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3 ways Manchester United may line up in opposition to Brighton as Erik ten Hag prepares for Premier League bow

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Erik ten Hag is making ready for his Premier League bow (Image: Getty)

After a optimistic pre-season, the true enterprise begins for Erik ten Hag on Sunday as Manchester United host Brighton at Outdated Trafford on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

The Dutchman’s made a powerful begin to life on the Theatre of Desires and the gamers have responded effectively to his strategies, with the squad exhibiting optimistic early indicators that they will implement Ten Hag’s philosophy.

However the true take a look at comes on Sunday as Ten Hag’s pits his wits in opposition to Graham Potter’s facet at Outdated Trafford and the Dutchman has numerous choices to make as he appears to be like to make a successful begin to life on the membership.

Ten Hag has trialled numerous completely different techniques and alternatives in pre-season and given Brighton’s energy in possession, he has numerous tough choices to make when choosing his beginning XI and formation.

With that in thoughts,’s chosen three other ways the Dutchman could line his facet up in opposition to the Seagulls.

Possibility 1: Security first

Ten Hag has, most of the time, performed a 4-2-3-1 system on United’s pre-season tour.

The system permits United to press excessive, with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in a position to pin their full-backs again when out of possession whereas Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot can do the identical to their wingers.

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Whereas the pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay in midfield usually garnered groans from supporters final season, their duties are completely different underneath Ten Hag they usually’re not requested to ‘sit’ in the identical style that they did underneath Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

In defence, Ten Hag has – maybe surprisingly – advised that Harry Maguire is his first selection defender and he has determined to retain the England star as membership captain. Brighton’s energy from set items will certainly impression Ten Hag’s pondering and there’s few higher within the nation at defending the field than Maguire.

Lisandro Martinez has made simply two appearances for the membership since making his £47m transfer from Ajax however Ten Hag might be eager to get the Argentine extra minutes in order that he can rise up to hurry. Maguire would seem a very good associate for Martinez, with the pair’s contrasting kinds complimenting each other.

Anthony Martial scored 3 times in pre-season nevertheless it was his work-rate and business that can have impressed Ten Hag most. The Frenchman is just not identified for his business however he’s proven an uncharacteristic willingness to adapt to Ten Hag’s strategies and deserves to begin. Nevertheless, there may be hypothesis that the striker may miss the sport with a hamstring harm, which might be a harmful blow to his hopes of hitting the bottom operating this season.

Possibility 2: Ronaldo’s return

Query marks over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future have considerably overshadowed Ten Hag’s preparation for the season, with each press convention dominated with questions in regards to the 37-year-old.

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The Dutchman has insisted since his unveiling that he needs to work with Ronaldo and the membership keep the striker is just not on the market, regardless of him twice requesting to go away the membership within the final month.

Ronaldo was absent from United’s pre-season tour which implies he’s had simply 45 minutes of soccer because the season completed as he featured in opposition to Rayo Vallecano final Sunday.

That leaves Ronaldo desperately wanting health however with a reported harm to Martial, Ten Hag could possibly be compelled into the prospect of fielding a participant that’s had simply 45 minutes of pre-season motion.

Ought to Ten Hag make the choice to begin Ronaldo, he’ll should be surrounded by legs and meaning a midfield three of Fernandes, Fred and McTominay, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho set to begin on the wings it doesn’t matter what.

At left-back, Tyrell Malacia has shared the spot with Luke Shaw since his arrival from Feyenoord and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Netherlands worldwide given his Premier League debut.

Possibility 3: All-out assault

He’s not sometimes one for ‘dangers’ however Ten Hag may spring a shock along with his midfield choice on Sunday.

The signing of Christian Eriksen, whereas a powerful one, does elevate query marks over the system that United will play this season. The Dane is a standard attacking playmaker and does his greatest work taking part in simply behind the frontline. However that’s a place occupied by Bruno Fernandes and it seems unlikely that the Portuguese will lose his spot given his numbers since becoming a member of the membership from Sporting Lisbon.

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One thrilling – however dangerous – possibility is to play each playmakers in an attack-minded 4-3-3 system. Ten Hag usually paired two quantity 8s collectively throughout his time at Ajax and Fernandes may drop deeper to play alongside Eriksen because the pair dovetail in midfield.

At centre-back, Raphael Varane may are available in alongside Martinez to permit United to press larger up the sector than the can with Maguire. The Frenchman has struggled with harm since shifting to Outdated Trafford however he stays a category act and his pace is efficacious asset for a supervisor like Ten Hag, who needs his defence to be snug at taking part in one-on-one.

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