Erik ten Hag has admitted he does not know if Marcus Rashford will be fit for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United at Wembley.
Rashford suffered some heavy tackles against Barcelona in the week and left the pitch shoeless in the 83rd minute, giving rise to doubts about his fitness.
In predicting the starting XI, we will assume he is fit and if he is, he will be the first name on the teamsheet.
The second name on the teamsheet will be Casemiro, who is eligible again having completed his three-match domestic game ban.
Ten Hag was full of praise for Euro goalscorer Fred after Thursday’s game and is expected to retain his services in the starting XI in the Brazilian midfield dream team.
With Antony also being singled out for praise and making a goalscoring impact from the bench, the front four will probably comprise him, Bruno Fernandes, Wout Weghorst and Rashford, with Jadon Sancho dropping back to the bench.
However, the boss might decide to go with a more fluid line-up and play Sancho as well, with Weghorst dropping to the bench.
Alejandro Garnacho was also once again impactful from the bench against Barca, but we don’t believe he will start on Sunday.
In defence, the imperious Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez will surely be the centre back duo again, with Luke Shaw playing left back.
The big question is who will play at right back. With both options fit and firing, it poses a dilemma for the manager. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was selected for both legs of the Barcelona game, but Diogo Dalot played in between against Leicester.
The formula seems to be the Englishman for more defensive-minded setups and the Portuguese for more attacking approaches.
With that in mind we think Ten Hag will want to attack Newcastle and are therefore tipping Dalot to get the nod.
Here, then, is our predicted XI for Sunday’s game:
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