Manchester United’s first competitive post-World Cup match pits them against Burnley in the Carabao Cup.
The Old Trafford faithful will have waited 42 days to see their side trot out in the Theatre of Dreams after defeating Aston Villa in the same competition in November. However, only 62,000 seats are available this midweek as the club has been forced to reduce the capacity due to an ambulance strike that day.
Here’s the XI Erik ten Hag may deploy in front of a depleted but expectant crowd.
GK: Martin Dubravka – David de Gea hasn’t had any World Cup exertions to handle but Ten Hag may again turn to Dubravka, the keeper that patrolled the posts for United’s third-round success against Aston Villa.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – The £50m acquisition has been afforded just four minutes all season. However, given the late World Cup arrivals and his return to fitness, Wan-Bissaka could make his first start since April.
CB: Victor Lindelof – The only fit, established centre-back at Ten Hag’s disposal, the importance of ‘Iceman’ has scarcely been greater going into a game.
CB: Axel Tuanzebe – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was Manchester United manager the last time Tuanzebe got a game for the Red Devils. With a recent return to training, the 25-year-old may be hurriedly ushered into the fold.
LB: Brandon Williams – The Crumpsall-born fullback has been steadily regaining his fitness after an injury-riddled first chunk of the season.
CM: Scott McTominay – While two of his Portuguese teammates were dumped out of the Qatar World Cup by Morocco’s Atlas Lions, McTominay took the club hiatus to play with baby tigers in neighbouring UAE.
CM: Christian Eriksen – Following Denmark’s World Cup group-stage exit, Eriksen is in contention to make a speedy return to club action.
AM: Donny van de Beek – Ten Hag gave Van de Beek 110 appearances during their three shared seasons at Ajax but only afforded the 25-year-old his first Manchester United start of the season in November.
RW: Anthony Elanga – The son of two footballers, Elanga hasn’t been blessed with opportunities to continue the family practice this season but could bolster his minutes in the continued absence of Jadon Sancho.
ST: Anthony Martial – Despite making the same number of appearances as Van de Beek this term (seven, just three starts), Martial is the team’s second-top scorer with four goals.
LW: Alejandro Garnacho – During his brief, second-half cameo in the third round of the League Cup, Garnacho teed up Manchester United’s final two goals to complete a comeback victory against Villa.