Manchester United are gearing up for their FA Cup clash against Watford following their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City. The effect of fixture congestion is such that there’s no time to dwell on disappointments, as United still have two matches to tick in the space of ten days before their ultimate test against Liverpool at Anfield.
It’s vital for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to keep Liverpool clash in mind, and manage his squad accordingly for the relatively easier fixtures on paper, because apart from quality and tactical battles, the fitness of his players could also influence the result against Klopp’s high-intensity Reds.
Keeping that in mind, here are three players that the Norwegian should use in the FA Cup third round in order to leave his key players at home and at the same time avoid cup exits in consecutive matches.
Donny van de Beek
It’s fair to say van de Beek’s start at United has been underwhelming. However, Solskjaer recently assured the Dutchman that his time will come, and gave examples of Lindelof and Fred – the duo who are now his side’s vital cog after a difficult debut season.
Still, the 23-year-old needs some appearances to show he has the potential to become as important as the aforementioned players and if it’s not possible to give him time in league matches, the player of his talent and price-tag should be the first name on the teamsheet in cup matches, at least.
At the same time, his inclusion will give Bruno Fernandes some much needed rest. The Portuguese had a rare off-night on Wednesday and a reason behind that could be fatigue.
Manchester City were the latest side to exploit the Red Devils’ weakness at set-pieces. In a close contested tie, a Lindelof miss-hit gave Pep Guardiola’s men a lead in the second-half, and after that United never managed to come back into the game.
United’s defence, unlike their midfield, isn’t filled with players who deserve to start every game without any scrutiny, and Tuanzebe, with his solid display against PSG, has already done enough to challenge the team’s first choice centre-backs.
Considering his talent, and the amount of goals he scored last campaign, Greenwood would’ve been rested for a fixture like this, however, the 19-year-old is yet to find a similar goalscoring touch this season.
The Watford clash in that regard might just be the ideal opportunity for the Englishman to get some confidence, while at the same time the United boss will be able to rest Marcus Rashford as a result.