Claude Puel’s consistent use of the 4-2-3-1 formation, throughout every minute of preseason, answers one question about the team ahead of Friday night’s Old Trafford kickoff.
Still, the Frenchman has plenty of other decisions to make before his team take’s on Manchester United. The squad is pretty deep, and there are multiple options for most positions, so here’s who I think will make the starting lineup.
GK - Kasper Schmeichel
This one is not difficult. If Leicester City are playing, Kasper Schmeichel is in goal.
RB - Ricardo Pereira
Danny Simpson is apparently out of contention for now. Daniel Amartey started here in the final friendly, but I expect Puel to revert to the Portuguese international, though he has experimented with Pereira in midfield as well.
CB - Wes Morgan (C)
With Jonny Evans unlikely to be fit, this one’s 100% certain.
CB - Harry Maguire
Puel says he won’t play. I’m not buying it, Monsieur. In his absence the start went to Yohan Benalouane in the last two friendlies, so he’s presumably the next choice. Maguire at 50% is still a better player.
LB - Ben Chilwell
Like it or lump it folks, he’s the first choice and has looked better than Fuchs this summer.
CM - Wilfred Ndidi
Maybe the first name on the team sheet.
CM - Adrien Silva
This one comes down to Silva and Vicente Iborra. Both played a half in the final warm up in Lille and Silva looked much better, though he did take a knock.
RW - Marc Albrighton
He’s combined very well with either Pereira or Chilwell behind him through the friendlies. He may end up on either wing, but Albrighton will play. This could be Pereira with Amartey at RB if Puel wants a more defensive outlook away at strong opposition.
AM - James Maddison
Forced off in the final game with a knock to his ankle, but is expected to be ok. Could be a key player this year. I’ve already forgotten what life was like without him.
I think it is not a serious injury. It was a big fall, but I hope he can return to training at the beginning of next week
If he can’t go, we could revert to Okazaki here, but it looks like the plan is to play Silva, with Iborra coming into midfield.
LW - Fousseni Diabaté
The manager could opt for Albrighton on this side, or to play Chilwell further up with Fuchs at the back. The young Malian hasn’t had a strong preseason, but with Gray coming back from injury and Ghezzal just signed I think he’ll get a chance.
ST - Kelechi Iheanacho
Why is Maguire in yet Vardy, who hardly played this summer, is rested? Because we need Maguire. Iheanacho has probably been the best player throughout preseason. They aren't real games, of course, but his form merits a place over a less than 100% Vardy.
Bench - Jakupovic, Amartey, Fuchs, Iborra, Gray, Ghezzal, Vardy
Sorry Shinji :(