Manchester United vs Charlton Athletic – Preview

Manchester United travel to the Valley in a bid to maintain their strong start to the season and regain their spot at the top of the Premiership table.

Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney are out of the next three matches, meaning that Manchester United will be playing Charlton (away), Watford (away) and Tottenham (home) without two of their best players on the pitch.

In Rooney’s absence, Solskjaer is likely to depute for him while I expect Giggs to move to central midfield to replace Scholes, with Park starting on the left wing.

John O’Shea tells The Independent what we all know – Ronaldo thrives on crowd reaction (negative or positive), and as we saw in the World Cup the booing he is expected to receive from Charlton fans will just spur him on to play better and better. Another goal? At least an assist…

Injury News

Michael Carrick will sit out the two away games as well as the international break, and is expected to return against Tottenham. Nemanja Vidic and Gabriel Heinze are also being rested, and considering how well Brown and Evra are playing those two will not be troubled before 9th September either.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are carrying knocks from the Fulham game. In case Neville is missing Brown will probably take over as right-back with Silvestre slotting in as centre-half. If Giggs misses the game (unlikely), then Fletcher could be handed a start (unless Ferguson decided to take a risk and start with David Jones or Kieran Richardson, whose wonder-goal last season capped off the 4-0 win).

Predicted Manchester United Starting Lineup

Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo, John O’Shea, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-Sung, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Louis Saha.

Alternative lineup: Ronaldo starts upfront as striker with Park on the right and Richardson on the left.

Bench: Kuszczak, Fletcher, Silvestre, Rossi, Richardson, David Jones / Liam Miller

Match Prediction

Recent history does not favour Charlton. They lost 4-0 to Manchester United in the last match of last season, and then lost 3-1 to West Ham on the opening weekend. The absence of Scholes and Rooney should not trouble United too much – we beat Charlton with Saha and Rossi up front, and Ferguson could spring a surprise by opting for the same players once again.

Manchester United win 1-0.

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