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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Hojlund back for the big clash with Liverpool? Wan-Bissaka & Maguire also to return? Mount on the bench?

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Manchester United welcome North West rivals Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon in the quarter final stage of the Emirates FA Cup. Erik ten Hag will be readying his team for their biggest match this season – one that will continue their run or end their season.

United have no other option than the FA Cup to build on their Carabao Cup win last season and face a hard slog to break back into the top four in the Premier League this season. After this match there is an international break with players who are recovering from injury given time to fine fitness.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have already won the Carabao Cup this season and are challenging current Premier League champions Manchester City to win the trophy for the second time. They are also into the UEFA Europa League quarter finals so they have something to gain in his final season.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Dalot;

Casemiro, Mainoo;

Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Hojlund

Goalkeeper: Onana

Andre Onana has endured a tough season for United. He has conceded 57 goals for the club in all competitions, which is terrible considering the price paid and the supposed experience and ability of the best UEFA Champions League goalkeeper last season.

Granted, he has been doing well in the Premier League with eight clean sheets this season, just one behind David Raya of Arsenal – level with the likes of Jordan Pickford and Ederson – which shows that none of the goalkeepers in the league have had outstanding seasons.

If Onana is unable to play or comes off with an injury, Altay Bayindir is unavailable for United this weekend because of a muscle strain so Tom Heaton could be the other option for United. Perhaps Dermot Mee could also be involved – who knows? United need a good game though!

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Dalot

United’s defence have had a lousy season because of injuries and the fact the established back four have not really had many matches together with more then 20 different combinations across the back four this season in all competitions. United need to buy the right players in the summer.

Against Liverpool, it is possible that both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire are back in action, which would be great news for the club and give United two fullbacks to face Liverpool, which would be vert important and help strengthen the attack and the defence.

Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot could play in the fullback roles, with Dalot in at left-back – a position that he has played on many different occasions. It is definitely better than playing Victor Lindelof at left-back. Raphael Varane and Maguire could partner in the centre of the defence – the best option.

Midfield: Casemiro, Mainoo

United’s midfield has bene largely positive this season even though many players with experience have been out injured. The player that has risen in stature is Kobbie Mainoo, who has recently been called up to the England U21 side ahead of the fixtures later this month.

Mainoo has established himself in the first team this season showing the form and ability of a player that really wants to perform and help make United great again. His hunger and desire to get things done is remarkable. He is a player that Jimmy Murphy and Sir Matt Busby would enjoy watching.

Casemiro is a player that works well with Mainoo but not a player for the future based on his age. His experience and what he has given to United since he signed have been great but for the future, United need to be finding younger players who can make their mark nat the club.

Attacking Midfield: Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford

United’s attacking midfield area has been largely positive for the club this season. Alejandro Garnacho has seven goals and three assists, Bruno Fernandes has eight goals and nine assists and Marcus Rashford has seven goals and six assists – in all competitions.

Against Liverpool, this trio not only needs to start the match but they need to be performing to the best of their abilities. Garnacho should be playing on the right-wing as he seems to be the best option in that position at this stage of the season. Ten Hag will know this.

Fernandes will be playing in the middle behind the striker, which is his best position – and he can play in others although not at the best of his ability. Rashford on the left-wing is the best option fort United as over the last few years he seems to have excelled there – which is great.

Forward: Hojlund

Rasmus Hojlund has scored 13 goals and two assists in all competitions this season, which is great for the 21-year-old. He has been out injured for the past three weeks, which has left United with few attacking players in some tough fixtures, which they managed to get through.

Hojlund’s availability will be massive for United and see them having a good chance of getting a result against Liverpool – who are having their own injury problems – which have allowed fringe players to get a look in this season and show their ability, which has been second to none.

Rashford can lead the line for United too, but he is not an out and out striker, which is something United need to prevail in all competitions. This summer will be key for recruitment to bring in a player that can work with Hojlund and strive for greatness and getting United back on the right road.

Substitutes: Heaton; Lindelof, Kambwala; Amrabat, Mount, Eriksen, Collyer; Amad, Antony

United should have nine players on the bench to face Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday. United have a few players out through injury, with new goalkeeper Bayindir one of those players. On the bench as the substitute goalkeeper could be Tom Heaton, who has been out for ages.

In the defence, United could have both Victor Lindelof and Willy Kambwala available with Jonny Evans a doubt with a knock. United have little else in defence with injuries so could draft in players from the youth squads to give some options, if they may be required.

In the midfield, Sofyan Amrabat, Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen and Toby Collyer could all be called upon as these positions will bring fatigue on the starting players so changes will be required. In attack, United are light on options with Amad Diallo and Antony both available.

Written by Paul

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