Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag could find himself without five key players when they face Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford this Saturday. The club’s defensive lineup has been hit hard by injuries and absences, making their return to club football after the international break even more challenging.
Injuries to Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, and Mason Mount are expected to rule them out of the Brighton clash, as they continue their recovery from injuries sustained before the international break. Additionally, Antony, who started United’s first four Premier League games, will be absent as he takes a leave of absence to address allegations of abuse made against him in Brazilian media.
The situation is far from ideal for Ten Hag, who is already under pressure following a mixed start to the season, with two wins and two losses. The selection issues in the defensive lineup may worsen, with doubts surrounding Lisandro Martinez’s availability for the weekend.
Martinez is considered doubtful for the Brighton match after withdrawing during the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal due to a knock. Harry Maguire replaced him during the Arsenal game, but Martinez’s injury has raised concerns.
Although Maguire traveled for international duty with Alejandro Garnacho, suggesting his exit from the Arsenal match was precautionary, Martinez did not feature in Argentina’s fixtures due to an issue with his right foot, which had previously suffered a broken metatarsal last season.
This injury had kept Martinez out of action for the final seven weeks of his first campaign at the club, and Ten Hag will be keen to avoid a similar prolonged absence.
The defensive challenges could see Harry Maguire making a rare start alongside Victor Lindelof, a partnership that has faced criticism in the past. However, there are some positives on the horizon, with Rasmus Hojlund expected to make his first start for United after making his debut as a substitute against Arsenal.
Sofyan Amrabat, who completed a season-long loan switch to United for £8.5 million on deadline day, could also make his debut for the club. Although he did not feature for his national team during the international break, this decision was likely a precaution to ensure a seamless start to his United career.