Tonight, Manchester United will play Crystal Palace in the Premier League, and Erik ten Hag must make difficult decisions.
It is commonly believed that a winning formula should never be altered, but Manchester United may need to do so.
Tonight, Erik ten Hag’s squad, buoyed by their derby victory over the weekend, will travel to Selhurst Park to face a very different test.
Fred performed admirably against City, but he may lose his starting position tonight.
United won by playing to their strengths on the counterɑttɑck, with Ten Hag content for his team to soak up possession before launching devastating breaks.
It was a brilliant tactic on the weekend, but it won’t work tonight because they’ll have to break down the opposition.
Due to the role reversal, United will need to adopt a different strategy from the weekend and may need to make some lineup adjustments as well.
United must return to their strongest defensive configuration and find the same level of consistency that fueled their resurgence in form. Two of these ruthless decisions could be made at full-back.
Lisandro Martinez should return to the center of the defense, meɑning Luke Shaw should replace Tyrell Malacia at left-back and Diogo Dalot could reclaim his starting position on the right side.
Dropping Aaron Wan-Bissaka after his recent run of form would be harsh, but it may be the best time to do so, as it would serve as a wake-up call regarding the amount of work he still has to do.
This season, Ten Hag’s brilliance has been in his management, and now that he has raised the bar, he must find a way to maintain it through his authoritative demeɑnor.
This is something Fred already knows. When United defeated Tottenham in October, the Brazilian had arguably his best performance of the season, but he was benched for the trip to Chelsea three days later.
United responded by annihilating Chelsea in the first half of their match at Stamford Bridge, validating the controversial selection decision, just as they may need to do tonight.
Fred was exceptional in the weekend victory over City, but he is still better suited to games in which his team is not expected to dominate, and he often struggles in games in which he sees more of the ball.
Instead, Christian Eriksen will start alongside Casemiro tonight, while Fred will replace Eriksen for this weekend’s trip to Arsenal.
Ten Hag shouldn’t be concerned about upsetting anyone who performed well in the previous match because there are so many games coming up in the upcoming weeks.
They may have been the unsung heroes who helped United achieve a memorable comeback victory in the derby, but that does not meɑn that they will all start tonight.
Ten Hag’s reputation has been built on his ability to make ruthless choices, and he must now make three more.