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Confirmed XI: Ighalo, Mata, Van de Beek, James and Dalot start against Brighton in the Carabao Cup

Manchester United will return to the scene of controversy this evening as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at the American Express Community Stadium four days after their last visit to the stadium in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won their first three points of the new season in the fixture in a game which awarded two penalties; one after the full time whistle. United will be pleased with their latest victory over Brighton, winning their last four encounters against the South Coast club. United will be happy with their return to winning ways after the victory over Luton Town also.

Solskjaer will be seeking to get the better of Graham Potter’s Brighton side for the second time in four days and earning a quarter-final place in the domestic competition, which will not be played until late December, meaning the Festive period will be a busy one for United. The Norwegian will be seeking to win his first trophy for the club and came close last season, reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season. This season, United were expected to be much better but a last of pre-season has left the squad out of sorts and seeking to regain the pace which was lost at the end of last season.

This week could be a busy one for United with the summer transfer window closing next Monday (5 October), meaning United will have a short amount of time to get deals done. There are some areas that Solskjaer would like to strengthen this summer and some players that the club would like to offload. Chris Smalling is still linked in both AS Roma and Inter Milan in Italy and it has emerged that Andreas Pereira is subject to some interest from Lazio. The likes of Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones could also mean the club sees a flurry of activity. There is a domestic window that closes on the 16 October but Premier League clubs will not be able to sell to each other.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Dalot, Lindelof, Bailly, Williams;

McTominay, Fred;

Mata, Van de Beek, James;

Ighalo

Substitutes:

Grant; Fosu-Mensah, Mengi; Pogba, Lingard; Rashford, Greenwood

Brighton and Hove Albion:

Steele;

Burn, Dunk, White;

Veltman, Molumby, Gross, Bernardo;

Jahanbakhsh, Mac Allister;

Gyokeres

Substitutes:

Sanchez; Roberts; Sanders, Cochrane, Jenks; Maupay, Trossard

United and Brighton have met twice in the League Cup in the history of the competition; a 1-1 draw on the 23 September 1992 with Danny Wallace scoring United’s goal and a 1-0 victory in the second leg with Mark Hughes scoring the winning goal. In the FA Cup, United and Brighton have met seven times with United winning winning five and drawing twice (both led to replays with United winning). It basically shows that United have not lost to Brighton in a cup match with nine matches played, six won and three drawn. It is a good record for United to keep alive this week as United look to reach the quarter-finals of the competition this season.

United and Brighton met at the American Express Community Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. It was a 3-2 victory for United and there was some controversy. Neal Maupay opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot with United equalising minutes later through a Lewis Dunk own goal. United then took the lead through Marcus Rashford only for Solly March to equalise in added time. Harry Maguire headed into the top-left corner and cleared off the line by March. However, Maupay was judged to hand handled the ball, after the final whistle with a penalty being awarded and scored by Bruno Fernandes.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Van de Beek to add more edge to United’s midfield against Brighton in the Carabao Cup?

Manchester United will return to the scene of controversy on Wednesday evening as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at the American Express Community Stadium four days after their last visit to the stadium in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won their first three points of the new season in the fixture in a game which awarded two penalties; one after the full time whistle. United will be pleased with their latest victory over Brighton, winning their last four encounters against the South Coast club. United will be happy with their return to winning ways after the victory over Luton Town also.

Solskjaer will be seeking to get the better of Graham Potter’s Brighton side for the second time in four days and earning a quarter-final place in the domestic competition, which will not be played until late December, meaning the Festive period will be a busy one for United. The Norwegian will be seeking to win his first trophy for the club and came close last season, reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season. This season, United were expected to be much better but a last of pre-season has left the squad out of sorts and seeking to regain the pace which was lost at the end of last season.

This week could be a busy one for United with the summer transfer window closing next Monday (5 October), meaning United will have a short amount of time to get deals done. There are some areas that Solskjaer would like to strengthen this summer and some players that the club would like to offload. Chris Smalling is still linked in both AS Roma and Inter Milan in Italy and it has emerged that Andreas Pereira is subject to some interest from Lazio. The likes of Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones could also mean the club sees a flurry of activity. There is a domestic window that closes on the 16 October but Premier League clubs will not be able to sell to each other.

How United have faired against Brighton and Hove Albion in the League Cup and the FA Cup, plus their last meeting.

United and Brighton have met twice in the League Cup in the history of the competition; a 1-1 draw on the 23 September 1992 with Danny Wallace scoring United’s goal and a 1-0 victory in the second leg with Mark Hughes scoring the winning goal. In the FA Cup, United and Brighton have met seven times with United winning winning five and drawing twice (both led to replays with United winning). It basically shows that United have not lost to Brighton in a cup match with nine matches played, six won and three drawn. It is a good record for United to keep alive this week as United look to reach the quarter-finals of the competition this season.

