Manchester United welcome West Ham United to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Brendan Rodgers once likened football management to “trying to build an aircraft while it’s in flight”. United’s Erik ten Hag also leaned upon the theme of construction when he recently described his side’s improvement.
“You need to construct it downstairs,” the inscrutable Dutchman explained: “You need development before you go to the top, to the roof. Unfortunately, it takes time.”
Here’s the XI Ten Hag may line up with to continue building this weekend.
GK: David de Gea – The shot-stopper’s wife, Edurne Garcia, finished 21st in the 2015 Eurovision while representing Spain. De Gea prefers heavy metal.
RB: Diogo Dalot – This season Dalot has scored three goals for club and country, as many as he could muster across his first five years as a senior footballer.
CB: Victor Lindelof – With Raphael Varane set for an extended spell on the sidelines, Lindelof may be called upon more regularly.
CB: Lisandro Martinez – The Argentine lost himself in the celebration of Casemiro’s last-gasp equaliser, grabbing the lapels of an away fan and bellowing in his face. Martinez posted the image on Twitter beneath the caption: “Mate I don’t know you but we’re in this together…”
LB: Luke Shaw – The only red card of Shaw’s club career came against West Ham in 2015.
CM: Casemiro – After his Stamford Bridge heroics last weekend, Casemiro has the chance to score in consecutive league appearances for the first time since February 2019.
CM: Christian Eriksen – The former Tottenham player only scored in one of his 15 London derbies against West Ham.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United’s number eight who sees himself as a number ten views his role as “finding the non-occupied areas, or sometimes the dead zones where nobody can see you or mark you”.
RW: Antony – The Brazil international has ignited the bluster bubbling beneath many indignant football fans by performing his Antourny in midweek but responded to the criticism by insisting: “I won’t stop doing what got me to where I am!”
ST: Marcus Rashford – Last January, Rashford came off the bench to score a 91st-minute winner against West Ham at Old Trafford.
LW: Jadon Sancho – The £76m arrival has scored just five Premier League goals since joining Manchester United – fewer than his former teammate Erling Haaland has managed in October alone.