Manchester United welcome League Two side Colchester United to Old Trafford in the quarter-final stage of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will come against John McGreal’s side for only the third time in the history of both clubs, the last match was more than 26 years ago and it will be the first time that Colchester has ever played at the Theatre of Dreams.
Despite the U23’s, who beat Reading 4-1 in the Premier League 2 Division 2 fixture on Monday evening, it is expected that some of the talented youth players will be in the squad to face Colchester, giving some of the first team players a rest ahead of the visit to Watford (Sunday), the visit of Newcastle United (Boxing Day) and the visit to Burnley (28/12) which will end 2019, hopefully, in style.
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero
The Argentinian goalkeeper is a competent player to step into the shoes of David de Gea. It is important that the Spanish goalkeeper is rested ahead of a big three matches which will be played in the Premier League before the end of the month. With Romero in goal, it would seem to be problematic for Colchester to get amongst the goals, however, it all depends on who Solskjaer picks in the team, which could well be another young squad.
Defenders: Ashley Young, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Brandon Williams
I think the defence will be rotated with Ashley Young (right-back), Axel Tuanzebe, and Phil Jones becoming the experienced members and Brandon Williams coming in at left-back. Harry Maguire has played in a number of matches recently and United can afford to let him rest, despite the fact I think he will be on the bench being that this is a home match, the third home match in a row. It may not be the most inspiring team with Young and Jones but Solskjaer will need to rotate with three Premier League matches being played before the end of the month from Sunday to the following Saturday, a six day period.
Midfield: James Garner, Dylan Levitt
The midfield will be rotated with Paul Pogba still not fit to play, which seems something of a coincidence being that he’s now ill and injured. It seems that we may be told something else until January, when he could leave the club after stating that he wanted a new challenge in the summer. However, he may play for the club gain. Scott McTominay and Fred have played in the midfield for a number of matches now and may need a rest, especially with what lies ahead for them. James Garner and Dylan Levitt could be give the chance against this Colchester side, which would be some great experience for them.
Attacking Midfielders: Largie Ramazani, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong
I think the likes of Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will be rested for this match although I think the latter will be on the bench, in case he is needed. It is time to give more first team experience to Angel Gomes, Largie Ramazani and Tahith Chong. Gomes has not played in the first team since the Astana game in Kazakhstan and could well be seen as being in with a chance to feature once again. Tahith Chong had an appearance just under a week ago against AZ Alkmaar and did well in an attacking position. He played for the U23s on Monday, scoring one goal and assisting another. Largie Ramazani played against Astana and played 45 minutes against Reading for the U23s on Monday evening, so could have a place in the team.
Striker: Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood has really taken to playing first team football this season. He has not outscored Anthony Martial despite playing fewer minutes than the Frenchman and seems to be more of a predator in the box. If he can double his goalscoring before the end of the season, he will have done well at the club this season. Greenwood scored three goals in the past week, scoring twice against AZ Alkmaar and once against Everton, the clubs last two matches. He could run riot against Colchester, which would be good for his further development and for the club.
Substitutes: Lee Grant; Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot; Andreas Pereira, Fred, Scott McTominay; Marcus Rashford
The bench will be important for United and Solskjaer. There will need to be a mixture of experience and talent, just in case the starting XI does not have enough firepower to get the victory, although Colchester would need to be very good – they did knock Spurs out of this competition 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw though. Lee Grant could provide the cover from Romero. Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot, who might be unlikely to feature could provide cover in defence, whilst Andreas Pereira, Fred snd Scott McTominay provide cover in the midfield. Marcus Rashford could be called upon if United need a goal, or two.