United and Brighton met at the American Express Community Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. It was a 3-2 victory for United and there was some controversy. Neal Maupay opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot with United equalising minutes later through a Lewis Dunk own goal. United then took the lead through Marcus Rashford only for Solly March to equalise in added time. Harry Maguire headed into the top-left corner and cleared off the line by March. However, Maupay was judged to hand handled the ball, after the final whistle with a penalty being awarded and scored by Bruno Fernandes.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup at the American Express Community Stadium on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

The 23-year-old made his Manchester United debut against Luton Town in the Carabao Cup last week and will be expected to start against Brighton on Wednesday evening, keeping David De Gea for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in the Premier League. Last season, whilst at Sheffield United on loan, Henderson faced Brighton twice in the Premier League. At the American Express Community Stadium, the Blades won 1-0 with the match at Bramall Lane ending up a 1-1 draw with Neal Maupay’s goal being the one one conceded by the United goalkeeper – which looks good ready for this match considering the goals conceded on Saturday afternoon.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence it the area that needs the most improvement this season. It was expected that Solskjaer would sign a central defender this summer, but that looks unlikely as the days before the transfer window closes draw to a close. United’s transfer window has been poor to say the least with no real strengthening across the squad being done, so far at least. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should be starting in the fullback positions with Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire starting centrally. Right now, United have just three fit and experienced central defenders in the team that seem to have a future at the club. Victor Lindelof should be benched for this match.

Midfield Two: Fred, Donny van de Beek

Nemanja Matic has recently returned after some match fitness problems and rightly needed a break after the rigours of the end of last season. He played on Saturday but will probably be needed to face Spurs on Sunday so probably should not feature for United against Brighton for the second time this week. Also, with Paul Pogba’s form as it is, which is poor, playing him means that United are effectively down to ten men, which is not fair. Donny van de Beek will do what Pogba used to do as he is eager to perform for United so playing him is a no brainer. Fred could feature in place of Matic, other than that, Scott McTominay could be an option instead.

Midfield Three: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

With Spurs on the horizon, many would like to see Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood rested but the early into the season, especially with a non existent pre-season, these players will require fitness to get them into the zone required to continue for the remainder of the season. Last season, this trio who play behind the striker were responsible for 51 goals and 24 assists, so they are important for United to get the better of their opposition. Agains Luton in the third round of the Carabao Cup, the introduction of this trio made it easier for United to get the result, scoring two goals in the ten minutes they played.

Forward: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman has not yet got himself off the mark this season and will be seeking to do that as soon as possible. He has played against Crystal Palace and Brighton this season, missing the 3-0 victory over Luton in the third round of the Carabao Cup. It will be important for Martial to get to speed and get himself off the mark as it will be much needed for United to find more and more goals as the season grown on. It seems likely that United will not be signing any attacking reinforcement this season with Jadon Sancho linked the the club and too expensive so Solskjaer will have to make do with the players he has, which is not the greatest way of backing him.

Substitutes: Lee Grant; Teden Mengi, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Daniel James, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo

United will have just three substitutes domestically this season and this will increase to five in the UEFA Champions League. Solskjaer will probably rest David De Gea from this match, keeping him fresh for the weekend. In which case, Lee Grant will take his place on the bench in case he is needed. In defence, academy graduates Teden Mengi and Brandon Williams could be called up. In midfield, Juan Mata, Daniel James and Scott McTominay could play a part in the game, if needed. Mata scored the penalty against Luton last week and might start in this game, like he did then. Odion Ighalo will be the only attacking player on the bench. He has not scored since June.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to play to their strengths against Brighton with Pogba dropped due to poor fitness and form

Brighton and Hove Albion -v- Manchester United

Carabao Cup

American Express Community Stadium, Brighton

Wednesday 30 September 2020, KO 19:45 BST

Referee: Graham Scott Assistants: Daniel Robathan, Derek Eaton

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper

Manchester United will return to the scene of controversy on Wednesday evening as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at the American Express Community Stadium four days after their last visit to the stadium in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won their first three points of the new season in the fixture in a game which awarded two penalties; one after the full time whistle. United will be pleased with their latest victory over Brighton, winning their last four encounters against the South Coast club. United will be happy with their return to winning ways after the victory over Luton Town also.

Solskjaer will be seeking to get the better of Graham Potter’s Brighton side for the second time in four days and earning a quarter-final place in the domestic competition, which will not be played until late December, meaning the Festive period will be a busy one for United. The Norwegian will be seeking to win his first trophy for the club and came close last season, reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season. This season, United were expected to be much better but a last of pre-season has left the squad out of sorts and seeking to regain the pace which was lost at the end of last season.

This week could be a busy one for United with the summer transfer window closing next Monday (5 October), meaning United will have a short amount of time to get deals done. There are some areas that Solskjaer would like to strengthen this summer and some players that the club would like to offload. Chris Smalling is still linked in both AS Roma and Inter Milan in Italy and it has emerged that Andreas Pereira is subject to some interest from Lazio. The likes of Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones could also mean the club sees a flurry of activity. There is a domestic window that closes on the 16 October but Premier League clubs will not be able to sell to each other.

Manchester United: WWLLLW

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 W, Luton Town 3-0 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 L, Aston Villa 1-0 L (F), Sevilla 2-1 L, FC Copenhagen 1-0 W

Brighton and Hove Albion: LWWWLD

Manchester United 3-2 L, Preston North End 2-0 W, Newcastle United 3-0 W, Portsmouth 4-0 W, Chelsea 3-1 L, West Bromwich Albion 0-0 D (F)

Top Scorers: United and Brighton have started the season by scoring many goals with Brighton ahead, having played more matches.

Manchester United Goals: 2 – Marcus Rashford, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, Own Goal

United started the 2020/21 season with a stutter and the last of a pre-season is showing with many players not hitting the ground running. That was visible against Crystal Palace in the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford. It was even plain to see against Luton Town last week with United going 1-0 up because of a penalty, which was scored by Juan Mata. In the final ten minutes of the match Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood finished the tie with two more goals, winning 3-0. Against Brighton, United seemed laboured with many problems. They got the victory but it was not easy at all and came with a bit of help from VAR and a fair amount of controversy.

Brighton and Hove Albion Goals: 3 – Neal Maupay, 2 – Alexis Mac Allister, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, 1 – Aaron Connolly, Bernardo, Solly March, Leandro Trossard, Viktor Gyökeres

Brighton have started well this season having played at least two pre-season matches before the start of the season. It may have been down to hard luck that they did not beat United in the Premier League on Saturday, but that was what stopped them from winning. It was a largely fair match. Potter’s side will be seeking to make the quarter-final stages of the Carabao Cup, to improve their chances of having a good season and maybe contending for a domestic cup, if everything goes to plan. Brighton seem to be fitter than United and this match could see many changes from Saturday’s match, which might make it another fair match with both setting out to win.

Team News: Three players out of action for United with Brighton having four. This will be an important match for both teams but will end up making December a much busier month.

Solskjaer will still be without Axel Tuanzebe (ankle/foot) but he seems to be on the mend and back in training with a mid-October return on the cards. Phil Jones (knee) has been out since the Premier League restart in the summer, sitting out the rest of the 2019/20 season and so far the start of the 2020/21 season, which might be a blessing with the player not really playing a big part at the club anymore. Sergio Romero is out of selection too with an expected exit from the Old Trafford club before the summer transfer window closes in a week’s time. United might seen more additions this week, but none that could mean they would be in contention for this match.

Brighton still have Yves Bissouma out of action through suspension because of his red card against Newcastle United, missing the Carabao Cup victory over Preston North End and the Premier League defeat to Manchester United, along with this match four days later in the Carabao Cup. Jose Izquierdo (knee), Florin Andone (knee), and Christian Walton (ankle/foot) have all seemingly been ruled out of this match which might cause strength in depth problems for the home side. Brighton will be confident with the way they played against United at the weekend, despite the loss which saw them come back from a losing position to equalise, before losing.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to make few changes with Henderson, Bailly, Van de Beek and Fred returning to the starting XI against Brighton in the second match in four days?

It is expected that Solskjaer will make some changes ahead of this match, especially with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford on the horizon in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. I would expect to see Dean Henderson in goal with Eric Bailly standing in for Victor Lindelof, who has been terrible most of the time this season. In midfield, Fred and Donny van de Beek should start ahead of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic with Bruno Fernandes in the advances position and Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial playing in the three forward positions in the 4-2-3-1 formation. It may not end up like that though.

Match Prediction: United have a great record against Brighton in domestic cup competitions with nine matches played and only three drawn – two of those led to replays with United winning.

United and Brighton have met twice in the League Cup in the history of the competition; a 1-1 draw on the 23 September 1992 with Danny Wallace scoring United’s goal and a 1-0 victory in the second leg with Mark Hughes scoring the winning goal. In the FA Cup, United and Brighton have met seven times with United winning winning five and drawing twice (both led to replays with United winning). It basically shows that United have not lost to Brighton in a cup match with nine matches played, six won and three drawn. It is a good record for United to keep alive this week as United look to reach the quarter-finals of the competition this season.

United and Brighton met at the American Express Community Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. It was a 3-2 victory for United and there was some controversy. Neal Maupay opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot with United equalising minutes later through a Lewis Dunk own goal. United then took the lead through Marcus Rashford only for Solly March to equalise in added time. Harry Maguire headed into the top-left corner and cleared off the line by March. However, Maupay was judged to hand handled the ball, after the final whistle with a penalty being awarded and scored by Bruno Fernandes.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Player Ratings: Mata, Rashford and Greenwood help United breeze past Luton; Henderson clean sheet

Manchester United beat Luton Town 3-0 at Kenilworth Road in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his rotated side struggle in the first half but win a late penalty which was scored by Juan Mata on his 200th start for the club. Late in the second half, minutes after a triple substitution, United struck into life with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood scoring to secure the victory for United, who face Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

There was not much to write about from the first half of the match which should have seen United put Luton away but didn’t. It shows the story of this United squad with most of the quality either rested or on the bench. United lack quality in depth. It was a penalty that separated the two sides after Brandon Williams was brought down inside the box bu George Moncur and Juan Mata, on his 200th start for United, scoring his 49th goal for the club, from the penalty spot.

The second half was not much better for United with attacks being slowed down by Jesse Lingard, who looked so much out of his depth. United were still riding their luck with that penalty but did not seem to be doing much to stretch that lead and put themselves into a position of advantage. Solskjaer made a triple substitution in the 79th minute of the match with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford replacing Odion Ighalo, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata.

