Marcus Rashford among misfiring forwards, uncertainty over the strongest midfield and who is Harry Maguire's best partner? Erik ten Hag has plenty to ponder over the international fortnight with Man United still struggling

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Peace astatine past for Erik 10 Hag.

As astir of his Manchester United players pitchy disconnected to correspond their countries for nan last clip successful 2023, nan coach has a mates of weeks breathing abstraction to activity connected answers to galore questions.

Saturday's slender triumph complete Luton Town has offered Ten Hag immoderate much-needed respite and it's astonishing to spot United sitting sixth successful nan Premier League array for each their problems.


Indeed, pinch 4 wins from their past 5 games, United are among nan league's shape sides.

But convention shape unluckily beryllium taken successful isolation from United's shocking Champions League run and feeble Carabao Cup defence.

Erik 10 Hag still has plentifulness to ponder contempt Manchester United's triumph complete Luton connected Saturday

The Reds person mislaid arsenic galore matches arsenic they've won during a shaky commencement to nan season

They person mislaid 9 times and won 9 times wide this play - they don't look to do draws.

After nan internationals, United look a tricky trio of distant games against Everton, Galatasaray and Newcastle United that whitethorn dictate nan guidance of their full season.

Positive results whitethorn floor plan a people for different top-four decorativeness and Champions League shot aft Christmas. Further defeats could spot United descent into mid-table mediocrity and nan Europa League - aliases moreover retired of Europe entirely.

Here's a person look astatine immoderate of nan problems Ten Hag needs to lick complete nan coming fortnight.

Finishing believe for nan forwards!

United were indebted yet again to 1 of their defenders arsenic they squeezed past Luton astatine Old Trafford.

Victor Lindelof was connected manus to occurrence location nan winner, conscionable arsenic Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot made match-winning contributions successful earlier games.

Of their 13 Premier League goals truthful far, 3 person travel from defenders, 9 from midfielders and conscionable 1 from nan strikers.

Victor Lindelof (left) fires location United's victor against Luton arsenic different defender saved them

Marcus Rashford endured different blank day arsenic his struggles successful beforehand of extremity continued

That was Marcus Rashford's extremity successful nan 3-1 conclusion astatine Arsenal backmost successful September, pinch thing truthful acold successful nan convention from Rasmus Hojlund, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho aliases Anthony Martial.

Ten Hag isn't concerned astir Hojlund's Premier League extremity drought because nan £72million Dane has netted 5 times successful Europe.

His finishing touch deserted him again versus Luton anterior to leaving nan transportation precocious connected pinch a hamstring wounded that has forced him retired of Denmark duty.

The aforesaid point happened to Garnacho, who spurned a very bully one-on-one opportunity successful nan first-half, and needs to beryllium much objective successful specified situations.

There is increasing indifference among United fans to Antony, who is successful increasing threat of being remembered arsenic a very costly flop.

The Brazilian has been jeered successful caller games and rumours abound that United could trim their losses connected him arsenic soon arsenic January.

Alejandro Garnacho wasn't capable to person a very bully one-on-one opening successful nan first-half

The young Argentine is 1 of respective United forwards successful request of other finishing practice

Antony is acold excessively predictable erstwhile connected nan shot and has struggled for goals and assists 

Man United fixtures 

Premier League unless stated

November 26 Everton (A)

November 29 Galatasaray (A)

Champions League group stage

December 2 Newcastle United (A)

December 6 Chelsea (H)

December 9 Bournemouth (H)

December 12 Bayern Munich (H)

Champions League group stage 

Rashford, meanwhile, is simply a protector of nan devastatingly effective goalscorer we saw past play and his extremity shortage helps explicate why United are struggling to decorativeness disconnected moreover humble opponents.

Ten Hag maintains everyone will travel bully but United person scored conscionable 13 times successful 12 convention games and cannot support relying connected their defenders to bail them out.

Better work for Hojlund

Tied into United's striker troubles has been nan taxable of Hojlund not receiving capable service, particularly successful Premier League games.

There appears to beryllium small cohesion betwixt nan beforehand three, sloppy of who plays.

Rashford, Antony and Garnacho are each much apt to trim infield and return a changeable erstwhile they get into a bully position alternatively than look to provender Hojlund, moreover if he's successful a amended position.

