Manchester United and Everton will travel south to Wembley Stadium in a semi-final FA Cup match-up this Saturday. United will enter the match coming off a comfortable win over Crystal Palace, while Everton are limping in after a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool in League play.
With just a handful of matches left, the Red Devils are keeping the heat on Arsenal and Manchester City for the race to a top 4 finish in the League. It looks as if United’s best chance for a top 4 finish will be if Arsenal slip up, something that United will hope will happen when West Brom visit the Emirates on Thursday.
Before United worry about the League, they must combat with Everton and this is how Louis van Gaal may line up the squad –
David de Gea quite possibly had his easiest match of the season on Wednesday when the Spanish keeper was rarely troubled by Palace. The best keeper in the Premier League will hope for the same effort from Everton this Saturday.
Both Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian shined as the full backs against Palace with the latter getting on the scoresheet with a thunderbolt of a strike. Although Timothy Fosu-Mensah may have other plans for Valencia, the Ecuadorian has looked very sharp and direct on the right flank.
Chris Smalling and Daley Blind showed great leadership on Wednesday and will most certainly start against Everton with van Gaal leaning on his preferred pairing for the important Cup match. Smalling was seen limping toward the latter parts of the match at Old Trafford, however, the Englishman should be ready come Saturday.
Defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin controlled much of the park and he’ll once again hope to do so this weekend and he should be joined by Ander Herrera, who will probably join the attack but with his industry can help track back and help the Frenchman if needed.
After failing to make much of an impact against a relatively poor Palace side, Juan Mata will be making his way back to the bench. Michael Carrick remains another option and is certainly no stranger to the English tournament but the midfield did fair well without him and looked a bit more threatening.
If there were any doubt regarding Wayne Rooney’s place in the team, he certainly silenced the critics with a masterclass performance sitting a bit deeper in midfield. Rooney will be joined by Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard a bit further up in the United attack. Unfortunately Lingard does not get the praise of Martial, but the young Englishman continues to put in a solid, if unspectacular shift on a daily basis with his terrific work rate.
Marcus Rashford failed to find the back of the net against Palace and was rightfully subbed off late in the second half after a hard tackle on the teenager. Van Gaal wanted to keep the striker fresh for Saturday with the hopes of him booking United a trip to the FA Cup Finals.