Manchester United is poised to close out a tumultuous 2023 with their game against Nottingham Forest, marking a conclusion to a year marked by both challenges and promising signs. Despite facing scrutiny following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25% stake in the club, the team’s resilience and recent resurgence have rekindled hopes for a brighter future.
With Erik ten Hag’s job seemingly under pressure, a similar lineup to the one that defied the odds against Aston Villa is expected for the encounter at the City Ground. While injuries may pose some limitations, major changes to the starting XI seem unlikely, with the Dutch manager’s trust in his young core and experienced veterans providing stability and continuity.
Predicted Man United Lineup vs Nottingham Forest
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana
After a performance that showcased both his brilliance and vulnerability against Aston Villa, Onana is expected to be a pivotal figure in keeping Forest at bay. His ability to make crucial saves has been instrumental in United’s recent success, and his experience against top-flight teams will be crucial against a Forest side eager to capitalize on any defensive errors.
Right-Back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Wan-Bissaka’s unwavering consistency has been a valuable asset for United, and his defensive solidity will be essential in containing Forest’s pacey wingers. His ability to read the game and position himself effectively will be crucial in preventing Forest from creating scoring opportunities.
Central Defenders: Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans
Despite the ongoing speculation surrounding Varane’s future, his leadership and defensive prowess remain invaluable to United’s backline. Evans, on the other hand, has emerged as a reliable and composed presence, providing a solid foundation for the defense. Together, they form a formidable duo capable of neutralizing Forest’s attacking threats.
Left-Back: Diogo Dalot
Dalot’s versatility and attacking threat could see him shift to left-back. His ability to deliver crosses and create scoring opportunities will be key in unlocking Forest’s defense.
Central Midfielders: Kobbie Mainoo and Christian Eriksen
Mainoo’s composure and skill, despite a recent misstep against West Ham, have earned him Ten Hag’s trust. His ability to control the tempo of the game and distribute the ball effectively will be crucial in creating scoring opportunities for United’s forwards. Eriksen, on the other hand, brings a wealth of experience and technical mastery to the midfield. His passing range and ability to create goal-scoring opportunities will be essential in unlocking Forest’s defense.
Right Wing: Alejandro Garnacho
Garnacho’s recent performances have been nothing short of exceptional. His outstanding performance against Aston Villa, nearly achieving a hat-trick, demonstrated his ability to create and finish chances. His pace, dribbling skills, and eye for goal make him a potent threat on the right flank, and his energy and enthusiasm will be crucial in driving United forward.
Attacking Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes
The Villa game provided an ideal platform for Fernandes to showcase his attacking prowess. His ability to shoot from distance, create scoring opportunities for his teammates, and control the tempo of the game will be essential in unlocking Forest’s defense. His presence in the middle of the park will be crucial in orchestrating United’s attack and leading the team to victory.
Left Wing: Marcus Rashford
While Rashford didn’t score against Villa, his performance showed signs of improvement. His ability to dribble, create chances, and shoot from distance will be key in providing a balance to United’s attack. His link-up play with Garnacho and Fernandes will be crucial in breaking down Forest’s defense and scoring the goals that will secure a victory.
Striker: Rasmus Hojlund
Hojlund’s first Premier League goal against Aston Villa has instilled confidence, and fans are eagerly anticipating the striker’s continued development. His pace, power, and eye for goal make him a dangerous proposition in front of goal. His ability to link up with his teammates and create scoring opportunities will be key in unlocking Forest’s defense and securing a victory.