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Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Casemiro & McTominay in midfield? Rashford on the left? Weghorst as the striker? Pellistri to get a chance?

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Manchester United travel to Seville in Spain to take on Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg on Thursday evening. United beat Betis 4-1 in the first leg at Old Trafford with goals from Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst scoring the goals. Erik ten Hag’s side bounced back well following the defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League five days previously. United have a good chance in the Europa League.

Betis have not had a win since they beat Elche 3-2, earning a 0-0 draw against Real Madrid, losing to United and more recently a 1-1 draw against Villarreal. That said, United drew 0-0 with the Premier League’s bottom club – Southampton on Sunday which saw Casemiro sent off and suspended for the next four domestic matches and Alejandro Garnacho receive an ankle injury, which will keep him out of action for the foreseeable future – two big blows for United.

United have two matches left before the first international break of 2023 with this visit to Seville to face Betis and a visit of Fulham to Old Trafford in the quarter final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday – which will be the first match Casemiro will miss, along with the Premier League fixtures against Newcastle United (A), Brentford (H) and Everton (H). At least he will be rested for the end of the season – which looks set to be just as busy as it is now.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Casemiro, McTominay;

Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;

Weghorst

Goalkeeper: De Gea

I am sure that David De Gea will continue to start in goal for United for much of the remainder of the season. I can’t see Jack Butland given an opportunity in such an important match as this one, or the one against Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday. Perhaps when United have attained what they want to in the Premier League this season, Butland could make his debut for the club and also Tom Heaton could perhaps feature for United again.

Heaton will be out of contract at the end of the season, although he does have a further year as an option which will need to be activated by the Old Trafford club. United will need to look at the goalkeeping positions at the club in the summer with De Gea also out of contract – although reports suggest he will be retained by the Old Trafford club this summer. United have had a positive season but there has been some major blips on the way – something that needs to end.

De Gea is a good player for United but there are some major problems in hims game that need to be rectified – but they say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. That will be something for Erik ten Hag and his goalkeeper coaches to work on though but the work will need to be done. United are in the market for a new number one at United but I can’t see a player who is getting games at a club come in to be behind De Gea next season – which is a big problem for United.

Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw

United have conceded nine goals in March so far and during the next two matches, both in cup competitions, United will need to ensure they progress into the next round of both the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup. For that reason, and with the international break coming up, Ten Hag could select a strong back four, at least for 60 minutes or so before making changes. Diogo Dalot could start at right-back – he will need to put in a strong performance.

On the left, Luke Shaw should start as the other fullback. His experience is key for United and even against Southampton on Sunday, he was the main attacking outlet in the first half of the match, which shows what he is capable of. Dalot and Shaw were once considered the first-choice fullbacks for United but Aaron Wan-Bissaka has shone this season, taking on Dalot for the right-back role. He will be available on the bench to come on if need be.

In the centre of the defence, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez should once again be partnered as they are the best central defenders for the club this season. Ten Hag seems to like Victor Lindelof, who could replace Varane providing he is over his recent illness, but I would prefer to start the best defenders, then make changes as and when United score more goals. That will be the key in this match. United have a three-goal lead heading into the match – which is a positive.

Midfield: Casemiro, McTominay

United’s midfield will have a big job ahead of them this season. Casemiro will be eligible to feature in the UEFA Europa League but he will then serve a four-match domestic ban missing the Emirate FA Cup quarter final against Fulham and the Premier League matches against Newcastle United. Brentford and Everton. It will be a massive loss for United – especially with Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek also out of action. United will need to prevail without him.

I think Casemiro will start this match because he’s going to get some rest from Sunday. He has been selected for Brazil’s match during the international break but between the 2 April and the 8 April, he should serve the remaining three matches of his suspension which should see him back from the clash with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Fred has been a player that has played alongside his compatriot this season but I think another should get a chance.

Scott McTominay showed his ability coming on late against Southampton at the weekend and giving him a chance to play alongside Casemiro, then perhaps with Fred or Marcel Sabitzer during the four matches Casemiro will be suspended for, could put him on the pedestal to achieve more this season for United but also to show the player that United will most probably sell in the summer transfer window. It could be good for both United and the player.

