Five ways for Manchester United to shake up team selection in FA Cup clash

Manchester United are back in action in the FA Cup this weekend, against an opponent to be decided tonight.

Tranmere and Watford are playing out a replay which will determine who will host United on Sunday.

Who wins that match may influence United’s team selection, but it is clear after the Burnley game that changes need to be made for Sunday’s starting line-up.

Here is a look at five ways for United to shake the team selection up this weekend.

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Eric Bailly’s first start of the season

This is an ideal game to bring back centre-half Eric Bailly. The Ivorian was on the bench against Liverpool and is almost ready to make his comeback.

Bailly has the ability to be United’s best defender. Getting him back in the team will provide a big lift.

Harry Maguire could do with a one-game rest, so hopefully Victor Lindelöf will be recovered from illness to partner Bailly here.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Cut Angel Gomes loose

We expect Solskjaer to make the dull choice here and start Jesse Lingard. But how about giving Angel Gomes the opportunity?

The talented teenager has the ability to change games, and was an unused substitute in midweek.

United have more to lose by not giving Gomes a chance, than try it and see the youngster fail.

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Give Diogo Dalot a start

Diogo Dalot has not started for United since October due to injury. He has featured as a substitute twice in 2020, and needs to start.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka could do with a brief rest too. Let him sit this game out and allow Dalot an opportunity to prove his quality.

Dalot could even play on the wing, and this is another opportunity available to United here.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Play Ethan Laird

The second part of the Dalot puzzle. United need to get talented teenager Ethan Laird into the starting line up.

This could come in one of three positions. Either at right-back, allowing Dalot to play on the wing, or in attack himself.

Laird’s driving runs forward and crossing is a key feature of under-23 games and he could give United a much needed attacking outlet. Play him on the wing and give Dan James a rest.

Another alternative is for United to start Laird at left-back, if there is a desire to rest both Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

James Garner in midfield

At least one of Fred and Nemanja Matic need a break ahead of the away tie with Manchester City next week.

James Garner is ready to step in, after featuring impressively for the under-23s last week.

This could be a chance for Garner to prove he is ready for a regular role, after an injury in December halted the progress he had made in the first half of the season.

He’s done it away to Partizan. He can cope away to Tranmere or Watford.

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