Real Madrid vs Manchester United is a mouthwatering UEFA Super Cup final and is the perfect way to kick-off the season before the domestic football campaign gets underway.
Ahead of the match in Macedonia, both teams have decisions to make over selection and personnel.
What do you make of the key talking points?
Starting with United’s backline…
Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will likely start the game in the heart of Manchester United’s defence after the Red Devils found themselves on the wrong side of UEFA.
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones would most probably be Jose Mourinho’s starting centre-back pairing, but both have been given bans. Mourinho has been experimenting with a back five in pre-season but he might switch back to a traditional four for the final.
Either way it means starts for new signing Lindelof, who has looked shaky in pre-season, alongside the much maligned Smalling.
Towards the end of last season, Zinedine Zidane turned his back on the 4-3-3 formation he had previously used almost exclusively, instead fielding a midfield diamond which allowed Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to control possession while Isco roamed and Casemiro held firm.
It worked superbly and there’s no reason for Zidane to revert back to his former 4-3-3, unless he feels obliged to find a place for Gareth Bale.
Mourinho now has three of the four signings he demanded this summer after bringing his former charge Nemanja Matic (right) in from old club Chelsea last week. The Serbian, importantly, gives United discipline in midfield.
It means Paul Pogba will be allowed to exert his influence on the game, while Ander Herrera is free to be at his creative best, while not being stymied by having to sit back and screen the defence.
Bale’s playing time and position at Real Madrid will depend to a great extent upon whether Zidane decides to give Cristiano Ronaldo his first pre season run-out after being given an extended break following his Confederations Cup involvement with Portugal.
Ronaldo’s rebirth as a centre forward means he is highly unlikely to return to his old left-wing berth.
But if he starts on the bench, Zidane could field Karim Benzema as a lone frontman.
Finding space to attack against a Jose Mourinho team is never easy, but Madrid have a couple of wild cards up their sleeves in the form of Marcelo and
More than any other full-back duo in world football, Madrid’s pair are responsible for giving their team attacking width.
United must be forever diligent in tracking their attacking runs if they want to minimise their influence upon the action.
Know more about Sport360 Application