Attacking Midfield: Antony, Fernandes, Rashford

United will need to start this match with the strongest players, at least on paper to try and get the job done for United. With a three-goal cushion heading into the match, one more goal scored for United would give United a great chance of reaching the quarter final stage of the UEFA Europa League. Antony has a lot to prove at United this season. He has scored seven goals and one assist so far but could provide a lot more in his debut season for the Old Trafford club.

Bruno Fernandes has had an on and off season and last week against Betis, he worked hard and helped to get the win for his club. This is the Fernandes that everyone wants to see this season. He has eight goals and ten assists so far this season, which is a good figure for the attacking midfielder and he will be seeking to score and assist more goals. If he could get a goal in each of the two matches before the international break, it could be good for him and United.

Marcus Rashford is the top scorer for United this season with 26 goals and seven assists. In this attacking midfield three, the players selected are responsible for 40 goals and 18 assists – 58 goal contributions. Rashford will be annoyed that he could not score against Southampton at the weekend and he will want to get that elusive goal in this match to make up for it and help guide United into Friday’s UEFA Europa League quarter final, semi final and final draw.

Forwards: Weghorst

Wout Weghorst has two goals and three assists so far this season and despite not being able to score in his 44 minutes against Southampton at the weekend, he did have some good chances from that game. It all seems to have gone wrong for United with Weghorst playing in a deeper role from the start of the match and perhaps it is time to revert back to what did seem to work well for United with Weghorst leading the line? It is a simple things to chance but a positive one.

The Dutchman has been a workhorse for United this season and few seem to recognise that. Granted, he’s not the prolific striker that United need but in terms of freeing up space, creating space and holding up the ball – that is a major positive for United. He has played 1,165 minutes of football for United in the 16 matches he’s been available for – starting all of them. He’s not picked up an injury and seems to want to continue fighting for United after winning his first trophy.

What more could anyone ask for from a player? Granted, I would like to see him score more goals and I do believe that will come. He has brought some experience to the club this season and in terms of performances, he has given everything he has on the pitch. He scored his first Old Trafford goal last week and it was such an emotional occasion for him and a long time coming. Hopefully he can start to find more goals for United in the next two matches.

Substitutes: Heaton; Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, Sabitzer, Mainoo; Martial, Sancho, Pellistri, Elanga

Ten Hag will be able to choose from a maximum of twelve substitutes against Betis, using five of them throughout the match. The 4-1 victory at Old Trafford gives United a three-goal cushion in Seville, which should make them favourites to win this match. Scoring a goal to put the match to bed should be a priority. With De Gea starting, I think Tom Heaton will be on the bench. It could well be that Jack Butland is on the bench too, but that could be a wasted chance for fringe players.

In defence, United could have Victor Lindelof, providing he has recovered from his illness, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Aaron Wan-Bissaka available. That is a strong defensive bench, which could be needed for this match, especially if Betis open the scoring. That could change the game. In the midfield, Fred, Marcel Sabitzer, providing he has recovered from his knock, and Kobbie Mainoo could all provide something in the midfield, should changes be required.

United’s attack is perhaps one of the stronger areas, at least on paper this season. Against Betis, United could have Anthony Martial, as long as he has recovered from his latest injury, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri and Anthony Elanga. Granted, Sancho is not in good form and Elanga does not seem to offer goals but Pellistri is a player that brings excitement to the squad. With Alejandro Garnacho injured, the Uruguayan could get a good opportunity to shine.

Written by John Walker

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Manchester United

Ratings: De Gea, Martinez & Sabitzer were great against Fulham; Fernandes’ brace was a positive too

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Manchester United beat Fulham 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Emirate FA Cup quarter final. It was Fulham who were the better team for large spells as Aleksandar Mitrović opening the scoring in the 50th minute of the match. A Willian handball gave a penalty for United which Bruno Fernandes scored – Willian, Mitrović and Marco Silva were sent off. Marcel Saboteur then scored his first goal for United before Fernandes scored a second.

Fulham started well at Old Trafford with Aleksandar Mitrović showing great strength down the right in the second minute, whipping in a good ball that Scott McTominay had to be alert to knock behind. Harry Maguire then headed clear the resulting set-piece. David De Gea made a save in the third minute as Issa Diop was found 15-yards out on an angle, looping a good header towards De Gea, who had the help the ball over the crossbar. Fulham were lively.