United doubled their lead in the 88th minute of the game with Greenwood playing the ball into Rashford, which seemed like it came off the defender and putting United 2-0 up. That was not it for United though with Greenwood thundering through on goal into added time, doing some stepovers in the box and firing diagonally across the goal and into the back of the net. United wrapped up a 3-0 victory against Luton which puts them into the third round against Brighton and Hove Albion or Preston North End.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made his debut for United but was not tested all that much. Late in the second half, he produces a fine save to deny an equaliser, looking cool and calm when doing it.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defensively, Wan-Bissaka was not really challenged and he did get forward for a lot of the match with United out of their have for a large spell of it. Will be happy with the victory. Now on to Saturday.

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3 Eric Bailly

Played well from the start and should have done enough to feature ahead of Lindelof against Brighton on Saturday, but he won't. Covered some distance to stop Luton from taking advantage of the ball being played forward in the second half.

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5 Harry Maguire

Had a chance on goal but missed. Led the team after a poor defeat at the weekend and his team got back to winning ways. He will be happy but not with the depth of the squad, which lacks quality.

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33 Brandon Williams

Played some good football and got forward for United regularly. Won the penalty at the end of the first half after being fouled in the box.

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17 Fred

Did well in midfield and will be happy with 90 minutes on the pitch. He might not be a regular fixture in the team and these cup matches might be where he plays his most football.

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31 Nemanja Matic

It was good to see him back after not featuring for United since the FC Copenhagen match at the start of August. When he's fully fit, he is the best defensive midfielder in the team. Should make the team on Saturday, hopefully.

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8 Juan Mata

Made his 200th start for United and scored his 49th goal for the club, albeit from the penalty spot after Williams was taken out by Moncur.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Started for the first time, making his second appearance of the season. Looked to be on the hunt for a goal, after scoring his debut goal at the weekend. He's going to be a good player once he's fully settled. Replaced in the 79th minute by Fernandes.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Frustrating football player. Slowed a lot of the attacks down for United. Looks lost on the pitch. I'm not sure how much longer his United career will last. He was shown up by Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood late in the game.

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25 Odion Ighalo

He did not really achieve much for United. Art the start of his loan move, he seemed determined to score for United but since the restart of the Premier League last season and into this season, he does not seem to be the same player.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Ighalo 79'. Got an assist with United's second goal of the game, putting United into a good position at 2-0 up. Played well since he was introduced into the game. Scored a in the last minute of added time, starting his season with an goal and an assist, which is great to see.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Van de Beek 79'. Looked lively as soon as he was on the pitch. With United on the brunt of an attack, switched gears and got United forward. Played a part in Rashford's goal and got an assist for Greenwood's

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Mata 79'. Scored United's second goal of the game, which will be a relief for him after he suffered from a dip in form since late last season.

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Goals: Juan Mata 44′ penalty, Marcus Rashford 88′, Mason Greenwood 90+2′

Assists: Mason Greenwood 88′, Bruno Fernandes 90+2′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Matic; Mata (Rashford 79′), Van de Beek (Fernandes 79′), Lingard; Ighalo (Greenwood 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Dalot, Mengi; James

Bookings: Peter Kioso 67′, Danny Hylton 85′; Brandon Williams 57′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ighalo supported by Mata, Van de Beek and Lingard will take on Luton in the Carabao Cup

Manchester United have travelled to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup this evening. Nathan Jones’ Luton side have already beaten Norwich City 3-1 and Reading 1-0 in the first and second rounds of the competition this season and will be up for causing more damage to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s season, putting more pressure on the Old Trafford club this season. United, on the other hand, will need to bounce back after their Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace in their first match of the season, which was not a great match to watch for United.

United might be a much changed side in the Carabao Cup this season and it is expected that goalkeeper Dean Henderson will make his first competitive start for his club in the match against Luton, which could see him put some pressure on David De Gea, who conceded three goals in the Premier League opener. Solskjaer may rest some of the more experienced players in the squad, although right now, that would be a big gamble in a game that could eclipse that 4-0 defeat to MK Dons under Louis van Gaal’s reign as manager of the Old Trafford club.

There is a lot of work for United to do this season and the last of pre-season matches, despite being out of action for a month, with some players being involved in their countries UEFA Nations League matches earlier this month, meaning they have been playing some football during what was the summer break for this year. Solskjaer has been let down by the club this summer with strengthening required in defence; both the centrally and at left-back, the right-wing position and a striker, with a lack of depth up front for United, especially if there are injuries.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Williams;

Fred, Matic;

Mata, Van de Beek, Lingard;

Ighalo

Substitutes:

Grant; Dalot, Mengi; Fernandes, James; Rashford, Greenwood

Luton Town:

Shea;

Kioso, Lockyer, Brdley, Norrington-Davies;

Shinnie, Tunnicliffe, Moncur;

Clark, Hylton, LuaLua

Substitutes:

Cranie, Pearson, Cornick, Lee, Sluga, Ruddock, Collins

United and Luton have met 39 times in league and cup football with the first match being played in 1897 and the last time both teams met being in 1992. United have won 28 times, drawn seven times and lost four times. United have scored a total of 90 goals, conceding 26 goals and keeping a total of 20 clean sheets. 30 of the matches were played in the old English League Division One, eight played in Division Two and one match was played in the FA Cup. United and Luton have never met in the League Cup.

