A nail-biting finale at Old Trafford on Saturday night leaves fans demanding a win and a clean sheet, with the FA Cup being one of the only remaining chances of silverware for the Reds this season.
After the draw on Saturday night against Everton, I woke up on Sunday feeling like I had an agonising hangover. All of the energy, happiness and life that I had felt all week after our 9-0 victory over Southampton, was gone (<em>alongside any hopes of us winning #21 this season). </em>We were left asking a lot of questions over some of the players’ positions within the squad and whether we had any chance at all of getting our hands on a trophy in the summer. But now, our focus is drawn towards the FA Cup quarter-final game against West Ham.After the draw on Saturday night against Everton, I woke up on Sunday feeling like I had an agonising hangover. All of the energy, happiness and life that I had felt all week after our 9-0 victory over Southampton, was gone (alongside any hopes of us winning #21 this season). We were left asking a lot of questions over some of the players’ positions within the squad and whether we had any chance at all of getting our hands on a trophy in the summer. But now, our focus is drawn towards the FA Cup quarter-final game against West Ham.
A devastating blow to the team which emerged this afternoon was that Paul Pogba would be absent for the next “few weeks” due to a thigh injury. Given his impeccable re-established form and being awarded Manchester United’s Player of the Month, Pogba and his talents will be hugely missed in the team over the coming weeks. With that, comes the question of whether this is Donny Van de Beek’s time to shine and establish himself in the team for a long run of games. Since he arrived at the club in September, Donny has struggled to find his name in the Starting XI for the majority of our Premier League games, but Pogba’s absence could allow him the opportunity to prove to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he is the perfect replacement, should Pogba depart from Manchester United in the summer. However, with David Moyes’ in-form and impressive West Ham side finding themselves 6th in the table, is Ole prepared to make changes that could come back to bite him? Something we learnt from the final two minutes of Saturday’s game!
One change that is pretty much inevitable for the FA Cup game is the appearance of Dean Henderson in goal. Though Henderson has been Ole’s number one choice for goalkeeper in the Cup games, after De Gea’s disaster-class on Saturday night, eyes and pressure are on him now more than ever to see if he’s got what it takes to be United’s #1 and challenge De Gea for his position.
Predicted line up:
Having rested Martial during the Everton game, I think Ole will start him tonight and rest Cavani. The rest of the forwards and midfield players I believe will stay the same from the previous game. I can see Donny making an appearance at some point in the 2nd half and playing a full game at the weekend in the game against West Brom.
I was unsure as to whether we would see Telles in for Shaw at LB, but after coming to the realisation that this is one of the *possible* two chances we have of lifting a trophy this season, I’m not sure whether Solskjaer will be wanting to take many risks. Therefore, I think he’ll stick with Shaw given that he is providing man-of-the-match performances every single game. All being well with his fitness, this is a game where we need to see Bailly at CB with Maguire (or Lindelof if Ole decides to rest Maguire). The disastrous performance from the Maguire x Lindelof centre-back pairing on Saturday night is one that simply can’t be repeated tonight and I wouldn’t be taking any risks of them repeating the same errors that they’ve made time and time again.
For me, this is a hard one to predict because it ultimately boils down to what the team took away from the Everton game (aside from a depressing 1 point, when it should’ve been 3). If we make the same defensive errors, (playing 4 players onside in the final few seconds of the game, conceding easy, weak goals and being defensively passive by not making attempts to block shots) I can see us struggling to get a win. But, if we’ve learnt from our mistakes I’d be expecting a 3-1 United win.
Let me know your thoughts!