first division of the Eliteserien and have been in it for the last two years. Their season runs from March to November and hence now they’re halfway into their domestic season. So far, they’re placed seventh in the league having played just 14 games. They’re about 8 points from the Europa League qualification spots so there’s a decent chance that we may face them next season.
With the season starting about 12 days from now, the team will look to get 90 mins in the tank instead of the 45-60 mins they were playing so far. The game against them and AC Milan will be a quick peek into how we can expect Solskjaer to line the team up on the first day of the season. However, United have yet to complete their transfer signings as usual and any deals made in the last few days will be incorporated into the first team later which is why Solskjaer wanted the deals to be completed before the team left for pre-season. Lukaku has not been a part of the travelling squad which is a clear indication that he’s on his way out. We still need a centre-back, two central midfielders, and a right-winger to look like a top team again but the incompetence from the board has again left glaring vulnerabilities unattended to in our squad.
KO Date: Tuesday, 30th July 2019
Location: Ulleval Stadium, Oslo
KO Time – 18:00 BST
Managers – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Christian Michelsen
This lineup should be as close to the lineup that Solskjaer wants to field against Chelsea. So I expect a full-strength squad to play 90 minutes tomorrow. David De Gea in goal behind a back four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, and Luke Shaw. At the time of writing, Harry Maguire seems close but no deal has been agreed yet. He’ll only start against Chelsea if he plays against AC Milan in our last friendly game of the pre-season. We should play a midfield 5 of Matic or Andreas and McTominay as the pivot. This, I feel, is our biggest weakness after centre back. We need another midfield option because Matic is just not good enough. In attacking midfield, I’m interested in seeing if Solskjaer sees Martial as a striker or a left-winger. He has impressed at the number nine role so far and I’d like to see Martial and Rashford switching between themselves. Pogba plays in the middle with either Daniel James or Mason Greenwood at right-wing. Another alternative could be Pogba in the pivot in place of Matic or Andreas and Angel Gomes in the number 10 role.
David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira; Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Daniel James; Marcus Rashford
Score Prediction: 3-0 to United