United are undefeated against Luton with the last defeat coming in 1987, a 2-1 Division One defeat with Bryan Robson scoring United’s only goal of the game. United drew the next match that year before winning the next eight, scoring 24 goals on the way. The last match was a 1-1 draw with Lee Sharpe scoring United’s goal. It may not be the best time to visit Luton as they are currently unbeaten in six matches, including two pre-season matches, two Championship matches and two Carabao Cup matches.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] Van de Beek and Fernandes the key to beating Luton Town?

Manchester United will travel to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup this season. Nathan Jones’ Luton side have already beaten Norwich City 3-1 and Reading 1-0 in the first and second rounds of the competition this season and will be up for causing more damage to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s season, putting more pressure on the Old Trafford club this season. United, on the other hand, will need to bounce back after their Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace in their first match of the season, which was not a great match to watch for United.

United might be a much changed side in the Carabao Cup this season and it is expected that goalkeeper Dean Henderson will make his first competitive start for his club in the match against Luton, which could see him put some pressure on David De Gea, who conceded three goals in the Premier League opener. Solskjaer may rest some of the more experienced players in the squad, although right now, that would be a big gamble in a game that could eclipse that 4-0 defeat to MK Dons under Louis van Gaal’s reign as manager of the Old Trafford club.

There is a lot of work for United to do this season and the last of pre-season matches, despite being out of action for a month, with some players being involved in their countries UEFA Nations League matches earlier this month, meaning they have been playing some football during what was the summer break for this year. Solskjaer has been let down by the club this summer with strengthening required in defence; both the centrally and at left-back, the right-wing position and a striker, with a lack of depth up front for United, especially if there are injuries.

How United have faired against Luton Town, although the two clubs have not met competitively since 1992.

United and Luton have met 39 times in league and cup football with the first match being played in 1897 and the last time both teams met being in 1992. United have won 28 times, drawn seven times and lost four times. United have scored a total of 90 goals, conceding 26 goals and keeping a total of 20 clean sheets. 30 of the matches were played in the old English League Division One, eight played in Division Two and one match was played in the FA Cup. United and Luton have never met in the League Cup.

United are undefeated against Luton with the last defeat coming in 1987, a 2-1 Division One defeat with Bryan Robson scoring United’s only goal of the game. United drew the next match that year before winning the next eight, scoring 24 goals on the way. The last match was a 1-1 draw with Lee Sharpe scoring United’s goal. It may not be the best time to visit Luton as they are currently unbeaten in six matches, including two pre-season matches, two Championship matches and two Carabao Cup matches.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Luton Town in the Carabao Cup at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

It is safe to say that David De Gea needs to be tested as the Manchester United number one goalkeeper and Dean Henderson is the player that will take the challenge to the Spaniard this season. Granted, Henderson is classed as a rookie goalkeeper but he’s got good prospects and seems to have confidence in himself, which is great to see. Henderson being installed as the United number one this season is not something that will happen overnight and not something that De Gea would allow to happen without a challenge but it is something that inevitably will happen.

Henderson has the making of a great goalkeeper as he has risen up a division each time he has been loaned out by the club, spending two seasons at Sheffield United, which has gone a long way into his development with a confident player Wirth aspirations to become a United and England number one during his career. De Gea will need to find some form to raise the challenge with Henderson, which could bring out the best of both goalkeepers this season and beyond. Henderson may have to settle for cup competition this season – maybe not the Champions League though.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United conceded three goals in the Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday and that is not a problem that United want to make worse this season. Last season, the club conceded 36 goals during the entire 2019/20 season and conceding three goals in the opening match of the season will need to be set as a reminder to become better. Ideally, signing a competent partner for Harry Maguire would help in a way, as would the players playing to their potential. Solskjaer will have told the players that they need to be doing better – hopefully!

Against Palace, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Eric Bailly did not feature for United. Both should be starting against Luton in a big to up their match fitness so they can get up to speed and help drive United further forward. Harry Maguire will end up keeping his place in the team as will Luke Shaw as both look to build on their match fitness. At this moment in time, hope if the best thing we have as supporters of the club and personally, I hop that Ed Woodward and the Glazers have seen the problems at the club by now and should be talking about solving them – but will they?

Midfield Three: Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek

United should have started with Donny van de Beek against Palace as it might have been so much different. When the Dutchman signed for the club this summer, it made me think that United had the best midfield that they have had since Sir Alex Ferguson but it just did not work against Palace with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay in a midfield two and Bruno Fernandes playing further forward. Against Luton, Solskjaer will probably rest Pogba as he was not the best player on the pitch against Palace but he was not the worst either.

Fred might be a good option against Luton which might help raise the player’s confidence level after a tough 2019/20 season but Solskjaer should not be dropping Fernandes and Van de Beek should be starting. United could play better in midfield three with three forwards ahead of them and possible the fullbacks overlapping the midfield to bee with the wide forwards. United need to find confidence in their game as last season, in the Europa League, the long spell of confidence and attacking winning football seemed to drop off and needs to be found again and restored in the team.

Forward Three: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

United had a great trio of attackers last season and they were responsible for 63 goals and 28 assists – a total of 91 goal contributions which is the best form the forwards for the club have been in for a long time. Marcus Rashford was in great form before suffering from a break in his back, which kept him out of action from January until the end of the lockdown. The contributed to the fact that United brought in Odion Ighalo on a loan spell until the end of the 2019/20 season, which was then extended, because of the coronavirus pandemic, until the end of January 2021.