In the fourth minute of the match Mitrović had a penalty appeal waved away after he thought he was fouled by Luke Shaw in the box. United seemed to be sloppy from the start with Maguire adding to it with bad passing from the back. Andreas Pereira then drove forward in the eighth minute, found Mitrović who then set up Willian on the edge of the box, who should have found more but hit his effort far and wide of the target. United needed to be so much better.

In the tenth minute, Bruno Fernandes was down needing treatment after seemingly being elbowed just above his waist. He was fine to continue though. Marcus Rashford launched an attack in the 13th minute, finding Wout Weghorst on the edge of the box for the Dutchman’s finish was not good enough and was straight at Bernd Leno. Mitrović seemed to be lively in the early stages of the match, seeking a goal against United in the Emirates FA Cup.

Fulham had a good chance in the 14th minute with Harrison Reed nicking the ball off Lisandro Martinez then charging into the box. He had three in the box but his final ball was not good enough and the ball was cleared out for a corner. The corner found its way to Tim Ream on the left flank and he delivered a good ball across the face of the goal but there were no takers for Fulham. Andreas Pereira was booked in the 18th minute for a foul on Rashford.

Maguire was booked three minutes later, which would be a suspension for the semi final of the competition, should United get there where the winner of this match will face Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley. United were close in the 24th minute as Rashford cut onto his right foot, curled the ball into where Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer were but neither of them could reach it in the end. Fulham wanted another penalty in the 26th minute after Mitrović went down.

It was not given though as there was nothing in it – other than a dive for Mitrović. Fulham had a chance in the 31st minute but Mitrović was unable to find the back of the net. United had a chance at the other end a minute later with Rashford the source of imagination for United but on his final ball, Leno was able to get to block it which ricocheted of Rashford and out for a goal kick. United then started to find some flow but needed a lot more than they had brought to far.

Martinez defended well in the 40th minute as Mitrović was sent up the channel, having an eye for the box. He tried to beat the Argentinian defender with a change of pace but Martinez stayed strong and came away with the ball. Sabitzer had a chance on goal in the 41st minute, taking on a strike from 22-yards but Leno parried it away. Jadon Sancho started something a minute later, with Sabitzer also involved but Rashford did not get to it. It was 0-0 at half time.

There were no substitutions for either team during the break. Fulham started on top again in the second half with João Palhinha and Reed keeping the chance alive, Willian then back heeled the ball to Antonee Robinson who shot at goal but De Gea tipped it over the crossbar. De Gea made another save a minute later was Willian struck from the edge of the box. Fulham opened the scoring in the 50th minute through Mitrović, who buried the ball provided by Issa Diop.

In the 54th minute, United went direct to Weghorst who held it for Rashford, then finding Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder took his strike from the edge of the box but it was wide of the target. Ten Hag made a substitution in the 59th minute with Antony replacing McTominay. Willian started rolling back the years in the 64th minute, showing his class and ability. He was unable to inspire Fulham to double their lead though. United still needed to get something back.

De Gea performed another great save in the 66th after Mitrović rose highest to head towards goal. Fernandes had some involvement in something in the 68th minute, sending it in to Sancho, who struck it and it deflected off Rashford. In the 70th minute, Willian seemed to handle the ball, being honest about it. VAR got involved and the referee looked at the screen. He sent Willian off and gave United a penalty – it was a harsh sending off for the Brazilian.

Mitrović got nasty, pushed the referee and pushed his face into his face and was sent off for that. Marco Silva was also sent off for his reaction from the double red card, which turned into a treble. Fernandes took the penalty, scoring his ninth goal of the season for United. Two minutes later, Sabitzer scored his first goal for United after Shaw played the ball into him as he was running in the box. VAR looked at the goal and awarded it. United were 1-0 down to 2-1 up.

That was a dramatic ten minutes. Willian was perhaps treated badly for that sending off but what Mitrović did was out of order and he deserves that. Silva also deserved to be sent off for his reaction to what happened. Some will say United got their way with the referees again but it was purely on Fulham what happened. United just gained from it. That is what happens in football. The Fernandes penalty followed by the Saboteur goal was brilliant for United.

United seemed to cool the game down after that, trying to keep possession – dominating the game, which was a first to be fair. It was a terrible game for United before the penalty. Antony came close in the 88th minute – it tested Leno and Diop but he was not able to score. Fred replaced Rashford in the 83rd minute of the match, giving United more in the midfield with them 2-1 up at this stage of the match. United just needed to keep the ball and keep Fulham a bay.

