Manchester United’s U21’s face a crucial Barclays U21 Premier League semi-final clash against Liverpool at Anfield on Friday evening. Manchester City take on Chelsea on Thursday evening for a place in the final. United are the current holders of the Barclays U21 Premier League trophy, which they won in the competitions inaugural season a year ago. United made the top four in the league last week in true Manchester United fashion; scoring a goal in the death of the match against Reading. Warren Joyce, the U21 coach spoke to MUTV about his sides clash with Liverpool, which will either see the current holders earn a place in the final, or exit the competition. Joyce said:
“When you’re this close, you want to win it. We know it’s going to be a tough game. I just hope everyone is fit and available and we put on a Manchester United performance.”
Both James Wilson and James Weir suffered knocks in the run-in this season, but both have been much-needed player with them scoring some crucial goals over the past few weeks. Joyce continued by saying:
“Wilson came off at Reading because we were just wary of losing him altogether for the rest of the season. Hopefully, he will still play a part this season. Weir has done tremendously well but has not trained a great deal between games. Some of them are getting wrapped in cotton wool a little bit as they’ve had a long, hard season and picked up little niggles from time to time.”
United and Liverpool met in the opening match of the U21 season with Liverpool winning 4-2. In that match Adnan Januzaj played for United and Fabio Borini played for Liverpool, scoring twice. Borini, now on loan with Sunderland will most likely feature at Old Trafford this weekend. Only four of United U21 players that feature against Liverpool at the start of the season could feature on Friday evening at Anfield; Ben Amos, Guillermo Varela, Charni Ekangamene and Joe Rothwell, who was an unused substitute in the defeat.
United will be desperate to retain their trophy this season, they will also want to stop Liverpool from their rise with both their first team and U21’s side with a chance to life league titles, which would undoubtedly cause their supporters to burst with joy, a sickening sight.
Manchester United U21 Form: – WDWWLD
Last six matches: Reading 3-2 W, Norwich City 2-2 D, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Aston Villa 3-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Chelsea 0-0 D
Liverpool U21 Form: – WLDWLW
Last six matches: Everton 1-1 D, Chelsea 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-1 W, Fulham 2-1 L, Newcastle United 5-2 W, Blackburn Rovers 1-1 D
Manchester United U21 Top Scorers:
8 – James Wilson, 6 – Jesse Lingard, 4 – Larnell Cole, Will Keane, 3 – James Weir, 2 – Adnan Januzaj, Michael Keane, Joe Rothwell, Wilfried Zaha, 1 – Own Goal, Angelo Henriquez, Saidy Janko, Tom Lawrence, Andreas Pereira, Davide Petrucci, Nick Powell, Tom Thorpe
Liverpool U21 Top Scorers:
10 – Jack Dunn, 6 – Kristoffer Peterson, 5 – João Carlos, 3 – Luis Alberto, Cameron Brannagan, Jordan Lussey, Adam Morgan, Michael Ngoo, Jordan Rossiter, 2 – Fabio Borini, Own Goal, Jordon Ibe, Rafa Páez, Brad Smith, 1 – Villyan Bijev, Ryan McLaughlin, Craig Roddan, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Williams, Samed Yesil
Predicted Starting XI:
2. Janko, 4. McNair, 5. Ekangamene, 3. James;
6. Pearson, 8. Rowley;
11. Harrop, 7. Rothwell, 10. A. Pereira;
Liverpool 2-3 Manchester United
The match kicks off at 19:00 GMT on Friday 2nd May 2014, and will be shown live on MUTV from 18:30 GMT, which will be free to air, so you do not need to be a subscriber of the channel.
By Paul Bienkowski
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