Yes, it’s really here- the Erik ten Hag era officially begins, with games that count, in just two days. Manchester United’s opening Premier League fixture is Sunday afternoon, at home against Brighton & Hove Albion. From the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga and diva behavior drama to the summer transfer window clear out of excess defenders to the injury situation in the final third, we have a whole to run down.
We have a ton of team news and transfer talk items to cover, so let’s just dive right in.
Manchester United vs Brighton, Season Opener FYIs
Kick: Sun Aug 7, 2pm, Old Trafford
United Starting XI Prediction: go here
Result Probability: United win 61% Draw 23% Brighton win 16%
Man United Team News
Anthony Martial, who had a phenomenal preseason, is ruled out due to a hamstring injury. His absence could lead to Ten Hag being forced to start Cristiano Ronaldo even though the superstar missed the entirety of United’s tour of Thailand and Australia, due to a bitter hold out.
Wanting a transfer to a club currently playing UCL football, Ronaldo has only played a total of 45 minutes these past two months, as he left the preseason friendly against Rayo early.
Ten Hag is absolutely not having any of that mess.
“It is unacceptable for everyone,” he responded to question about players leaving early to Viaplay Sport Netherlands.
“I am telling them it’s unacceptable. We are a team. A squad. Until the end we stay together.”
We’re all long sick of the Ronaldo drama this summer, so let’s move on to other players.
Jadon Sancho was unavailable for the Atletico friendly due to illness and he hasn’t been pictured in training this week. Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri, like Sancho, are doubts due to their battling knocks right now.
Jakub Moder remains out for Brighton after suffering a serious knee injury last season, but Argentine international Alexis Mac Allister is fit after having recovered from a groin injury. Left back Marc Cucurella has now officially left to join Chelsea.
Enough with the fitness material, now on to the transfer news. United left back Alex Telles, deemed expendable by the acquisition of Tyrell Malacia, will spend the season out on loan at Sevilla. Eric Bailly is very close to joining AS Roma, on loan with an option to buy set at €8 million.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks