On Wednesday, Manchester United will face Newcastle United in the the recently renamed Capital One Cup at Old Trafford.
In years gone by, the League Cup competition has always been where our youngsters get a chance to make their impressions on the big stage but this year looks to be a bit different, with quite a few first team players needing game time. Guessing the line-up for Manchester United is hard normally but correctly naming the starting XI for this game is really tough due to the sheer number of choices we have.
I’m expecting David de Gea to start between the sticks. Although Sam Johnstone deserves his chance in the limelight, we have two world class goalkeepers who need game time so it is a case of needs must.
My guess is that Marnick Vermijl and Alexander Buttner will start as our full-backs. The young Belgian Vermijl came out with the first team on tour and impressed when he got minutes at right-back and there’s no way Rafael will play on Wednesday, meaning Vermijl is the best option and deserves his chance on a big occasion.
Alexander Buttner is a guaranteed starter in my eyes. He will be biting at the heels of Wednesday nights game after his impressive debut and will be hoping to build on it. Another home game against more established opposition in the Capital One Cup is the perfect game for him to gain more experience.
As for the centre backs, it’s a tough one to call. I’ve gone for Nemanja Vidic and Michael Keane. I think Keane will start as he has had a great progression through the youth system, culminating in winning the 2011/12 Reserve Player of the Year and with United struggling with centre backs right now, Sir Alex might want to see how assured a performance young Keane can give.
Alongside him, I expect to see Vidic. Sir Alex won’t be risking Evans or Ferdinand after both picked up knocks against Liverpool, so bringing back our captain seems the most likely option. He was only kept out of the Liverpool game as a precaution, so hopefully he is fit to start.
I think our central midfield pairing will be Darren Fletcher and Nick Powell. Fletcher is almost certain to start after Sir Alex admitted this is the “perfect” game for him to make his full comeback and after his superb cameo against Wigan, Sir Alex will be keen to see what Powell can do from a starting role. Although with Tunnicliffe, Petrucci, Anderson and Cleverley all potential starters too, that’s a tough one to call correctly.
On the wings, I predict Jesse Lingard and Nani. Of all the youngsters on tour, Lingard shone like a diamond in the sand. He was supremely confident and didn’t look out of place alongside the first team players at all, so I fully expect him to get a starting role. As for Nani, well, he was utter tripe against Liverpool and we all know he is a form player. Sir Alex might see this game against Newcastle as a game he can use as a springboard because right now, he doesn’t deserve a spot in the first team.
Up top, I’m expecting to see a starting role from Joshua King and probably Javier Hernandez alongside him. King has been doing very well with the U21s and having come out and said that he will leave United if he can’t get more game time to keep his international spot with Norway, Sir Alex might give him his opportunity tonight.
Although I do think we will get our first glimpse of new signing Angelo Henriquez, I don’t think a starting role is suitable. Javier Hernandez has had a bit part role in the campaign so far and a full run out against Newcastle seems the perfect game to give him some valuable minutes.
Who do you think will get a start on Wednesday?