Manchester United will be missing two key players when they visit St. James’ Park this weekend, but there could be a debut for new signing Alex Telles, according to reports.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face a striker dilemma as both Anthony Martial and new man Edinson Cavani are unavailable for the game. However, after enduring a horrific start to the new season, the Norwegian will be delighted to have Telles available for selection.
The Red Devils ended the 2019-20 Premier League season on a bright note by securing Champions League football on the final day of the season and staying unbeaten in the league since the end of January.
However, that unbeaten run ended and the optimism fizzled out on the opening day of the 2020-21 season as Manchester United succumbed to a shock 1-3 defeat at home against Crystal Palace.
After a narrow and fortuitous victory over Brighton, Tottenham piled the pressure on Solskjaer with a 6-1 drubbing at Old Trafford, which the Norwegian tactician unsurprisingly described as his worst day as Manchester United manager.
The international break might have happened at just the right time for the beleaguered Red Devils.
With Manchester United poised to return to action this weekend with a trip to Newcastle United, Solskjaer will have the chance to start afresh. However, recent reports indicate that that might be easier said than done, especially as the Norwegian is set to miss out on serious firepower up front.
Anthony Martial is suspended for Manchester United’s trip to Newcastle, Cavani unavailable due to COVID-19 norms
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without Anthony Martial who picked up a straight red card in Manchester United’s home defeat against Tottenham and now faces a 3-game ban. The Frenchman received his marching orders after a scuffle with Erik Lamela.
Martial was one of Manchester United’s standout performers last season, and Solskjaer would have wanted the Frenchman around as United attempt to get their season back on track this weekend. Unfortunately, the French striker’s brain-fade moment in the last game has severely inhibited his manager’s options in the attacking third.
Ironically, the man who was drafted in to challenge the Frenchman for a place in the Manchester United team and push him to deliver consistently will also miss the trip to Newcastle, but for different reasons altogether. Cavani is ruled out of the Newcastle game as he is currently under self-isolation in accordance with COVID-19 norms,.
The Uruguayan was released by PSG at the end of last season and was not a part of a team bubble that would have enabled him to be instantly drafted into the Manchester United squad.
Instead, Cavani will now have to wait for the Champion League game next week to be considered for selection. Ironically, Manchester United travel to Paris to face PSG in the first group-stage game in a week.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for Solskjaer. New man Alex Telles is available for selection. He is raring to go and could even make his full debut for Manchester United this weekend.
The Brazilian is coming off a stellar season with Porto and will be looking to hit the ground running at Old Trafford. Telles was full of goals and assists for the Portuguese side last season, and if he could replicate that form for Manchester United, Solskjaer might finally have a reason to rejoice.
Published 14 Oct 2020, 00:00 IST