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Four Man Utd players that could “replace” Diogo Dalot against Fulham on Sunday

Manchester United will be in Premier League action at Fulham on Sunday evening which will be their final game before the World Cup break.

Ahead of the encounter, manager Erik ten Hag will ring in the changes, having rested a number of regulars in the 4-2 win over Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup third round.

The likes of David de Gea, Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen should return to the starting line-up. However, Ten Hag won’t have Diogo Dalot’s services.

The Portugal international has started in each of United’s 20 games this campaign but won’t be available to face the Cottagers after accumulating five yellow cards in the league.

He will be serving a one-game suspension as a result. In his absence, let’s have a look at three first-team stars that could take his position against the west London side.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The 24-year-old is a natural replacement for Dalot in the right-back position but the big question is whether Ten Hag will pick him.

Wan-Bissaka has played just four minutes of competitive football this season and was not even in the matchday squad last night.

The former Crystal Palace man could return to the bench on Sunday, but we just don’t see him starting against Marco Silva’s side.

Victor Lindelof

Lindelof is more than capable of operating from the right-back role. He has done so on 20 occasions in his career – six times for United.

However, Ten Hag may want his services at the heart of the defence alongside Lisandro Martinez at Craven Cottage this weekend.

Harry Maguire has been lacking rhythm since his injury comeback and looked all over the place against Aston Villa on Thursday night.

Tyrell Malacia

We have already seen a couple of occasions this season where Malacia and Luke Shaw have played together in the second half.

Malacia switched to right-back against Sheriff back in September and there was a similar repeat against the same opposition last month.

Ten Hag clearly trusts Malacia over Wan-Bissaka. His better attacking attributes could see him start in a makeshift role on Sunday.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

Erik ten Hag made transfer statement with Manchester United changes vs Aston Villa

Man Utd’s summer signings changed the game from the bench in their win against Aston Villa on Thursday night.

If you take out Manchester United’s best summer signings, you get the same side as last season: It really is that simple. Unai Emery has returned to the Premier League, and for the most part on Thursday night, it felt like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had as well.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof started at the heart of the defence, and the often derided midfield pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay occupied the space ahead of them. That is a pretty apt description too, they didn’t command the midfield, they simply existed for large parts of the game.

In the absence of defensive leader Lisandro Martinez, the backline lacked any bite, and there was also a noticeable lack of discipline as well. Ollie Watkins finished smartly for the opening goal of the game, but it was far too easy for Villa to carve open what was in front of them.

Once again, it came down to the midfield. With summer signings Christian Eriksen and Casemiro starting the match on the bench, United lacked calmness, composure, and creativity, something that cost them at both ends of the pitch.

Scott McTominay is still a square peg in a round hole when it comes to playing as a defensive midfielder, and Fred looks lost when he is not anchored by a specialist behind him who can hide his flaws. They are both capable footballers in their own right, but often need guidance alongside them to shine their brightest.

It is only natural for any side to suffer a drop-off in performance levels when their best players are absent, but for United, this served as a warning sign for the rest of the season, such is their lack of suitable replacements who offer similar traits.

For the first hour of the match, United regressed to the side that relied on moments to beat a team last season; this time, a combination of poor defending and their own creativity from deep did the trick for Anthony Martial’s goal.

Eriksen was introduced just after the hour mark, and suddenly the entire dynamic of the match changed. Almost immediately, United’s composure and creativity were on display as they took charge of the midfield battle and began to stamp their authority on proceedings.

The Danish international’s introduction brought a calming presence to the midfield, and rather than frantically rush to get back into the match, it almost felt like United were soothed by the belief that they knew they would.

It was also telling that Villa soon lost their shape completely. Against a makeshift midfield, they had been able to impose their own style of play, but as soon as United brought on their key creative talent, they were the ones having to rely on moments of magic to offer any attacking threat.

McTominay became a far greater presence when given the freedom that playing alongside Eriksen granted him, and when Casemiro entered the pitch in the final ten minutes, the game was all but determined in United’s favour.

It was a night that acted as another ringing endorsement of Ten Hag’s transfer strategy and the long-term vision he has for his side once his style of play has been properly implemented.

However, it was also a timely reminder of the further work that is required. United’s best XI has gradually begun to take shape with their summer signings playing an integral role, and next year the focus has to be on improving those options in reserve.

For an hour, it looked like the old United, and for half an hour, there was a glimpse of a very exciting future.

Source: manutdnews.com; www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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