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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Manchester United selections vs Everton could hint at team vs Man City

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How strong? The question is not how ‘weak’ the United side will be but how strong they are. The most Erik ten Hag has rotated was against Real Sociedad in United’s opening Europa League game when the recalls included Harry Maguire, Casemiro, Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo. On a sterile night hours after the Queen had died, United lost through a ridiculous refereeing decision and Ten Hag has not entertained mass rotation since. The derby is eight days away and United have to get Lisandro Martinez and Diogo Dalot up to speed as neither have started a match in four weeks. Raphael Varane is needed more tonight than against Charlton on Tuesday. Also read: Technicians arrive at Carrington to scan two players Who starts up front? Anthony Martial is a paradox. When he consistently starts, he is inconsistent, yet when he is absent he is missed. United do not have an obvious centre forward to fill in for the Frenchman and Marcus Rashford is demonstrably better off the left wing. Martial’s namesake Elanga is without a goal since equalising at Atletico Madrid on February 22. Elanga struggles to put the ball in the back of the net but does put in a shift and his mobility could be utilised against a club keen on signing him this month. Seven in a row? United have not won seven successive matches since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in caretaker charge and Ten Hag should at least equal that eight-game streak, with Charlton in the Old Trafford away dressing room on Tuesday. Thirteen wins, two draws and one defeat is impressive going since lessons were learnt at City on October 2. United are warming up auspiciously for the reverse fixture next Saturday. Final memories The latest crisis at Everton is so acute the prospect of them ever vying for silverware again is almost as distant as when they last lifted the FA Cup, a fortuitous victory over United in 1995. The teams’ contest at Wembley 10 years earlier was happier for Reds; Norman Whiteside’s goal is one of the greatest in Cup finals and United history. The FA Cup was more meaningful back then. Up for the Cup And yet, though the FA Cup may not be United’s priority, Ten Hag will go for it. United have won the FA Cup once since 2004 and there have been multiple missed opportunities since their last final appearance in 2018. United reached the quarter-finals in 2019 and 2021 and the semis in 2020. They were limply beaten in all three. READ MORE: Butland set to complete United move Shaw is an example of what Ten Hag wants from his players Ten Hag’s full-time exchange with De Gea shows United have got what they need De Gea explains why Ten Hag was ‘a bit angry’ All the United news and views Story SavedYou can find this story in  My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.

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