Manchester United are now preparing for the Europa League semi-final which will be held on Sunday. And the line up is full of clear cut choices.
There is one big dilemma though for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and that is focused around who plays at centre-back.
Harry Maguire’s involvement is obvious. He will play his 55th game of the season. The question is who partners him, Eric Bailly or Victor Lindelof?
The case for Bailly
It is about time Manchester United showed some trust in Bailly and he has largely shown he deserves it in his performances this season.
Bailly has been a regular in the Europa League in 2020, starting in United’s last four knockout games.
Dropping him for this one may cause him to question his future at the club, if he feels there is no way into Solskjaer’s first choice line-up.
Bailly was one of United’s best players on the night against FC Copenhagen, making four clearances in 71 minutes, the same number Harry Maguire made in 120.
He was unlucky to be substituted, being taken off because both he and Maguire were on bookings.
This game would be a chance for redemption for him after his unlucky injury in the FA Cup semi-final.
Since Bailly returned to the United side from injury in February, United have only conceded three goals during the 719 minutes he has been on the pitch.
The case for Lindelof
This is the Europa League semi-final and United should play the most tried and tested side. This means Victor Lindelof.
The Swede has made 45 appearances this season compared to Bailly’s 11.
He has built up trust alongside Harry Maguire, and against tough opponents Sevilla, this could be invaluable.
Making a decision to bring in Lindelof now saves United the same dilemma if we reach the final.
Picking Bailly may be more of a sentimental choice, that he deserves a chance, than one based on what we have seen this season.
If Solskjaer picks Lindelof and it does not work out well, then it is still not likely the manager will have regrets, knowing he picked his regular side.
With Luke Shaw already out with injury at left-back, Lindelof will bring extra stability to the back four.
Playing together is not an option
United played a combination of Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly in the FA Cup semi-final.
While the 3-4-1-2 formation has had some success for United this season at times, it did not at Wembley.
The injury to Bailly in this game you could put down to bad luck, but it was also partly a mix-up with he and Maguire due to a misunderstanding amid their roles in a rarely used formation.
This switch also had a negative impact on the rest of the side, and should not be repeated in such a high-stakes game. Solskjaer would be inviting criticism if he did.
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