In the 89th minute, Luis Boa Norte – Fulham’s assistant manager, made a triple substitution with Cédric Spares, Manot Solomon and Daniel James replacing Kenny Tete, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Harrison Reed. In the 90th minute, Tom Cairney replaced Andreas Pereira. Seven minutes were added at the end of the second half. United found a third goal, through Fernandes – his tenth of the season, assisted by Fred in the sixth minute of added time.

It was United that would face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup semi final at Wembley in April with Manchester City facing Sheffield United in the other semi final. United’s match will probably be on Sunday 23 April as they are playing in the UEFA Europa League the Thursday prior to the match. Ten Hag was happy, United were happy and the supporters were happy. Another trip to Wembley for United – another chance for another trophy this season.

Player Ratings

David De Gea: Made some great saves to deny Fulham – one of which kept them in the game. Conceded to Mitrović but later in the second half, that threat was gone. It was a comfortable match for De Gea. ★★★★★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Did not seem to be at his best until Antony was on the pitch. His final third play before that was dire. Their ability with each other is good to see. One of the better aspects of his game. ★★★★★★

Harry Maguire: Not the best performances – one of the worst. Hauled down Mitrović and was booked for it – therefore misses the semi final. Kept his place as Raphael Varane was ill and regressed massively. ★★★★★

Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian really imposed himself against Fulham, although Harrison Reed did cause him to misjudge him. That said, he was great at the back for United and health with Aleksandar Mitrović well. ★★★★★★★★

Luke Shaw: Did not really get going to help United on the attack much. Did get his seventh assist of the season though playing the ball into Marcel Sabitzer for him to score his first United goal, overlapping Jadon Sancho. ★★★★★★★

Scott McTominay: He was disciplined positionally when he did not have the ball – not that he was bad with it. He got a chance on goal just before the break. Replaced by Antony in the 58th minute of the match – before the madness. ★★★★★

Marcel Sabitzer: Scored his first goal for United. Took time to adjust with Scott McTominay. Had a good shot in the first half and played in a cross. His goal was a brilliant finish – first Austrian to score for United. ★★★★★★★★

Jadon Sancho: Seemed off the pace in the first half. Seemed slow on and off the ball at times. Did not get much dynamism in the match but did win the penalty for United with the ball touching Willian’s hand. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Careless with the ball at times. He changed his performance when United won the penalty levelling from the spot. He got his second of the game in added time, giving him ten goals and 10 assists this season. ★★★★★★★

Marcus Rashford: He was the one player that created something in the first half. He was quiet in the second half and did not get many chances. He was replaced by Fred in the 83rd minute with United 2-1 up. ★★★★★★

Wout Weghorst: It was not a great day for the Dutchman against Fulham. He was unable to get many chances towards goal, with his first shot not actually a shot, more of a back pass. He was put in the number ten role. ★★★★★

Substitutes

Antony: Replaced McTominay 58′. He helped United on the attack with led to the penalty. He was lively since his introduction. It was good that he recovered from illness ahead of this match. Superb player on his day. ★★★★★★★

Fred: Replaced Rashford 83′. Came on giving more energy with United in the lead. He got his fourth assist of the season for Fernandes’ second goal of the match. He was an important substitute for United. ★★★★★★

Match Information

Goals: Bruno Fernandes 75′ penalty’, 90+6′, Marcel Sabitzer 77′; Aleksandar Mitrović 50′

Assists: Luke Shaw 77′, Fred 90+6′; Issa Diop 50′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; McTominay (Antony 58′), Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford (Fred 83′); Weghorst

Substitutes Not Used: Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Mainoo; Pellistri, Elanga

Bookings: Harry Maguire 21′; Andreas Pereira 18′, Willian s/o 72′, Aleksandar Mitrović 72′

Written by John Walker

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Confirmed XI: Maguire & Martinez in defence; Sabitzer, Sancho, Fernandes & Rashford supporting Weghorst in attack against Fulham

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Manchester United face Fulham in the Emirates FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford this afternoon. Erik ten Hag’s side will play their second quarter final of the season days after reaching their third quarter final in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face Sevilla over two legs next month. This match against Fulham is the final match for United prior to the international break, then the season will continue with United playing nine matches in April – another busy month.

