Monday, January 30, 2023

Erik ten Hag could unleash a new attack in Manchester United friendly fixture vs Cadiz CF

Erik ten Hag could unleash a new attack in Manchester United friendly fixture vs Cadiz CF

After seventeen days of nonstop FIFA World Cup activity, football fans around the world will be at a loss for what to do today, as the tournament takes a two-day break.

The round of 16 concluded on Teusday night, and attention has shifted to the quarterfinals, which begin on Friday afternoon.

Fortunately for Manchester United fans,  friendly at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla against Cadiz CF will keep them occupied.

United traveled to Spain earlier this week for a warm-weather training camp with 29 players and will play two friendlies, first against Cadiz tonight and then Real Betis on Saturday, only two hours before England’s highly anticipated World Cup quarterfinal against France.

This trip will allow manager Erik ten Hag to get a closer look at a number of players who have not played as much football as they would have wanted so far this season, as well as concentrate on a few other matters.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, and Zidane Iqbal, among others, will be motivated to make the most of the trip to Spain in order to attract the notice of Ten Hag and improve their fitness. Together, they have played only four minutes of first-team football this season.

While they will use the trip to Spain as an opportunity to improve their fitness levels, other players will attempt to force their way into Ten Hag’s immediate plans and create a potential selection dilemma for him prior to the resumption of the domestic season in two weeks. United will face Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on December 21, three days after the conclusion of the World Cup. This will be their first match since the World Cup final.

Regardless of how far United’s surviving World Cup stars advance in Qatar, they will all have a period of rest before to the Reds’ December 27 Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest. Given this, it is inconceivable that players such as Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Fred, Casemiro, and Antony will be available before then.

It is for this reason that Ten Hag will almost definitely use the trip to Spain to visualize his starting lineup for the match against Burnley in two weeks. Given that Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur have already been eliminated from the competition, and one of Manchester City and Liverpool will be eliminated in the next round, United have a golden opportunity to end their trophy drought with the Carabao Cup, although it is not necessarily the trophy that they would prefer to win.

It is for this reason that they should take the match against Burnley seriously and use the forthcoming matches in Spain to try to construct their perfect attack for the Old Trafford match a few days before Christmas. Anthony Elanga, Shola Shoretire, Charlie McNeill, Joe Hugill, Anthony Martial, and Alejandro Garnacho are among the forwards that Ten Hag brought with him to Spain.

Despite their youth, Elanga and Garnacho are two of the most seasoned members of the aforementioned group, considering the opportunities they have received with the first team in the current calendar year. Obviously, Martial is the most experienced of the group, and he will be anxious to establish his fitness after the World Cup break; he has only appeared seven times this season due to a string of injuries.

When fit, he has produced, scoring four goals and registering two assists. It is an incredible comeback for a player who has spent more time in the Carrington treatment room than on the Old Trafford field this season.

With Elanga and Garnacho flanking him on each side, United can unleash a front-three brimming with talent and potential. United’s need for a striker in 2023 is undeniable, but with Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Martial will assume the goal-scoring responsibilities.

It is a great opportunity for Ten Hag to gauge the Frenchman’s reaction to playing alongside Elanga and Garnacho in the context of two meaningless friendlies. This is currently United’s strongest available front-three, and they might all start against Burnley.

It seems logical to test it out before the intense, competitive action resumes.

Erik ten Hag could unleash a new attack in Manchester United friendly fixture vs Cadiz CF

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