Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag already knows nine of his FA Cup final XI

When the FA Cup final comes around next month, United can prevent Manchester City from completing a treble.

A theme running through Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United this season has been a consistency of selection.

In February, United won the Carabao Cup thanks in part to the Reds’ manager’s refusal to frequently rest and rotate. With just one point needed from their final two games to guarantee a top-four finish, United is poised to add Champions League football to their list of accomplishments this season.

That might occur on Thursday at Old Trafford against Chelsea, with a final-day home game against Fulham to cap the campaign. The final game of Liverpool’s season is against relegated Southampton, the only team that can surpass United.

With the FA Cup final approaching, Ten Hag will be hoping to secure the necessary point at the very first opportunity. This will give him the chance to evaluate his team for the Premier League’s season-ending game. The fact that a victory would prevent rival Manchester City from matching the treble the Reds won in 1999 will be enough motivation for United to win the trophy at Wembley.

City will enter as the favorite after winning the league with three games remaining and with the Champions League final still to come. But after defeating the Champions in January, United demonstrated their ability to do so. Ten Hag’s team is not a hard one to predict, and nine of the XI that started for United that day can be expected to line up for the showpiece.

Raphael Varane will start at center back, and David De Gea will start in goal. Given that captain Harry Maguire is expected to miss out due to injury, Victor Lindelof is likely to start alongside the France international in Lisandro Martinez’s place.

Luke Shaw could play inside, a position he has excelled in this season. However, ever since Varane got back into shape, he has switched back to left back. The right back position is up for grabs on the other flank between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot, but the former is a clear favorite after starting the previous four matches.

Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are the starting midfield duo, with Bruno Fernandes positioned directly in front of them. Due to Marcel Sabitzer’s injury, Scott McTominay and Fred will have to settle for bench spots. Marcus Rashford and Antony would probably start on the wings, and Antony Martial might start in the middle. A lack of goals has caused Wout Weghorst to lose his starting spot, and Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho may be forced to settle for cameo roles off the bench.

In fact, the only selection decisions Ten Hag might wrestle with are at right back and whether to start Martial, as he did in the derby victory earlier this year before the Frenchman was forced off due to injury. Rashford could also be positioned in the center, a move that worked well for United against City at Old Trafford, and Sancho or perhaps Garnacho could be positioned on the flanks.

The cup final results highlight Ten Hag’s preference for the familiar while also highlighting the work United need to do in the summer transfer window with such a stable side and few outsiders pressing their cases from the XI. The first Manchester Cup Final Derby will serve as additional proof of the work needed by United to catch City the following year.


Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *