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Stoke City vs Manchester United – Predicted XI: Time for Zaha to shine

by Tom Newbold

Anders Lindegaard – David Moyes will see this League Cup fixture as an opportunity to give his No. 2 goalkeeper some first team action.

Fabio – Assuming Chris Smalling has not recovered from injury, Fabio should be called up for a rare start ahead of his brother.

Rio Ferdinand – Despite a poor display last week, Ferdinand will be called upon here as Moyes looks to keep players fit and fresh ahead of the busy festive period.

Jonny Evans – With lingering injuries potentially ruling out Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans is the player to partner Rio Ferdinand at centre-back in this quarter-final match.

Alex Büttner – Like Ferdinand, Büttner will allow other players (Evra) to rest.

stoke-awayWilfried Zaha – Zaha is likely to be rewarded with a rare first team start against Stoke after some recent substitute appearances.

Phil Jones – Constant shifting of positions is not ideal for Jones but because of limited midfield options he may be required to start against Stoke. Darren Fletcher could well be called upon for some more first team minutes later on in the game.

Tom Cleverley – Cleverley put in a good display against Aston Villa at the weekend and Moyes is likely to enable him to continue that progress with another start on Wednesday.

Ashley Young – Despite missing two good chances, Young was a decent threat last week against Shakhtar Donetsk as he looks to find some much needed form. This game against Stoke may be another opportunity for him to show what he can go.

Danny Welbeck – After his performance of the season so far on Sunday, Welbeck will probably be given the opportunity to continue that form at the Britannia stadium.

Javier Hernandez – If he is fully fit, Hernandez is a shoe-in to start in this match.

Formation: 4-4-2

This is a hard team to predict because of the numerous injuries in the United squad at current. Should many players return from their respective injuries, this XI could look radically different. Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Marouane Fellaini, Shinji Kagawa and Nani may all still be unavailable.

Tactically, should Hernandez and Welbeck start together up front, it is fair to assume that Welbeck will drop deeper of the two players, thus reversing his role from Sunday where he was most advanced.

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