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Sep 19, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Old Trafford
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How Manchester United could line up against Astana

Sports Mole looks at how Manchester United could line up for Thursday's Europa League clash with Astana at Old Trafford.

Manchester United begin their Europa League campaign with a game against Kazakhstan champions Astana at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will be disappointed to have entered this competition after a paltry two wins from their final nine games last season saw the Red Devils slump to sixth after looking destined to finish in the Champions League spots.

However, United will be buoyed by the fact that the club's last foray in this competition saw them beat Ajax in the 2017 final to reach Europe's elite after finishing their league campaign in sixth place

Here, Sports Mole looks at how the Red Devils could line up for the game.

Possible MNU XI vs. AST

Out: Eric Bailly (knee), Luke Shaw (thigh), Paul Pogba (ankle), Diogo Dalot (pelvis), Anthony Martial (thigh), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back)
Doubtful: Jesse Lingard (illness)

> Click here to see United's full injury and suspension list ahead of this fixture.

Solskjaer confirmed ahead of United's 1-0 win over Leicester City that the players unavailable for that game - aside from Lingard, who supposedly had a slight chance of playing over the weekend - would potentially return for West Ham United this weekend and no sooner, meaning that the injured collective remain unavailable for the game on Thursday.

David de Gea will receive a hero's acclaim when he takes to the Old Trafford turf again after signing a new long-term contract with the club, but this moment will have to wait, with Solskjaer - as is common practice - likely to hand a start to deputy keeper Sergio Romero, who played an important role in the club's Europa League triumph two years ago.

At left-back, United have very little choice other than using Ashley Young due to the unavailability of both Shaw and Dalot, while Phil Jones is likely to come in as a replacement for the rested Harry Maguire.

Indeed, while Victor Lindelof also could use a rest, Solskjaer is likely to play the Swede and instead rest Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has only just returned from a back problem which precluded him from featuring over the international break.

In his place comes Axel Tuanzebe, a player highly rated by figures within Old Trafford and whose loan spell at Aston Villa last season was a resounding success, with the youngster developing both technically and as an individual.

Another player who deserves to feature from minute one is Fred, yet to start this season, after the Brazilian changed the feel of United's win over Leicester off the bench as the visitors started to dominate proceedings.

Alongside him was Tahith Chong, whose powerful running and slippery style on the ball forced Leicester onto the back foot at a time when they needed to take hold of the game. The Dutchman figures highly in the estimations of United fans and they will expect to see him receive his first senior start on the right, with Daniel James - three goals to his name already this season - occupying the left flank.

Marcus Rashford will want to play in this game, no doubt, but Solskjaer could possibly omit his first-choice number nine in favour of Mason Greenwood - the club's most coveted academy talent.

Having scored 30 goals across four different age groups last term, made his first senior start in May and dazzled over pre-season, Greenwood is now a regular in the United first team and those who have seen him play over the last two years will insist that Solskjaer can no longer hold him back.

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Who will win Thursday's Europa League clash between Manchester United and Astana?

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pictured on August 24, 2019
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