Rashford has been poor, not contributing much and it has been making the attack seem a little out of balance. United should be seeking to bring in a right-winger, that will add balance to the squad and give United more options up front. Mason Greenwood was alive wire last season but he, like Rashford and Anthony Martial, will need to find his form again. Martial was the clubs top scorer last season and many were confident ahead of the Palace match but left disappointed. United need to find the key to unlocking their potential, rather that sitting back and looking out of options.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Victor Lindelof, Teden Mengi; Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay; Odion Ighalo

When you look at some of the options on the bench for United, you can see why the club seems to be having problem after problem. Are the players motivated to play for United or do they value the money in their bank accounts at the end of each month? It should be a privilege to play for United but the ownership of the club has stuck with the dead wood for far too long, even rewarding them with new contracts despite the same things happening time and time again. United need to find a solution and that would be finding a football man to deal with football things.

The bench should have the drive and determination to win matches for United of the starting XI struggle to do so are need help holding onto a lead. This shows how far United have fallen. David De Gea will probably be on the bench for this match seeing as Sergio Romero is not in the picture anymore. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Teden Mengi could provide some options, the latter did well against Aston Villa in the friendly more than a week ago. In the midfield, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard Scott McTominay could play a part with Odion Ighalo the only forward on the bench, which is a problem in itself.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer needs to guide United back to winning ways against Luton

Luton Town -v- Manchester United

Carabao Cup

Kenilworth Road, Luton

Tuesday 22 September 2020, KO 20:15 BST

Referee: N/A Assistants: N/A, N/A

Fourth Official: N/A

Manchester United will travel to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup this season. Nathan Jones’ Luton side have already beaten Norwich City 3-1 and Reading 1-0 in the first and second rounds of the competition this season and will be up for causing more damage to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s season, putting more pressure on the Old Trafford club this season. United, on the other hand, will need to bounce back after their Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace in their first match of the season, which was not a great match to watch for United.

United might be a much changed side in the Carabao Cup this season and it is expected that goalkeeper Dean Henderson will make his first competitive start for his club in the match against Luton, which could see him put some pressure on David De Gea, who conceded three goals in the Premier League opener. Solskjaer may rest some of the more experienced players in the squad, although right now, that would be a big gamble in a game that could eclipse that 4-0 defeat to MK Dons under Louis van Gaal’s reign as manager of the Old Trafford club.

There is a lot of work for United to do this season and the last of pre-season matches, despite being out of action for a month, with some players being involved in their countries UEFA Nations League matches earlier this month, meaning they have been playing some football during what was the summer break for this year. Solskjaer has been let down by the club this summer with strengthening required in defence; both the centrally and at left-back, the right-wing position and a striker, with a lack of depth up front for United, especially if there are injuries.

Form: Luton in better form than United but could this upset the angry beast within and cause United to hit back hard in order to get back to winning ways?

Manchester United: LLLWWW

Crystal Palace 3-1 L, Aston Villa 1-0 L (F), Sevilla 2-1 L, FC Copenhagen 1-0 W, Linzer ASK 2-1 W, Leicester City 2-0 W

Luton Town: WWWWWW

Derby County 2-1 W, Reading 1-0 W, Barnsley 1-0 W, Norwich City 3-1 W, Northampton Town 3-0 W (F), Wealdstone 3-0 W (F)

Top Scorers: Luton’s James Collins has four goals to his name this season, in four matches. United have played one competitive match with Donny van de Beek the only goal scorer.

Manchester United Goals: 1 – Donny van de Beek

United have not been in great form recently. The lack of a proper pre-season is a big factor with the coronavirus delaying football for much of last season. United were still in UEFA Europa League action in August, meaning they only had time to play one pre-season match, against Aston Villa last weekend, which resulted in a 1-0 defeat to United, who were lacking nine first team players. This weekend in their opening Premier League match, Crystal Palace beat them 3-1 with Van de Beek scoring United’s only goal.

Luton Town Goals: 4 – James Collins, 2 – Jordan Clark, 1 – Luke Berry

Luton are in good form this season, winning their last six matches (two of them pre-season matches). In their Carabao Cup clash against Norwich City, the Hatters won 3-0 with James Collins scoring a hat-trick. Then a 1-0 Championship victory over Barnsley, Collins scored his fourth goal of the season. In the Carabao Cup, a victory over Reading with Jordan Clarke scoring his first goal of the season. This weekend Luton beat Derby County 2-1 in the Championship with Clarke and Luke Berry scoring the goals.

Team News: United could rotate the squad for the visit to Luton, however, that gamble could backfire so United may need their strongest squad for this fixture.

Solskjaer is currently without Phil Jones (knee), Axel Tuanzebe (ankle/foot), Sergio Romero (unavailable for selection) and Nemanja Matic (lacking match fitness) ahead of the visit to Kenilworth Road for the third round of the Carabao Cup this season. The Norwegian could opt to give youth a chance in this fixture, which could be a gamble for United, or give some fringe players a chance to earn themselves a place in the squad this season. Dean Henderson could replace David De Gea as the goalkeeper for this match with a few other changes across the squad.

Luton have no injuries are suspensions at this stage of the season, which is good for them. They will face Watford in the Championship away from home on Saturday, which is not a million miles away, it will give them the benefit to rotate their squad or even continue with their first choice XI which is the option I feel Nathan Jones will take – aiming to get the better of United being that Luton are six matches into the season, including two pre-season matches, with United just two matches in – one pre-season match and one competitive fixture with United losing both.

Predicted Starting XI: Dean Henderson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Fred, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood to be recalled into the starting XI against Luton?

Solskjaer will have a gamble on his hands in this Carabao Cup third round match against Luton on Tuesday evening. If he rests some of his better players, it could well be that Luton beat United and this is similar as Louis van Gaal’s MK Dons moment. He might need to keep a strong side, with some rotation, to keep match fitness building ahead of the match against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend. United need to find a way to get back to winning ways. They have lost their last three matches against Sevilla (UEFA Europa League semi-final), Aston Villa (friendly), and Crystal Palace (Premier League opener). A win is needed from this match.

Match Prediction: United are unbeaten against Luton going all the way back to 1987 – the year after Sir Alex Ferguson started managing the club. Luton are unbeaten this season, United in poor form.

United and Luton have met 39 times in league and cup football with the first match being played in 1897 and the last time both teams met being in 1992. United have won 28 times, drawn seven times and lost four times. United have scored a total of 90 goals, conceding 26 goals and keeping a total of 20 clean sheets. 30 of the matches were played in the old English League Division One, eight played in Division Two and one match was played in the FA Cup. United and Luton have never met in the League Cup.

United are undefeated against Luton with the last defeat coming in 1987, a 2-1 Division One defeat with Bryan Robson scoring United’s only goal of the game. United drew the next match that year before winning the next eight, scoring 24 goals on the way. The last match was a 1-1 draw with Lee Sharpe scoring United’s goal. It may not be the best time to visit Luton as they are currently unbeaten in six matches, including two pre-season matches, two Championship matches and two Carabao Cup matches.

Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Review & Ratings: Matic winner kept United's winning run, Fred Man of the Match, Maguire a class act, De Gea getting back to form

Manchester United beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening. Nemanja Matic scored the only goal of the game, was booked early in the second half then sent off 25 minutes later. United had improved from the first leg but it was not enough as they ended up losing 3-2 on aggregate. United will now concentrate on Wolverhampton Wanderers, facing them for the third time in a month on Saturday.

City started the game well, pressing United from the very start, having a few chances to open the scoring with David De Gea making a string of good saved to deny the noisy neighbours. United pressed forward at times and in the 35th minute of the match, they took the lead through Nemanja Matic. Fred took a free-kick which was cleared with Matic getting the ball beating Claudio Bravo at the near post.

Seven minutes after United’s goal, Raheem Sterling had the ball in the net after Kevin De Bruyne played the ball across the face of the goal with Sterling beating De Gea from close-range. However, despite looking onside initially, a short VAR review took place with the offside decision. It was good for United, who needed another goal to make it a 3-3 draw on aggregate. Matic was sent off in the 76th minute, a second yellow card.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had a good game against City, making quite a few good saves to deny City from scoring. It was the De Gea of old. Perhaps shining through at the right time with United seeking to make this season much better.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Getting Bailly back in the team cannot come fast enough. Lindelof seemed too nervous at times and shaky at others. Not what any defence needs. Improvement is needed if he wants to keep his place in the starting XI.

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5 Harry Maguire

I think this was Maguire's best match for United. Sunday's victory much have shown him what United were capable of, even plagued by injuries. He was commanding, like any leader should be. Should be partnered by Bailly though to see how the duo do together.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played on the left of a back three. Not a role he has played before. His performance was alright, considering.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back was not at his best at the start of the game but soon found his feet. He was booked in added time for a bad tackle.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian was the engine of this team, as he has been recently. He ran his socks off and tried to do all he could to in order to get a victory in this match and reach the final at Wembley.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder scored the only goal of the game against City, was booked at the start of the second half then found himself sent off late in the second half for a second booking.

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33 Brandon Williams

Gave Walker some problems at times. A good player to have in this team. He's definitely the main left-back at the club when United play four at the back.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Poor. Seemed to be the target of shouting from the gaffer. When Fernandes is at the club and playing, Lingard will be seeing much of his football either from that stands or on the television at home.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old had little impact against City but went off with a slight injury at half time.

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9 Anthony Martial

Still not convinced that he's a striker. He's a winger. I don't care what Martial FC say, they are mostly clueless. He needs to do so much more otherwise, he's going to find himself occupying a position on the bench as Rashford is better than him on the left. He put plenty of work into his game though, despite the low output.

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Substitutes

21 Daniel James

Replaced Greenwood 46'. He's not a game changer, yet. He used his pace to help take the game to City but there was no real end product. He's been relied upon too much this season and needs a break. The winter break might just do that after this weekends matches.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Lingard 65'. The Belgian-born Brazilian played his part in the game but in terms of bringing something to the table, he fell short. His mind may have been to get United another goal but his ability is still playing catchup.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Shaw 79'. Came on too late to be that decisive player in this match. City had their backs to the wall and their squad quality helped to get the better of United, despite losing.

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Goals: Nemanja Matic 35′

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Mata 79′); Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams; Lingard (Pereira 65′); Greenwood (James 46′), Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot

Bookings: Rodri 57′, Nicolas Otamendi 87′; Nemanja Matic 51′, 76′ s/o, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 90+4′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial and Greenwood lead the line against City; three at the back again for United – high press incoming?

