Would Solskjaer dare pick Phil Jones at the Etihad? You bet

Like it or not, Phil Jones is in contention for Manchester United at The Etihad this week.

Jones featured in the first leg and struggled in the first half, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not given up on him.

United have started with three centre-backs in our last two away games, against Liverpool and at Tranmere.

So it is likely, or at least very possible, that United play three at the back against City on Wednesday night.

This means Jones will be competing against Eric Bailly for a spot if he is ready to return, or possibly even against Luke Shaw who was chosen ahead of him at Anfield.

Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

It was only Tranmere

If Solskjaer decides he was encouraged by Jones’ performance at Tranmere, in which he scored, and wants to play him against City, it could be a big mistake.

The last time Jones played for United in a back three against Premier League opposition was against Sheffield United, a game in which he was hauled off at half-time after being at fault for a goal.

Against Tranmere he was not all that good either. He was skinned for pace in the second half, and Manchester City have proven in multiple former meetings they have the measure of him.

Regardless, Solskjaer has shown he is unafraid to make unpopular decisions in the past.

Look at the amount of game time Ashley Young got at right-back last season ahead of Diogo Dalot.

Watching Jones at The Etihad could be as uncomfortable as it was watching him get turned inside out by Kevin de Bruyne in the first leg at Old Trafford.

But if you believe this is a selection Solskjaer would not make, you are kidding yourself. Brace for the possibility.

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