Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to ring the changes tomorrow as his side take on West Ham United for the second time in four days.
The two teams are set to clash in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford, a competition which Solskjaer usually uses to rest senior players and blood youngsters.
However, with a particularly large and strong senior squad this season, the boss will want to give minutes to fringe senior players, which will probably leave few opportunities for his academy stars – at least, in the starting line-up.
In goal, we expect that Dean Henderson will be given some minutes as part of his comeback from illness following Covid infection. He has played for the Under 23s already and so it is a logical next step.
Although there are plenty of centre back options, including Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, the manager usually likes to play captain Harry Maguire no matter what, so we expect this to be the case again tomorrow. Raphael Varane might be rotated for Victor Lindelof as he was against Young Boys.
At full-back, it seems very likely that Diogo Dalot will be given a start as he will be required next week to cover for the suspended Aaron Wan-Bissakaagainst Villareal in the Champions League. He will probably replace the Englishman, although if Luke Shaw is in need of a rest he could be deployed on the left.
Alex Telles is still not ready to return from injury.
If there is any hope for Donny van de Beek to have a career at United, he surely has to start this game. Given a chance against Young Boys, the Dutchman appeared to be performing well but was hauled off at half-time after the Wan-Bissaka sending off. It seemed a very harsh decision.
Nemanja Matic could feature just behind Van de Beek or they could make up a double pivot in defensive midfield
Another player that Solskjaer never seems to rest is Bruno Fernandes but perhaps this will be one of those rare occasions. The manager has already said that Jesse Lingard will start the game so he could be given the number 10 role.
Jadon Sancho has still not found his feet at United and this should be an ideal opportunity for him to get more minutes under his belt. We expect him to play on the left wing, with Juan Matagetting a rare opportunity on the right.
This leaves the centre-forward position. With Ronaldo expected to be rested, Solskjaer said he hoped Edinson Cavani might be available but the safer option would be for him to have half an hour off the bench. Anthony Martialcould therefore lead the line and will hope to re-find the form of 2019/20 that deserted him last season.
Some United youngsters could see action off the bench although the team selection for tonight’s Under 21’s Papa Johns Trophy match against Bradford could reveal who is in with a chance. The likes of Anthony Elanga, Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri and Teden Mengi will be hoping for a run-out. Amad Diallo is still recovering from a thigh injury.
With all that in mind, here is our predicted XI for tomorrow’s game: