Seven questions facing Manchester United against Leicester
There is no rest for Manchester United. On Sunday we go again, taking on Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The fixture is a good opportunity to reach another semi-final, although Leicester won’t be easy opponents.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are just one point behind us in the Premier League and they are rested up after their earlier elimination from the Europa League in the previous round.
United have various selection and fitness issues to wade through for the fixture. Here is a look at seven questions facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff ahead of the fixture…
David de Gea or Dean Henderson?
Dean Henderson has had a run of games as United’s goalkeeper now and it feels like he is good enough to be first choice.
David de Gea is back, however, and was on the bench against Milan. While Henderson has been the ‘cup goalkeeper’, it is possible De Gea is brought back in for this fixture.
United have to assess the risk of disrupting a backline which has been really strong during De Gea’s absence. This game is so important, would bringing back the Spaniard be a case of bad timing?
Alex Telles or Luke Shaw?
Alex Telles lost his Europa League starting berth to Luke Shaw this week, after playing the three earlier knockout matches.
It wasn’t a surprise, with Solskjaer always likely to revert to Shaw for the big games which matter most.
While Shaw is first choice, the change was probably made with a plan for Telles to possibly start this fixture. Rotating the left-backs will probably continue here.
Stick with the same centre-back pairing?
Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have been outstanding lately, and it would make a lot of sense to stick with them.
It will depend on the fitness of Eric Bailly. The Ivorian has also played very well when he has been called upon.
Lindelof is dealing with an ongoing back concern, so Solskjaer will have to take everything into account regarding his fitness and Bailly’s and choose whether to stick or twist.
Does Nemanja Matic come in?
Fred and Scott McTominay both put maximum effort in against Milan, and also started the two previous matches, the first leg and the weekend victory over West Ham.
Nemanja Matic is fresh and could be a candidate to come in and provide some relief by starting this game.
Who he replaces is open for debate, it’s possible both Fred and McTominay will sit this one out from the start and not just one.
Is Pogba fit enough to start?
Paul Pogba was United’s hero at the San Siro. It should still be remembered that this was his first game back after a 10 game lay off.
How will his body recover, and is he ready to start? If so, then he could end up partnering Matic, or playing in a forward role dependent on Marcus Rashford’s fitness.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Frenchman on the bench again, purely for fitness reasons, with Solskjaer telling his post-match press conference he was not fit enough to play more than 45 minutes in Italy.
Where does Donny van de Beek fit in?
This is a wide ranging question in light of Van de Beek’s slow start at United.
The Dutchman was back on the bench against Milan and should get some minutes here. He has started every previous FA Cup round.
United could take a smart decision to give Bruno Fernandes a rest from the start and give Van de Beek a role here. If not, he should get some minutes as a substitute, at least.
Who starts up front?
There are question marks over the fitness of Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial.
While Solskjaer may be hopeful on the trio, they will all be subject to late fitness tests.
Solskjaer’s selection of United’s front three, also impacting wide players Mason Greenwood, Amad and Dan James, will depend on Rashford, Cavani, and Martial.
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