How Man Utd could line up against Luton: Will Raphael Varane return and can Alejandro Garnacho keep his place?

Erik ten Hag has plenty to mull over before kick-off...

How Man Utd could line up against Luton: Will Raphael Varane return and can Alejandro Garnacho keep his place?
Manchester United
Varane has been dropped to the bench in recent weeks (Picture: Getty)

Erik ten Hag faces a number of selection dilemmas when his Manchester United side take on Luton Town on Saturday afternoon.

There will be at least one enforced change at the back for the visit of the Hatters with Jonny Evans ruled out after being forced off injured in the 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Raphael Varane endured a very uncomfortable evening after being brought onto replace the Northern Ireland international in the Danish capital and even in Evans’ absence, there is no guarantee he will start against Luton.

Varane has started just one of United’s last seven games with Erik ten Hag explaining his recent defensive decisions in a press conference on Friday.

Harry Maguire’s return to form this season has come with him lining up on the right-hand side of defence. Explaining why Evans has been paired with the England star over Varane in recent weeks, the manager discussed the importance of having two centre-halves who complement each other, believing Evans is ideal foil for an in-form Maguire.

It suggests Maguire and Varane are in direct competition for that right-sided centre-half role, with ten Hag noting a partnership between the two is not ‘fluid’ enough for his setup. With Victor Lindelof available this weekend, we could see a return of that old partnership with the World Cup winner left out again.

With Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia still unavailable, Diogo Dalot was once again shifted over to the left against Copenhagen and was calamitous at times during his side’s late collapse in that game. Sergio Reguilon will fancy his chances of returning to the starting XI.

Manchester United
Our predicted XI for Saturday afternoon.

In midfield, ten Hag has preferred a midfield duo of Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay with Mason Mount starting just one of United’s last six.

18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, who made his first start of the season for United’s Under-19s in the Uefa Youth League midweek, will hope to earn his first senior minutes of the season at some point.

Having struggled when handed starting roles, Alejandro Garnacho now appears ready for the challenge having completed the full 90 minutes against Fulham and Copenhagen, fully justifying his place in the team with bright performances out on the left.

Marcus Rashford was shifted to the right to accommodate him on Wednesday night before his first-half red card ended that experiment.

While it would mean a third start in seven days for the 19-year-old winger, Garnacho has been United’s most effective outlet in that attacking front three and with Antony in a miserable period of form, he seems likely to keep his spot.

Up front, Rasmus Hojlund made it five goals in four Champions League appearances on Wednesday night but is still waiting to open his Premier League account. The visit of Luton could provide ample opportunity to just that if United can produce the sort of incisive start they had in Denmark midweek.

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