Should United beat Fulham and earn a semi final place in the FA Cup this season, the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League would be postponed as that is the weekend the semi finals will be played at Wembley, so United would need to find the time to reschedule that match, plus the one against Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend. Should United go all the way in both competitions, they will have a busy period ahead.

United and Fulham have already met at Craven Cottage in the Premier League this season, just prior to the FIFA World Cup where United won 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in in the last minute of added time. United will face Fulham again at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season. The draw for the semi final of the FA Cup should be done prior to this match commencing, providing extra time is not needed between Brighton and Grimsby Town.

Manchester United

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw;

McTominay, Sabitzer;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Weghorst

Substitutes

Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Fred, Mainoo; Antony, Pellistri, Elanga

Fulham

Leno;

Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson;

Reed, Palhinha;

De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian;

Mitrovic

Substitutes

Rodak; Adarabioyo, Soares; Cairney, James, Lukic; Wilson, Solomon, Vinicius

United and Fulham have met 87 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs. United have won 53 times, drawn 20 times and lost 14 times. Earlier this season United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage, just prior to the FIFA World Cup with Christian Eriksen and Alejandro Garnacho scoring either side of Dan James’ equaliser. This will be the second meeting of the two teams this season – United face Fulham at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match this season.

United and Fulham have met 14 times in the FA Cup – United have won eight times, drawn four times and lost twice. The last defeat to Fulham in the FA Cup came back in 1908. United have scored 27 goals, conceded 15 and kept four clean sheets. The last time the two teams met in the FA Cup was back in 2013 – a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford with Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and a brave from Javier Hernandez before Aaron Hughes scored a late consolation goal.

Andreas Pereira, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Edwin van de Sar, Paul Parker, Kieran Richardson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Chris Smalling, Tim Fosu-Mensah, George Best and Charlie Mitten have all played for both Manchester United and Fulham. Best is probably the most well-known along with van de Sar, Parker, Cole, Berbatov, Mitten Saha and Smalling. Pereira is doing well at Fulham after being sold by United. He has three goals and six assists in 31 appearances so far.

Written by John Walker

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Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Pellistri, Weghorst & Rashford lead attack? Fernandes, McTominay & Sabitzer secure midfield? Varane & Martinez in defence?

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Manchester United face Fulham in the Emirates FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Erik ten Hag’s side will play their second quarter final of the season days after reaching their third quarter final in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face Sevilla over two legs next month. This match against Fulham is the final match for United prior to the international break, then the season will continue with United playing nine matches in April – another busy month.

Should United beat Fulham and earn a semi final place in the FA Cup this season, the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League would be postponed as that is the weekend the semi finals will be played at Wembley, so United would need to find the time to reschedule that match, plus the one against Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend. Should United go all the way in both competitions, they will have a busy period ahead.

United and Fulham have already met at Craven Cottage in the Premier League this season, just prior to the FIFA World Cup where United won 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in in the last minute of added time. United will face Fulham again at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season. The draw for the semi final of the FA Cup should be done prior to this match commencing, providing extra time is not needed between Brighton and Grimsby Town.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Fernandes, McTominay, Sabitzer;

Pellistri, Weghorst, Rashford

Goalkeeper: De Gea

David De Gea has been a positive for United for the majority of the season. He will want to help guide United to more trophies this season after already helping the club lift the Carabao Cup this season. United have earned a UEFA Europa League quarter final next month and will be seeking to reach the semi final of the Emirates FA Cup by beating Fulham. I cannot see Jack Butland or Tom Heaton playing in goal this weekend if De Gea is fit to do so.

Granted, De Gea will need to keep fresh but having not been selected to represent Spain during the international break, he will get a fortnight off to rest and recover ahead of the next busy period for United which will see them play nine matches in April and beating Fulham will postpone another Premier League match which will need to be placed into the calendar just like the clash with Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend.

United will probably need to rotate in the coming month or so but not now. Solidifying their place in the Premier League will need to be done as a minimum this season with the priority being to lift the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, seeking a cup treble in Erik ten Hag’s first season, which would really upset the ABUs. However, lifting either of them would be a positive alongside the Carabao Cup and show that United are on their way to coming back.

