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No Paul Pogba or Edinson Cavani, two new signings start, Harry Maguire stays

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The time of reckoning is upon Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they travel to St James’ Park to face Newcastle on Saturday.

Both transfer deadlines have passed with the Red Devils managing to seal four transfers having already added Donny van de Beek to their squad.

Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, and Facundo Pellistri have come in, while Amad Diallo should join up with them in January.

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Solskjaer is under serious pressure at Old Trafford

The additions come at a vital time as Man United attempt to dust themselves off after the humiliating 6-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur prior to the international break.

Solskjaer knows the defeat has given a substantial blot to to his copybook and it’s one threatening to curtail his time at Old Trafford.

Bookmakers suggest his time is short and place him as the favourite to be the next sacked Premier League boss.

But what can he muster against the Magpies on Saturday evening – live on talkSPORT at 8pm – with his new boys and how might they look as they attempt to bounce back? talkSPORT.com takes a look.

Man United signed Telles from Porto for £13.5million on deadline day

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Man United signed Telles from Porto for £13.5million on deadline day

Formation

The Red Devils, despite complaints about fitness following their Europa League exertions and their enforced break which saw them start the season late, are leaking goals.

Sure, they were down to ten men for 62 minutes against Spurs, conceding four after Anthony Martial’s red card, but the writing was on the wall early doors.

It’s 11 goals conceded in just three games, so a rethink might well be wise in terms of tactics.

Solskjaer could this weekend start with, on paper, a back-five but realistically against Newcastle it will morph into a 4-1-4-1 when they have possession, offering plenty of cover should they be countered by their opponents.

It’s a formation which the Red Devils are familiar with having played it on several occasions last term, with success coming against Chelsea and Man City both in the Carabao Cup and in the Premier League.

Martial was given a red card for slapping Spurs ace Erik Lamela

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Martial was given a red card for slapping Spurs ace Erik Lamela

How Manchester United should look

Harry Maguire has dominated the headlines for all the wrong reasons following his sending off for England, but Solskjaer has backed him to bounce back.

The 27-year-old looks set to start despite questions about his form and a slight injury sustained on the international break.

Solskjaer said: “When Harry is part of the England team that beats number-one ranked Belgium, that’s just a normal day and then you get the headlines when you get the sending-off. That’s just football for you.

“There’s so many ups and downs that we have got to deal with it, individually and as a group.

“Harry’s got great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back. I’ll know that he wants to play, he wants to just work his way out of the last couple of games that he’s been criticised [for].

Harry Maguire saw red for two yellow cards inside 31 minutes against Denmark

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Harry Maguire saw red for two yellow cards inside 31 minutes against Denmark

“He picked up a knock against [Denmark] just before he came off, so I’m just hopeful he’ll be fit. We’ve had a look at him yesterday and give him a test again today.”

Even though he’s been showing off that he’s as fit as a fiddle, Cavani, currently, won’t be able to play against Newcastle.

Government regulations suggest he will still be completing his 14-day self-isolation period, but those who have been travelling with international teams are eligible as they have been inside secure bubbles.

As Cavani was a free agent and not part of former club Paris Saint-Germain’s secure bubble, he cannot be offered the same freedom but United are still looking into the matter.

Add this to Martial’s suspension, leaves Solskjaer’s forward line a little lighter than he would have liked.

But, this is where his squad’s depth in other areas comes into its own.

If Solskjaer is brave and chooses to ditch Paul Pogba from his starting XI, he can, when his side are in possession get a glimpse of Bruno Fernandes and Van de Beek in tandem.

The latter’s creativity and off the ball movement will help them a great deal and make space for his team-mates.

You could see Mason Greenwood drifter wider to the right to combine with the Dutchman who would, in effect be a second No.10 in attacking phases.

It’s understood Van de Beek turned down Tottenham to sign for Man United

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It’s understood Van de Beek turned down Tottenham to sign for Man United

New signing Telles, from left wing-back, would essentially operate as a winger with Aaron Wan-Bissaka holding a deeper position on the right to give his side balance.

Nemanja Matic will shield the creaky backline with Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, and Eric Baily, hopefully offering enough to hold out the Magpies at St James’ Park.


You can hear Newcastle v Manchester United live on talkSPORT, Saturday at 8pm




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