This weekend, Manchester United’s attacking lineup at Old Trafford may feature some changes, as both Antony and Jadon Sancho might not be involved.
Sancho was notably absent from United’s matchday squad against Arsenal earlier this month, with manager Erik ten Hag stating that he had delivered subpar performances in training. However, the England international publicly contested Ten Hag’s account of events on social media, and there are reports suggesting that they will engage in ‘clear the air talks’ to address the situation.
On the other hand, Antony is currently on a ‘period of absence’ from United, a decision made jointly by the club and the player. This hiatus is aimed at addressing allegations of domestic violence made against him by his ex-girlfriend.
Police in England and Brazil are investigating the allegations made, which Antony has repeatedly denied in multiple statements.
But with both players potentially not available this weekend, here are three ways United can line up.
1) 4-2-3-1 with Bruno Fernandes RW
One possible switch for Ten Hag – and probably the likeliest – would be to move captain Bruno Fernandes out to the right wing to replace Antony, who started against Arsenal.
In the central attacking midfield role, United could bring Mason Mount straight back into the XI if he recovers from a hamstring injury in time, which would free him up from most of his defensive responsibilites.
If Mount isn’t back in time, Ten Hag could play Alejandro Garnacho there instead.
2) 4-3-3 with Mason Mount at RW
Meanwhile, Ten Hag could decide to give Mount the right-sided role as part of an attacking three – a position he often played while at Chelsea.
Fernandes could, therefore, fit in as part of a midfield three alongside Casemiro and Christian Eriksen – but new signing Sofyan Amrabat could also come into contention if fully fit.
3) Wonderkid gets chance, new formation trialled
A more wildcard option for Ten Hag could be to give Facundo Pellistri a chance on the right side of attack.
The 21-year-old Uruguay international has impressed his manager in training, but has never made a competitive start for United since arriving in 2020. Saturday could be his chance.
Elsewhere, Ten Hag could switch to a three-defender formation, which would be dependent on Lisandro Martinez being fit, but could result in a debut for new signing Sergio Reguilon.
United take on Brighton at 3pm on Saturday at Old Trafford, with Ten Hag having a big decision to make when it comes to naming his starting XI.