Manchester United kick off the 2018-19 Premier League season at home to Leicester City at Old Trafford this evening.
It was a disappointing summer transfer window for us as we only landed Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant, having been expected to sign a new centre-back and left-back at the end of last season.
What’s more, Jose Mourinho confirmed in his pre-match press conference that least six players will be unavailable for the visit of the 2015-16 Premier League champions for our season opener.
Nemanja Matic picked up an injury whilst playing for Serbia during the World Cup and has been ruled out indefinitely for this one. The central midfielder only missed two games for us last season.
Ander Herrera would normally be a player who could fill in for the Serbian but he too is injured. The Spaniard picked up his injury in our final pre-season game versus Bayern Munich last weekend. This means Scott McTominay is likely to start in our central midfield three.
Captain Antonio Valencia has also been ruled out. Despite Ecuador not being involved in the World Cup, Valencia was injured in pre-season instead. A shame because the right-back would otherwise have been fresh and roaring to go after having had a long rest over the summer.
New signing Diogo Dalot could have been expected to fill in for the experienced full-back but the youngster signed from FC Porto this summer had surgery back in April that is keeping him out of this one. Matteo Darmian, Phil Jones or Victor Lindelof could start at right-back instead.
Another defender, Marcos Rojo, is also absent. The centre-back was injured at the World Cup, although wouldn’t have been expected to start this evening had he been fit. We also tried to offload the Argentine over the summer anyway.
And goalkeeper Sergio Romero has been out since before the World Cup. The Argentine is not yet ready to return meaning Lee Grant will make the substitutes bench this evening instead.
The boss told MUTV:
“Unavailable is Romero – he had a surgery after his injury before the World Cup. Valencia – he was injured in pre-season. Marcos Rojo – he was injured in the World Cup. Dalot – he had a surgery at Porto by the end of April and is not yet ready. Ander Herrera – injured against Bayern. Matic – injured in the World Cup and surgery in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago. I think that’s it.”
We also had several players involved in the final weekend of the 2018 World Cup so it is not yet confirmed whether the likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones or Marouane Fellaini will even be available for us this evening.