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw

United’s defence has done well this season but there is a bigger test ahead of them which will result in the likes of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire getting more minutes during the remainder of the season. That said, it is Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez who are the preferred central defensive partnership at United this season with the Frenchman and the Argentinian complimenting themselves. Another strong purchase in the summer could solve the defence.

I think Varane, who was rested for the Real Betis victory will start against Fulham with Martinez parenting him once again. The Argentinian came off in the last 15 minutes on Thursday, giving him a bit more time to recover for Sunday’s match. He will be happy with the number of fixtures he has been playing this season though, as will Varane. They hold the keys for United getting into the semi finals of the Emirates FA Cup this season and I think United will do that.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka should start as the right-back against Fulham as for much of the season he has been a positive impact. That said, against Betis, he was not his usual self, which could have been caused by fatigue. Diogo Dalot is a positive player but since his latest return from injury, he’s not been the same player. Luke Shaw, who was rested against Betis to start against Fulham. He has had a great season and will be seeking to make it even better. This defence is United’s best.

Midfield: Fernandes, McTominay, Sabitzer

United’s midfield will face a blow for the next four domestic fixtures with Casemiro suspended after his red card against Southampton last weekend. It will be something that United will have to deal with though. Against Fulham, United could revert to a midfield three in a 4-3-3 formation as Bruno Fernandes has been playing as a central midfielder more recently which could be to counteract the absence of Casemiro. United still have a few options so it is up to Ten Hag.

Fernandes should keep his place as he’s not going to get much rest having been selected for Portugal during the international break with compatriot Diogo Dalot. Fernandes has been off the boil in the last few matches, which could be down to United’s busy fixture schedule and the fact he’s played in all but two matches thus far. Scott McTominay could also start, playing as the defensive minded midfielder – a role in which he has played many times before.

Marcel Sabitzer made his return after missing two matches due to a knock against Real Betis on Thursday evening, coming off the bench. He could start in this match to aid Fernandes in the attacking midfield role as he has an eye for a goal and enjoys playing further forward. United could change their formation at times during the match too. Fred is also an option but he’s largely been an impact substitute this season and could prove something extra against Fulham.

Forwards: Pellistri, Weghorst, Rashford

Facundo Pellistri should start for United against Fulham after playing well against Real Betis. Antony is likely to miss out this match and with Jadon Sancho in poor form, playing the young Uruguayan would be a much better option as he has done well when called upon this season. He made his first start for the club on Thursday evening and seemed to be lively on the attack, doing well on the right flank. United could rotate him for the remainder of the season, which would work.

Wout Weghorst will continue to play as the striker in this team whilst Anthony Martial is still recovering from his current injury before the next one comes. Despite the criticism and the lack of goals scored, he has been a largely positive player for United since making his loan move from Fulham, well Besiktas where he had been loaned to last summer. He has two goals to his name so far and three assists, so is on the right track – he will be seeking to score again though.

Marcus Rashford is the player to beat this season after he scored his 27th goal of the season on Thursday evening. Granted, he was off the pace for much of the match but in the 55th minute, se stepped up and scored a brilliant goal for United to settle the tie giving United a four-goal cushion in their eventual 5-1 aggregate victory. Rashford will be tired but also determined to succeed for United this season in what has been his best season yet for the Old Trafford club.

Substitutes: Heaton; Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Dalot; Fred, Mainoo; Sancho, Elanga

Ten Hag will be able to name nine players on the bench against Fulham, three short of what he could have named in the UEFA Europa League – although he only had ten players on the bench because of illness and injury. I would expect Tom Heaton to remain on the bench as the reserve goalkeeper against Fulham with De Gea expected to start once again for United. I cannot see another goalkeeper coming in at this stage of the season, unless there is an injury.

In the defence, United have the best depth going into this match. Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Diogo Dalot should all be available for United. The defence is not the worst that it has been for United post-Sir Alex Ferguson but there is room for improvement. In the midfield, Fred and Kobbie Mainoo could be called on to make an impact if needed which would be good for the pair of them if it happens. United are literally at bare bones in this area now.

In the attack, United could have just Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga on the bench with the likelihood that Antony and Anthony Martial both miss this match, which really cuts down the attacking options for Ten Hag. That said, the players that start the match should be good enough to find the victory for United and Sancho could get a chance to show his ability once again and Elanga could finally start to show some promise, which would be good to see.

Written by John Walker

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