Predicted Manchester United XI for quarter-final v Colchester
A Carabao Cup semi-final spot is up for grabs tomorrow night when Manchester United host Colchester United.
This is a game United under-estimate at their peril, but there will be rotation.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to balance the team selection with preparations to face Watford this Sunday in the Premier League, and then a busy festive fixture schedule.
Solskjaer told the club website this morning that Diogo Dalot is ready to return.
The £19 million man would be making his first start since October.
It is a good chance for United to give Aaron Wan-Bissaka a rest, while Ethan Laird played for the under-23s on Monday, a further hint Wednesday’s right-back spot has been earmarked for Dalot.
Paul Pogba is out now with illness (rolls eyes), and this game also comes too soon for Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Amid a decision whether to start Anthony Martial or Mason Greenwood, this is a good opportunity for United to pick both, along with Marcus Rashford.
United unleashed all three in attack against Partizan earlier this season, looking to kill the game off with an attacking approach, and it works.
This makes sense to try and get the game won in the first hour and be two or three goals up before giving one or more of them a rest..
One gamble we have taken here is to include Angel Gomes, who missed last week’s match. Was that with this game in mind?
Playing in attack along with Rashford, Martial and Greenwood could be an ideal situation for Gomes to succeed.
The alternative is either Juan Mata or Andreas Pereira, with Jesse Lingard likely rested after recovery from injury to start at the weekend.
Other key decisions
Colchester will be up for this and we can’t let the midfield pass us by. One of Scott McTominay or Fred needs to start to give the team the bite which is needed.
Nemanja Matic needs more game time ahead of the festive fixtures and a potential partnership with McTominay could give United license to go and attack.
James Garner is an option as he did well against Alkmaar, but this is more likely for balance if Gomes is omitted in favour of Pereira.
In defence Brandon Williams should be a shoe-in at left-back, unless Solskjaer has decided he wants to start him against Watford on Sunday. Otherwise he will continue to be rotated.
In defence Axel Tuanzebe is likely to feature, so who will be alongside him? Harry Maguire featured against Alkmaar, meaning Victor Lindelöf should get the nod this time. We don’t want to see Phil Jones.
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