Manchester United is without six players for the match against Leeds this evening.
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has handed Marcel Sabitzer his first start since joining on loan from Bayern Munich last week with several other enforced changes from the win over Crystal Palace last weekend. United got back to winning ways in the league against Palace having lost to Arsenal and drawn against Patrick Vieira’s club last month.
They looked to be cruising to victory when Bruno Fernandes scored from the spot before Marcus Rashford doubled United’s lead midway through the second half. But United was soon on the backfoot when Casemiro was shown a straight red card for putting his hands on Will Hughes’ throat.
Jeffrey Schlup halved the deficit minutes later, but United was able to hold on for a valuable win that moved them up to third in the table. Tonight’s match against Leeds is another opportunity for United to climb higher up the league and to within just five points of leaders Arsenal.
However, Ten Hag is down to the bare bones on his first-team squad with six players ruled out of tonight’s match. Casemiro is unavailable now for the next three games while Antony, Anthony Martial, and Scott McTominay are also ruled out through injury.
Both Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are long-term absentees, meaning Ten Hag is light of options in midfield. Multiple reports have stated that Sabitzer has been handed his first start since joining on loan, while Alejandro Garnacho has also been given the nod in Antony’s absence.
Diogo Dalot is also back in the starting line-up having recovered from a hamstring injury. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has impressed at right-back in Dalot’s absence and earned high praise from Ten Hag after the Englishman previously appeared to be on his way out of Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst make up the forward positions alongside Garnacho in attack. Jadon Sancho is still waiting for his first start with United since October after three months out due to physical and mental wellbeing issues.
But Ten Hag is confident that he’ll be able to call upon the Englishman when needed. “It is always important that players enjoy football because that gives energy and also the motivation to act and to perform,” the United boss said.
“The reception from the fans to him was great and that will give him even more a push to continue in the way he is now acting. He has just started again, he is back in Carrington, and hopefully he can keep that and really contribute to the team because when he is in form he is important to us.”