Manchester United will travel across the city to face rivals Manchester City at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening. After losing 3-1 at Old Trafford at the start of the month Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side will have a lot to do in order to knock Pep Guardiola’s side out of the competition. United will need to score twice to level the tie on aggregate.

United beat City at the Etihad back in December with a 2-1 victory, something which Guardiola’s team were not ready for. After seeing this United side dominate, albeit against Tranmere, if the same formation and mentality were applied in this game, United could get a result away from home with could put them into the final but it will need to be a big result with United needing to aim for a clean sheet, which will be a big task.

United have announced the singing of Bruno Fernandes who is currently on his way to Manchester for a medical, however, the signing came too late for this evening’s match and he will most likely made his debut at Old Trafford on Saturday when United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League. United still have more to do in order to strengthen the team but creativity should improve with this new signing.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams;

Lingard;

Greenwood, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot; Mata, Pereira, James

Manchester City:

Bravo;

Walker, Rodrigo, Otamendi, Cancelo;

De Bruyne, Gündogan, B. Silva;

Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling

Substitutes:

Ederson; Stones, Zinchenko, Garcia; D. Silva, Foden; Jesus

United and City have played a total of 180 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1891. United have won 74 times, drawn 52 times and lost 54 times. United lost in their last meeting at the start of the month, a 3-1 defeat for United with Marcus Rashford scoring for United when they were 3-0 down. City’s goals came from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and an Andreas Pereira own goal.

At the start of December 2019, United met City at the Etihad in the Premier League, winning 2-1 after Marcus Rashford scored a penalty in the 23rd minute of the match with Anthony Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. A late consolation from Nicolás Otamendi spoiled the party a little with United not keeping a clean sheet. This will be the third Manchester derby this season, with one more to come.

How United could look in the Carabao Cup against City; 3-4-3 Lindelof, Bailly and Maguire in defence, Greenwood, Martial and James in attack?

Manchester United will face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad on Wednesday. This will be a big game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he looks to find a way for his team to beat Pep Guardiola’s City after their 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford at the start of the month. The 6-0 Emirates FA Cup victory over Tranmere Rovers on Sunday could well have boosted the confidence of the squad and given them a chance total on City with a different formation.

United would need to win this match by three clear goals if they were to make it to the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 1 March 2020, however, at least 90 minutes of football stands in the way of achieving that feat, not to mention a City team in resurgent form, scoring 20 goals and conceding just five goals in the past six matches, winning five and drawing once. It is form that United can only dream about.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper was rested for the 6-0 FA Cup victory over Tranmere on Sunday meaning he should be fit to face City for the second time this month. De Gea has not been in the best of form this season but he has made some impressive saves. If the players and the supporters stick by him like they did at the start of his United career, it could well pay off again with him raising his form. Of course, having the best side available would be helpful along with the squad being strengthened significantly, which should be a plan this month with injuries to key players in the squad for long spells of the season.

Defenders: Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire

Three at the back worked against Tranmere. Maybe it was because United were playing against a team struggling in League One – perhaps it was because United were able to play to a higher tempo further up the pitch. That formation could have been a test by Solskjaer to find a way of coming back from behind to beat City. Remember Paris in March? It could work. I expect both Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire to keep their places in defence but Eric Bailly should be tested against City, which might add something to the defence and the rest of the team. There is a period of rest coming up too, giving these players a significant break, of around two weeks before playing again.

Midfield: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Brandon Williams

Four across the midfield worked on Sunday and it has worked for other clubs in the Premier League and beyond. Diogo Dalot played well against Tranmere but Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be ahead of him after a rest this weekend with Brandon Williams replacing Luke Shaw on the left side. Fred should start ahead of Andreas Pereira with Nemanja Matic keeping his starting place after playing 45 minutes in the FA Cup. This is the best United has in this area at this moment in time, unless something magical happens before kick off on Wednesday, which is unlikely. United will miss the likes of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, which could have made this area even stronger for this match.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James

The forward three can be played in so may ways. A straight three at the front, two forward with one behind them, one forward with two behind; this can interchange throughout the match, which might help in getting the better of United’s noisy neighbours. With Marcus Rashford out of action and a lack of attacking players to choose from, Anthony Martial should be the main striker – he did well against Tranmere on Sunday. Mason Greenwood should keep his place in the team also as he adds something to the team. Daniel James was rested against Tranmere, meaning he should be ready to face City, although Jesse Lingard could keep his place in the team. James could do something on the left, as he did at the start of the season. Lingard from the bench could be good for United, if his confidence from his performance on Sunday continues into Wednesday.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Angel Gomes

United will need players on the bench who can come on and do a job should they be required. Sergio Romero will move to the bench for this game after keeping another clean sheet on Sunday. Defensively, Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw could also add something, should they be needed. Both Dalot and Shaw got forward a lot of the time against Tranmere and they could offer that against City too. Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Angel Gomes, if chosen in the squad could all provide in the midfield/attacking areas too, should they too be needed. Of course, Tahith Chong could make the bench ahead of Gomes, just like he did in Sunday’s victory over Tranmere in the FA Cup.

copyright: JW