Play the kids: Manchester United have second leg opportunity v LASK
Manchester United’s 5-0 victory away to LASK provides a real opportunity in the home leg next week.
United are through to the quarter-finals after this performance with five away goals and the second leg at Old Trafford is now a formality.
It also provides Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his first proper chance in weeks to fully rotate his team and give players chances who badly need games.
Who could play?
There are those on the fringes who will want extra game time, substitutes who featured last night.
Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong will surely start, while Andreas Pereira could too.
Axel Tuanzebe was back on the bench last night and will likely return to action.
There could also be a sighting of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, in either midfield or defence.
James Garner is the midfielder who really needs to start. He has been terrific for the under-23s and needs more first team game time.
He made four starts in the group stages, while Dylan Levitt may even also be a possibility.
Angel Gomes is another in need of games. United’s side could end up looking like an under-23 team.
While this team could end up losing to LASK on the night, the Austrians didn’t show much to be frightened of in the first leg. The under-23s with a smattering of senior players could handle them.
In the case we did lose, there would be no 5-0 scoreline. United have a big enough cushion to experiment.
This is the chance Solskjaer has waited weeks for. There is no pressure, and his key first team stars can be rested, while others get much needed opportunities.
The intensity of the schedule, with every game mattering at this time of year, has made it tough for players like James Garner to get in. This is their chance.
Will it go ahead?
The spanner in the works is whether the second leg will even go ahead, next week at least.
At one stage last night’s tie had been dicey and the match was played behind closed doors, to our advantage.
On Tuesday, UEFA are holding a conference to discuss the future of the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020.
The most likely probability is the Euros are put back to 2021, and the club tournaments postponed to May and June.
This decision could be taken as soon as Tuesday, meaning next week’s match does not go ahead.
The opportunity for the fringe players will still be there if the tie is played next month or even in May, they will just have to wait.
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