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Oct 3, 2019 at 5.55pm UK at De Grolsch Veste (Enschede)
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How Manchester United could line up against AZ Alkmaar

Sports Mole looks at how Manchester United could line up for Thursday's Europa League clash with AZ Alkmaar.

Manchester United travel to AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday night in desperate search of a rare away victory.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have not won an away game since beating Paris Saint-Germain back in March, while last night's 1-1 draw with Arsenal extended United's league record to two wins from 12 games.

AZ, therefore, will feel buoyed by their home support and an impressive start to the season which has seen them win six of their opening eight Eredivisie fixtures.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how United could line up as they look to break their curse on the road.


POSSIBLE MNU XI v AZ© Reuters

Out: Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knee), Eric Bailly (knee), Phil Jones (groin)
Doubtful: Paul Pogba (ankle), Anthony Martial (thigh), Diogo Dalot (fitness), Angel Gomes (fitness), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (back), Luke Shaw (thigh)

> Click here for Man United's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match.

Dalot remains a slight doubt, but Solskjaer noted ahead of the draw with Arsenal that he expected the youngster to be ready for this game, and you suspect that the Norwegian will want to hand the defender some minutes in an attempt to get his movements out wide up to speed whilst also handing a rest to Ashley Young, who looks likely to play over the weekend as Shaw continues to sit on the sidelines.

Over on the other side, Solskjaer is unlikely to risk Wan-Bissaka, whose back problem dates back to before the September international break, and instead use him against Newcastle United, paving the way for Marcos Rojo, who featured during the 1-0 win over Astana a fortnight ago.

In the middle, there could be a temptation to use the same defensive pairing which featured against Arsenal, but the quick turnaround of fixtures - combined with a considerable injury list - means that some rotation is inevitable, which in turn allows for Axel Tuanzebe to get another chance.

The youngster was painfully unfortunate against Arsenal, simultaneously producing a wonderfully composed display to close off Nicolas Pepe and also giving away the ball in the lead up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal. His class on the ball makes him a potential future candidate to play in midfield - an area where United are deeply struggling.

Indeed, Pogba would have been in line to play this game, but recent reports have stated that his ankle injury was once again aggravated against Arsenal, making it highly likely that he will be rested during the week and make way for Fred, whose performances are yet to win over United supporters.

One player who is capturing the hearts of the United faithful is Mason Greenwood, just 18 years old but seemingly blessed with the maturity in the box of a senior player. His goal against Astana was the one slice of quality all game and, having been benched against Arsenal, it makes sense to unleash him in Alkmaar.

In support, Solskjaer might feel inclined to rest Daniel James - a rare source of positivity against Arsenal - in preparation for Newcastle and instead entrust Marcus Rashford with a place on the left hand side.

Against Astana and Arsenal, Rashford seemed to be lost playing down the middle, bereft of regular touches and proper openings, but grew into the game when switched to a wider role from which he could run at opponents and create inroads for Greenwood and Juan Mata to capitalise on. This is the kind of game which needs the 21-year-old playing a senior, constant role, as opposed to looking lost high up the pitch.

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Manchester United's Victor Lindelof pictured with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in August 2019
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