When Manchester United plays Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday, the start of a crucial stretch in the season, it will have been nearly a month since their previous Premier League match.
For Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag, the prolonged Premier League break occurred possibly at the worst time.
The Red Devils haven’t played in the league in nearly a month after matches against Leeds and Crystal Palace were postponed in advance of the most recent round of international matches. That break in play coincided with a series of results that demonstrated United had turned the corner under the new manager.
Their final game was a victory over Arsenal on September 4, and their performance provided a tantalizing preview of what the Ten Hag United can be. While the four-week layoff has halted some progress, it has also given several players time to regain their full condition.
Goalkeeper and Defense
David De Gea has had time to rest and recover during the unavoidable hiatus because he is not popular in Spain.
There is no need to discuss the center-back partnership of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez because Harry Maguire was injured while serving as an international player.
On international duty, they all made an impression. Scott McToninay and Christian Eriksen began against the Gunners last time out, but United may change things up against City.
Even though Casemiro has yet to make his Premier League start, it seems like the ideal opportunity to do so with Kevin De Bruyne on the opposing side.
Bruno Fernandes will start in the starting lineup and will be responsible for creating chances.
After making an impression in the early weeks of the season, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have both had some recovery time. Sancho was a surprising absence from the most recent England team and will need to perform well to secure a ticket to Qatar.
Rashford will also need to be in good form, and as he appears to be winning the fitness race, he should be chosen over Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still having trouble with his form.
Man Utd’s predicted starting lineup against Man City De Gea; Dalot; Varane; Martinez; Malacia; Eriksen; Casemiro; Fernandes; Antony; Rashford; and Sancho.