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Man Utd’s FA Cup Final Lineup: Three Vital Positions Are Up for Contention

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Man Utd’s FA Cup Final Lineup: Three Crucial Spots Up for Grabs

For the first time in months, Manchester United’s defense boasts multiple available center backs, providing manager Erik ten Hag with newfound flexibility. However, selecting the attack for the FA Cup final against Manchester City presents a more complex challenge.

Strategic Rotations Ahead of the FA Cup Final

In the recent 3-0 triumph over Newcastle, Ten Hag’s focus swiftly shifted to the FA Cup clash. He strategically managed his squad during the Brighton match, resting key players Lisandro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes, and Kobbie Mainoo. All three are expected to be on the Wembley pitch, ready to observe the national anthem.

Managing Workload for Key Players

Sofyan Amrabat and Amad Diallo, also substituted during the Brighton game, are likely to be on the bench for the final. Amad, having never started three consecutive matches for United, faced a rigorous schedule. Similarly, Amrabat had not enjoyed a three-game run since December. Despite playing 87 minutes against Arsenal and the full match against Newcastle, Amrabat’s performance against Brighton was lackluster, making it clear that Casemiro will need to return to midfield, with United now having sufficient cover at center back.

Defensive Stability and Experience

Martinez completed his 59 minutes without issues, Raphael Varane gained valuable minutes, Jonny Evans is fit, Willy Kambwala was benched, and Victor Lindelof resumed training. Given this depth, keeping Casemiro at center half would be counterproductive. Varane and Casemiro, veterans with seven Champions League final victories between them, must start in their preferred roles at Wembley.

Full Back Dilemma

previous meeting between man Utd and man City in the FA Cup final

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, one of only two fit senior full backs, is a default starter. Wan-Bissaka and Dalot have started the last 12 consecutive games, with Wan-Bissaka reclaiming his right-back position for the past three matches. This final could mark the last appearance for several United players, including Wan-Bissaka, who stood out in last year’s final by winning a crucial penalty.

Attacking Selections and Strategy

Alejandro Garnacho, a regular fixture in the starting XI, played another full 90 minutes at Brighton. He has started 37 consecutive games and is expected to dominate the left flank against City. Fernandes, pivotal in pressing and linking play, will likely begin as the No.10, despite experimenting as a false nine previously proving unconvincing. Fernandes has thrived in derbies, particularly against City, where he has twice started on the right and scored.

Finalizing the Forward Line

With Rasmus Hojlund as the sole striker, his inclusion is logical given his scoring contributions against Newcastle and Brighton. This leaves one attacking role up for debate. Scott McTominay’s knack for scoring off the bench might reserve him a substitute role, while Amad’s potential inclusion against City’s formidable defense seems a stretch.

This scenario potentially paves the way for Marcus Rashford, who holds extensive derby experience, having scored in six Manchester derbies, including two match-winners. A forward line featuring Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford, and Hojlund could prove to be a dynamic yet risky strategy.

Conclusion

Ten Hag’s selection decisions for the FA Cup final are complex, balancing defensive solidity with attacking potency. With experienced defenders returning and strategic rotations planned, Manchester United aims to field a well-prepared XI to challenge Manchester City at Wembley.

 

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