Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will currently be analysing and plotting how to beat Barcelona at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

With the score level at 2-2, the two sides are set for a decisive second leg contest which promises to be every bit as entertaining as the thriller at the Nou Camp, and there must be a winner.

Ten Hag seems to know many parts of his best side. At centre-back expect Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane to feature, while in attack, Antony and Anthony Martial’s injury absence should see a front four of Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes feature.

Other positions are less set in stone. Here is a look at three selection dilemmas facing Ten Hag ahead of the big game…

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FC Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League
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Left-back: Luke Shaw or Tyrell Malacia

Tyrell Malacia started at left-back in the Nou Camp, with Luke Shaw in central defence. Lisandro Martinez’s return from suspension should make this more of a straight fight for the left-back spot between Malacia and Shaw.

Malacia has performed well when called upon this season, but he does not possess the same attacking threat Shaw can contribute.

Ten Hag’s decision will depend on what he wants. He recently lauded Malacia as the best full-back he has at inverting his position to join the midfield when in possession. If he decides this is going to be an important factor tactically against Barcelona, the Dutchman could get the nod.

One of the big cases for Shaw is his experience. This is a night where United need leaders to step up. The England international may be the best man for the job.

Right-back: Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Diogo Dalot

A similar dilemma is taking shape at right-back. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was selected to start the game in Spain, and he has been a revelation in 2023, improving his game when his future at the club looked bleak.

Diogo Dalot meanwhile was one of United’s best defenders in the first half of the season. He started at the weekend against Leicester and might fancy his chances of getting the nod at Old Trafford.

The Portugal international is regarded as a bigger attacking threat than Wan-Bissaka, and with United holding home advantage, the bolder move is to lean into that and pick the player who can help the team more in the final third.

This decision is 50/50 and it would not be a surprise to see Ten Hag go either way, which shows how far Wan-Bissaka has come in recent weeks.

Midfield: Who partners Casemiro

Casemiro is the one guaranteed starter of the midfield two. The big decision facing Ten Hag lies with who should partner him.

Fred has the clear advantage. He started in the Nou Camp and also has experience playing alongside Casemiro for Brazil. But there are two other options.

Marcel Sabitzer has played well since joining the club on loan and he has already played against Barcelona twice this season with Bayern, winning twice, playing 45 minutes in each match.

The Austrian can be trusted to do a good job for United, but the fact he has never played alongside Casemiro before, could count against him in such a big game.

Another option is fit again Scott McTominay, who can add a different kind of approach to Fred, and may test Barcelona more from a physical perspective. He will be ready if called upon and is an option for the manager to consider.

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