Live updates and analysis as Man Utd face RB Leipzig in a decisive Champions League fixture on Tuesday night.
Manchester United are in control of their own destiny as they face RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side know they will qualify from Group H and reach the knockout phase as long as they avoid defeat in Germany.
United are currently level on points with both Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain heading into the final match day, with the French side facing Istanbul Basaksehir in the other group game. United’s hopes of qualification are boosted by their recent away form, plus the fact they thrashed Leipzig 5-0 the last time they met.
In terms of early team news, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani have not made the trip to Germany but David de Gea and Luke Shaw have. There is plenty of interest around whether Paul Pogba will play after the Frenchman’s agent said his Old Trafford career is ‘over’ in a new interview.
Stick with us for live match coverage from the Red Bull Arena.
Injury latest and early team news vs RB Leipzig
United will be without Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani for the crucial Champions League tie at RB Leipzig on Tuesday night.
Both forwards were withdrawn with injury during the 3-1 win at West Ham on Saturday and while neither problem is serious they’ve not been included in the United squad to travel to Germany.
But David de Gea is back in the travelling party, having missed the win at the London Stadium, while Luke Shaw is also in the squad having not featured since suffering a hamstring injury at Everton a month ago.
Champions League rule adds to Paul Pogba dilemma
United took a 23-man squad with them to Germany yesterday and can name 12 substitutes so in theory the entire squad can be on the bench tonight, including both back-up goalkeepers. That makes excluding Paul Pogba entirely very unlikely, even if a large section of supporters would probably welcome such decisive action.
The real intrigue will be in whether Solskjaer starts the Frenchman and how strong his reaction to Pogba and Mino Raiola is when he’s asked about it pre-match. Solskjaer is having the mick taken out of him by player and agent at the moment and a weak response tonight will only encourage both that it is them setting the agenda here, rather than Manchester United.
United could change formation tonight
United might adopt the 3-5-2 set-up or perhaps a 4-1-2-1-2 approach.
United have been here before
For Benfica 2005, Basel 2011 and Wolfsburg 2015 there is also Vienna 1996. Back then, you were not guaranteed to progress through to the knockout stage of the Champions League if you finished second in the group as it was the two best runners-up from six groups that made it through to the quarter-finals.
United lost half of their group games but went through on nine points after a 2-0 win in a freezing Vienna, where Peter Schmeichel pulled off perhaps his most famous save, if not his best.
Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona scored for United but four days later they let a two-goal lead slip at West Ham, where Alex Ferguson’s team talk was interrupted by a Cockney:
Paul Pogba ‘should not even be on the bench tonight’
Any authoritative manager would not play Paul Pogba tonight, irrespective of the absences of Fred, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, or that Pogba scored a fabulous goal on Saturday.
Pogba could easily fit into a diamond formation, which worked so devastatingly against Leipzig at Old Trafford, or he could ease into a midfield three, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not used 4-3-3 since the end of his first season with United.
You would imagine Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Telles, McTominay, Fernandes, Rashford and Greenwood are the eight outfield certainties to start tonight. Daniel James feels like a long-shot to come in, given he did not travel to West Ham, but Donny van de Beek is versatile enough to fit into whatever formation Solskjaer chooses. That leaves one more option and Axel Tuanzebe has to come under consideration for a back three.
With Pogba, it is the principal of omitting him. How dare his agent undermine the team on the eve of two pivotal fixtures this week. The player’s silence has also been deafening and Solskjaer, so indulgent he alluded to a ‘media agenda’ against Pogba in Perth last year, has to show teeth. He should not even be listed on the bench.
United’s 23-man squad for RB Leipzig revealed
United will fly to Germany on Monday evening ahead of the deciding fixture in Group H knowing they will qualify for the knockout rounds as long as they avoid defeat.
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