Manchester United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this week, their first meeting since United’s 4-0 win on the opening day of the new season.
The two clubs have won this competition six times between them this century and beat lower league opposition in the last round, but both managers are expected to hand opportunities to young players rather than go toe-to-toe with their strongest sides.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that he intends to give chances to at least a couple of his emerging talents on Wednesday night, maybe more.
Here’s a look at the starting XI the United boss should pick…
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Sergio Romero (GK) – It was Romero who got the nod ahead of David de Gea in the last round of the competition, while the Argentine has also played twice in the Europa League this season and would be expected to start again in this one.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – Recent time off because of illness should ensure that Wan-Bissaka is not in need of a break due to fatigue. The quality of opposition United are facing may also tempt Solskjaer to stick with his first choice right-back.
Victor Lindeof (CB) – Harry Maguire could be rested, but Lindelof may still keep his place, such has been how out of favour Phil Jones has been this season. There would have been a case for Axel Tuanzebe to start, but the home-grown starlet is injured.
Marcos Rojo (CB) – Somehow, Rojo has gone from being completely overlooked at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, to being a reliable first alternative at the back in recent weeks. The Argentine international is effectively playing for his future every time he steps onto the pitch.
Brandon Williams (LB) – The sudden emergence of Williams has ensured that Luke Shaw will have serious competition for the long-term left-back role when he eventually returns to fitness. Solskjaer thought Williams was the best player on the pitch against Partizan last week.
James Garner (CM) – Garner is another home-grown talent who is well liked by Solskjaer, previously drawing comparisons from the manager to Michael Carrick. The 18-year-old made his full United debut in the Europa League last week and was a calming substitute on Sunday.
Fred (CM) – The continued absence of Paul Pogba has ensured Fred has remained in the United side and overdue improvements have been seen in the last couple of games. This will probably be an opportunity to rest Scott McTominay, who has become otherwise undroppable.
Andreas Pereira (AM) – Solskjaer has the option of picking Juan Mata, but will no doubt be tempted to keep Pereira in the side after impressive back-to-back Premier League displays. The Brazilian has started a lot, but not in Europe, so freshness shouldn’t be an issue.
Jesse Lingard (RW) – Lingard has work to do to earn back a regular starting place after an extremely poor 2019 calendar year. This game is a chance to kick that off, with Daniel James set to be rested. James did come off the bench to score against Chelsea back in August, though.
Anthony Martial (ST) – After missing close to two months with a thigh problem, Anthony Martial will benefit from more minutes to sharpen his match fitness. The signs of his quality that was sorely lacking during his absence were there for all to see against Norwich on Sunday.
Mason Greenwood (LW) – The 18-year-old Greenwood could replace Marcus Rashford in the starting XI. He has recovered from a recent injury earlier this month and will be looking to score in the Carabao Cup for the second game in a row.