The Starting Lineup: No Martial, No Cavani, Who Could Break In?

Edinson Cavani and Manchester United

The time has come to forget all about the hauntings of the international break. The Premier League and Manchester United are back. We play against Newcastle on Saturday Evening. The time has also come to forget whatever the result against Tottenham was (anyone remember? I don’t) because the next game is always the most important. This one, however, poses a problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Anthony Martial is out and Edinson Cavani cannot come out of quarantine yet. That leaves a whole in our classic formation of three up front. So who will get in the starting lineup front for Manchester United this weekend against Newcastle? I’m Millsy’s View and here are the candidates:

Marcus Rashford

It’s pretty much nailed on that this man will be involved. With Martial out, Marcus Rashford is our most senior forward. I don’t think he will step into the central role for this one, even after being fresh from being awarded an MBE. He tried to play there Solskjaer first came in and it didn’t work so he will probably stay on the wing.

Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood is one of the best two-footed youngers to come through in a long time. His finishing ability is seriously next level, he has the nutmeg finish from Solskjaer down to a tee. He has played until now down the right wing, but I think he definitely has the ability to lead the line.

He should be involved after having a rest. If he were to step into the middle, then Dan James could step in on the right. That is not my most favoured option for Manchester United’s starting lineup. Greenwood has been deadly from the right coming in.

Mason Greenwood playing for Manchester United
Image Credit: AS English

Daniel James

Daniel James got off to an explosive start last season. Following that, however, his form dipped rather extremely, like off a cliff, following that and he has shown signs of pressure ever since. He has only made two appearances for Manchester United this season, so won’t be match fit. The pressure on the side following that capitulation will also have stepped up a notch so this may not be the best time for a player like James to make an appearance.

As I said before, this wouldn’t be my preferred option for United’s starting lineup. However, I do believe it is the most likely that Solskjaer will choose.

Odion Ighalo

I once wrote that Odion Ighalo has the firepower to see United through. And, at the time, I meant it. He hasn’t really hit the heights or seen the minutes that I thought he might, but I do still believe he could do a job leading the line. He seems to me to be the only out and out striker that Manchester United could use right now. Our other players are all wingers, and we have already seen how they cannot lead a line, hence why I favour him to start with Rashford and Greenwood on the wing.

Facundo Pellistri

Facundo Pellistri joined us on the same day as Cavani, but “in theory could be in contention” to start against Newcastle United. I see this as highly unlikely to be honest. He only started training on Wednesday and probably won’t be fit.

Playing Two Up Top?

One thing that I saw on Twitter be mooted was the option of playing two up top. It is not very often that we see such a formation played these days from anyone. However, with a gaffer in charge who so famously thrived as part of a partnership, could we see it’s blazing return to the Premier League?

Author: Nicholas Mills