Manchester United's best XI to take on Man City after Raphael Varane injury blow


Manchester United could be without Raphael Varane for Saturday’s blockbuster showdown with Manchester City at Old Trafford. The France international was forced out of their recent draw with Atalanta, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coy in the aftermath. And that will give the Norwegian a selection headache ahead of the weekend’s contest.

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Atalanta on Tuesday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice to secure a point.

But it was another turbulent evening for the Red Devils, with Varane’s injury compounding things.

The France international was forced off in the first half and, speaking afterwards, Solskjaer was coy on his chances of being fit for the weekend.

“He felt his hamstring. So of course you can’t take any risks, unfortunately,” he said.

“Rafa has been such a calming influence when he’s on the pitch. We lost him but that’s football.”

United are now facing up to the prospect of being without the former Real Madrid star when they go up against City on Sunday.

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So it’s time to look at how they could line up without the 2018 World Cup winner in their team.

In goal, David De Gea is primed to get the nod.

Despite failing to keep out Atalanta’s first goal, which squirmed under his body, the Spain international has been back to his best this season.

And, as a Manchester derby veteran, De Gea can expect to start between the sticks as his side look to claim all three points.

United started the match on Tuesday with a back three consisting of Varane, Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly.

Yet if Varane misses out, Victor Lindelof could take his place.

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The Sweden international was left at home for the match with Atalanta with a minor knock but is expected to be fit again in time for the weekend.

Therefore, Lindelof should line up alongside Bailly and Maguire.

And, in the wing-back positions, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are expected to be picked despite their exploits in midweek.

With Paul Pogba suspended following his red card against Liverpool, it’s feasible Scott McTominay and Fred will partner up in midfield.

That would then allow Bruno Fernandes to play further ahead.

And, up top, it’s feasible Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani will be used as a dynamic duo.

Both players sparkled in their side’s 3-0 win over Tottenham last weekend, with the pair both on target.

And with United looking to nullify City’s attacking threat, it’s likely they’ll be deployed alongside each other again.

There are, however, several players who are worth Solskjaer thinking about.

Donny van de Beek impressed off the bench against Atalanta, despite not playing for over a month.

Marcus Rashford was unable to score but, with three goals to his name since returning from injury, is back to his best.

And Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho both impressed upon coming on, with the pair helping United avoid another European defeat.

Meanwhile, Paul Scholes has admitted he’s worried about United ahead of their showdown with City on Saturday.

“I don’t want to say it again but with the performance like that second half, especially with no [Raphael] Varane, Saturday has to be a slight worry,” Scholes told BT Sport.

And he added: “You’d think you have a good chance of winning. City are a brilliant football team, brilliant players.

“At any point, whether United have Varane or not it was always going to be a difficult game.

“But with no Varane now I think it makes it more difficult for United.”



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