Manchester United host West Ham in the Carabao Cup third round at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
The Reds extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League at the weekend, with Jesse Lingard giving United a lead with an excellent late goal before David de Gea produced a heroic penalty save from Mark Noble’s effort deep into stoppage time.
That means United have taken 13 points from their opening five league games and they’re currently joint top in the table alongside Chelsea and Liverpool, however, they’ll be hoping for their momentum to continue into this Carabao Cup fixture in midweek.
West Ham will visit Old Trafford on this occasion, though, but if David Moyes wants to deploy a strong side, his star centre-forward Michail Antonio will be available for selection after serving his one-match Premier League ban against United on Sunday.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has promised changes from the side that beat West Ham, It’s not yet known whether Edinson Cavani or Victor Lindelof will be available for United, although the Norwegian has confirmed Alex Telles and Anthony Elanga will be in the squad.
Which players will make the starting XI, though? Here’s how our MEN writers think United should line-up…
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Manchester United enjoyed a sensational transfer window, securing the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and… oh, yes, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be under pressure to deliver silverware with his star-studded front line. We cover every angle of the club at the MEN and with our dedicated United newsletter, you’ll never miss a headline. It’s free and there’s no spam.
Tom Heaton is due a United debut but Dean Henderson is the second-choice goalkeeper and fit again. The issue with the back four is there is not an out-and-out left-back fully fit to start in place of Luke Shaw and it would be unfair on Diogo Dalot to relocate him to his unnatural side. Alvaro Fernandez is still too raw, although he merits a place on the bench. Alex Telles may have to be parachuted into the defence.
Nemanja Matic should be saved for the early kick-off on Saturday, so Fred can start again with Donny van de Beek. Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho both need a fulfilling start and Juan Mata has not played this season. Anthony Martial needs a proper performance as much as a start – if Cavani is not declared fit.
There should be wholesale changes for United with Henderson deserving of a start if he is feeling up the demands of senior football again. Dalot is the only option on the right side of defence and Telles makes sense on the left if he is fit enough.
Bailly has to start but perhaps the most intriguing option would be Jones as he makes his own return after a torrid 18-months on the sidelines.
Matic should be saved for the weekend so Fred and Van de Beek can continue their encouraging first-half partnership from Young Boys, while old man Mata deserves a role as the No.10.
A front three of Lingard, Sancho and Martial offers great flexibility and lots of scope for switching positions on the fly.
Which player would make your starting XI? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Solskjaer has promised rotation from the United side that beat West Ham in the Premier League and it would be wise to offer Henderson his first start of the season after his battle with COVID here – starting Heaton instead could send the wrong message.
Dalot can audition for a permanent role at right-back while Bailly, Lindelof and Telles can make up the remainder of the backline, but that’s obviously dependent on the fitness of the latter pair.
Matic has played well when presented with the opportunity in recent weeks and he can start in the double pivot alongside Fred, although don’t be surprised to see McTominay play from off the bench during this game as he aims to return to full match fitness.
Sancho can start on the right after being dropped to the bench against West Ham in the league, Van de Beek can finally get the chance to play in his preferred position and the seemingly inform Lingard can cut in from that right flank to cause danger.
Martial is United’s forgotten man this term, but he can lead the line here.