With Rashford's shape successful a rut, Garnacho still rather earthy pinch his finishing and Antony acold excessively predictable pinch his intentions, this leads to frustration.

When they do effort and combine, specified arsenic Rashford's hooked back-post transverse for Hojlund to caput nan opener against Galatasaray, it proves effective but astir of his work comes from nan midfielders.

Rasmus Hojlund's Premier League extremity drought continued earlier he was forced disconnected injured

There isn't a awesome woody of cohesion arsenic yet betwixt £72m Hojlund and United's different forwards

There has been an constituent of Rashford looking ever-more hopeless to get a extremity and taking connected much chances arsenic he searches for nan infinitesimal that breaks nan logjam.

If nan nascent knowing betwixt Rashford and Hojlund tin create - and it will return a spot of clip - United should person a deadly onslaught force.

The may, however, beryllium constricted clip to activity connected this now pinch Rashford distant connected world work and Hojlund sidelined anyway.

Midfield clarity

A succession of wounded blows person made it difficult for Ten Hag to prime a settled line-up during nan early months of nan season.

This has been particularly existent astatine left-back but besides successful cardinal midfield positions, contributing to a emotion Ten Hag isn't wholly judge of his champion combination.

Christian Eriksen has picked up a knee injury, joining nan out-of-sorts Casemiro connected nan curen table, though nan Brazilian should beryllium fresh again soon.

Summer presence Mason Mount missed 5 games pinch a knock, while indebtedness signing Sofyan Amrabat was forced to deputise astatine left-back.

Christian Eriksen became nan latest United subordinate to suffer an wounded this season 

Scott McTominay whitethorn person near United backmost successful nan summertime but has been successful fantabulous form 

Ten Hag has been indebted to Scott McTominay, who whitethorn person departed Old Trafford complete nan summertime but has chipped successful pinch immoderate beardown performances and captious goals.

But Ten Hag needs to person a deliberation astir his champion midfield going forward. Last season, United's operation of Casemiro, Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes remained unbeaten for immoderate time.

Currently, location isn't an evident first-choice trio. Casemiro has looked disconnected nan pace, while playing Eriksen aliases Mount tin time off United exposed.

Conversely, partnering 2 of Casemiro, McTominay aliases Amrabat together tin stifle their productivity and make it difficult to break down opponents.

We person seen Eriksen hurriedly introduced during games to supply a spot much creativity, while successful others opponents person enjoyed truthful overmuch state successful nan centre of nan park.

Ten Hag needs to see who plays location if he only had nan luxury of everyone being fit. United look for illustration they request a spot of consistency successful this important department.

It's difficult to cognize whether Casemiro would make United's first-choice midfield if fit

Who plays alongside Maguire?

In a conundrum fewer saw coming astatine nan commencement of nan season, it isn't a lawsuit of does Harry Maguire person an Old Trafford early but who plays alongside him successful defence.

The England centre-half has shown singular resilience aft being dropped by Ten Hag past season, stripped of nan captaincy successful nan summertime and roundly ridiculed.

Maguire ever wanted to enactment astatine United and conflict for his spot and that determination has now been vindicated. He has stepped up and performed astatine a difficult clip for nan team.

Against Luton, he was paired pinch Lindelof successful a throwback to nan Ole Gunnar Solskjaer days and we've besides seen an improbable business pinch 35-year-old Jonny Evans.

Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire reprised their cardinal protect business connected Saturday

There are doubts now complete Raphael Varane pinch Ten Hag continuing to support him retired nan side

Ten Hag has been speedy to play down talk of immoderate rift pinch Varane, citing 'tactical reasons' and 'internal competition', but nan Frenchman's ongoing absence from nan starting line-up seems odd.

There must beryllium doubts astir Varane's semipermanent early astatine United but Maguire's bully shape is surely helping matters.

It remains to beryllium seen if he retains his spot erstwhile Lisandro Martinez yet returns to fittingness pinch nan Argentine and Varane playing good together past season.

Martinez is simply a existent leader and favoured by Ten Hag truthful it's difficult to ideate him sitting connected nan chair erstwhile fresh while Maguire and Lindelof aliases Evans play.

Until he returns, however, Ten Hag's main information is who provides nan champion accompaniment to Maguire. It's a captious determination - if United aren't scoring, they must beryllium watertight astatine nan back.

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