After three 0-0 draws in a row, Manchester United have to decide whether to stick or twist this weekend.
United face a Manchester City side on a 21 game winning streak, while United are unbeaten in 21 away games.
A couple of months ago we hoped a different ’21’ could hinge on this game, but United’s league title prospects are gone, with 14 points between the two teams.
One worrying aspect about United’s draw with Palace was that it seemed, from the players available, that it was the best team we could have put out, save perhaps McTominay in for Matic or Fred.
So how can United shake it up and hope to beat the league leaders? Here is a look at four things United can try…
Amad to start
Amad Diallo is United’s ultimate wildcard. He doesn’t have a single Premier League minute to his name, and City won’t know what to expect.
He does have form for making an impact, leading Atalanta to an away win over City in the UEFA Youth League a couple of years ago. This is a big step up.
Amad could liven United up, and inject a spark which has been missing in recent games. There are no guarantees it would work, but it would be a bold move which would draw intrigue, and give the teenager a chance to become an instant superstar.
Telles in for Rashford
Marcus Rashford needs a rest, and one way to give it to him would be to try an unorthodox approach.
Alex Telles has the ability to play on the left wing ahead of Luke Shaw and help United out with crossing into the box, while also having a strong defensive approach down that side.
United’s problem has been getting service into Edinson Cavani, and if Telles and Shaw are doubling up on one side, they could be very hard to stop.
Another way to get Shaw and Telles into the mix is to change formation and go with a 3-5-2, which has served United well in big games before, like away at PSG.
United might also want to revisit a 4-4-2 formation. One of the problems has been an inability to control the midfield in recent games. City will really put United to the test, so adding an extra player in the middle might be the best way to go.
Having two central strikers will also prevent Edinson Cavani from getting isolated in the middle.
Dan James starts
A more simplistic shake-up will be for United to bring Dan James into the starting XI, and take one of Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood out.
James impressed away at Chelsea last week, and also started in both league wins over City last season.
It’s highly probable he starts, if United stick with a 4-2-3-1. If there is a formation change then he will likely be on the bench.
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