Look Into The Past: Man United Starting Lineups For Season Openers

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Manchester United are set to start their new Premier League season on Monday night. Wolves will be coming to town, to face the Red Devils at Old Trafford, which will mark the start of Erik Ten Hag’s second season at the helm. But let’s have a look at Man United’s starting lineups in the recent seasons and how much the team has been changing on a year-on-year basis.

Man United vs Brighton, 2022

De Gea – Dalot, Martinez, Maguire, Shaw – McTominay, Fred – Sancho, Fernandes, Eriksen – Rashford.

This was Ten Hag’s first competitive match as the Man United manager and it did not go well, as the Devils unexpectedly lost. Already here we go the chance to see some changes from Ten hag, most notably Lisandro Martinez’s and Christian Eriksen’s debuts for the club. He still had to persist with the McTominay – Fred partnership and we know that the latter of the two is leaving the club this summer, while the former will probably stay with a smaller amount of playing time. Add to that Andre Onana, Raphael Varane, Casemiro, Antony and Mason Mount who are all expected to start on Monday night and you get a radically different lineup just over 12 months since Ten Hag’s arrival.

Man United vs Leeds, 2021

De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw – Fred, McTominay – James, Fernandes, Pogba – Greenwood.

The 5-1 thrashing of Leeds at Old Trafford gave a great feeling for the season ahead, but that soon proved to be a false dawn. Looking at this starting lineup, we can now see that in the two forward lines from this team, only Bruno Fernandes remains a crucial figure in this team. We know what happened with Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba is at Juventus and far from the player he used to be, Dan James is at Leeds following a not-so-great season-long loan at Fulham, while McTominay and Fred were again in midfield. The back line also has a completely different spine these days – Maguire’s now close to leaving for West Ham, while Lindelof has fallen in the pecking order.

Man United vs Crystal Palace, 2020

De Gea – Fosu-Mensah, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw – McTominay, Pogba, James – Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.

The start of the 2020-21 season was not pretty, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. Similarly, to 2021-22 season opener, this was a team that clearly had space to improve. In fact, that match came after another summer of lost opportunities as United only signed Donny van de Beek (close to leaving), Amad Diallo (was set for a loan move before injury), Alex Telles (left for Saudi Arabia), Facundo Pellistri (still not at the highest level) and Edinson Cavani (now at Boca Juniors).

Man United vs Chelsea, 2019

De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw – McTominay, Pogba – Lingard, Andreas, Rashford – Martial.

Now, this iconic 4-0 beating of Chelsea is already four years old. That was a great win against a Frank Lampard team, which came on the back of hope that new signings Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James could be the domestic players that will take United forward. It was another poor summer from United. Potentially, six of these 11 players could be in the matchday squad on Monday, and that is without the struggling Martial. But Man United fans would definitely feel that the today’s squad is considerably stronger than the one from four years ago.

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