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How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly

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How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly

Manchester United will play Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday afternoon.

United have gone undefeated in pre-season this summer after their tour of Thailand and Australia, which gave Erik ten Hag’s side the opportunity to play friendly fixtures against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

The Reds have two pre-season games remaining and they will play both this weekend. United take on Atletico Madrid on Saturday in Oslo and Rayo Vallecano on Sunday at Old Trafford, with the Vallecano fixture expected to be used as a chance for fringe players and youngsters to get minutes.

Ten Hag has preferred to start this summer’s pre-season matches with a strong starting line up and the same is expected in Oslo.

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Here’s how our writers think United should line up:

Samuel Luckhurst

Ten Hag needs to have a good look at Lisandro Martinez and will doubtless start him with Harry Maguire. Luke Shaw was off the pace again in the second-half in Perth and doesn’t travel so Tyrell Malacia gets another start.

Christian Eriksen and Fred could be United’s starting midfield against Brighton, so it would be prudent to trial them together in Oslo. The front four has to be the same as it was in all but one of the four games in Thailand and Australia. Ronaldo is not going to be playing today.
How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly
Tyrone Marshall

Ten Hag has been picking his strongest team to start all pre-season and this is United’s hardest test of the summer. With a week until the campaign begins, he has to name the team he expects to start against Brighton in this fixture.

That would have meant De Gea in goal and Dalot and Shaw at full-back, but no Shaw in the travelling party likely means another start for Malacia. Martinez might not be ready for 90 minutes, but if he’s going to partner Maguire at the start of the season it makes sense to start them together, even if it’s just for 45 minutes or an hour.

Two of the midfield places are nailed down, with Fred and Fernandes guaranteed to start. The other position is open, with De Jong still not signed. McTominay probably has a slight edge on Van de Beek, but Eriksen is the wildcard to watch, even if including him would make it feel like a very attacking midfield.

With Ronaldo not travelling to Oslo, the front three is the most settled aspect of the team. Rashford, Sancho and Martial all had pretty good tours and they have developed a good understanding. A longer run-out against elite opposition will be worthwhile today.
How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly
Rich Fay

Ten Hag needs to give his strongest side a proper run-out before the season starts, and it could mean we see two debuts as a result.

Maguire is still the favoured centre-back and it would be great to see Martinez get his first official outing alongside him. Dalot and Malacia look set to start.

Eriksen has operated in a deeper midfield role in the last few years, and it would be fascinating to see him deployed there against Atletico. Fred deserves to keep his place and could make the deepest midfield role his own this season.

Up front, there are no surprises, with Sancho, Rashford and Martial having all impressed during pre-season.
How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly
Steven Railston

Maguire has started on the right side of the centre of defence in pre-season and that suggests Ten Hag has been preparing to welcome the left-footed Martinez. The Argentine reported for training at Carrington on Tuesday and he should make his first start.

Eriksen is expected to challenge Fernandes to start at No.10 but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play deeper. It would be interesting to see how much control over the game a midfield three of Eriksen, Fred and Fernandes can exercise.

The front three currently picks itself – hopefully Martial can continue his pre-season revival.

How Manchester United should line up vs. Atletico Madrid in pre-season friendly

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