April 19, 2021

Man Utd

News

Manchester United have four options with Donny van de Beek vs Granada

3 min read

Rashford rested?

“I don’t pick players when we know there’s a risk,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted. Unfortunately for the United manager, examples immediately spring to mind of risks that backfired dating back to his honeymoon period as the caretaker manager.

Marcus Rashford has been so overplayed this season he came on for 45 minutes against Real Sociedad with United still 4-0 up on aggregate. Granada are not an esteemed name in the Europa League, two places below Sociedad in a dismal La Liga season and their most recognisable name is Roberto Soldado.

Tonight is a rarity for United: a European quarter-final where rotation should be mandatory. There is little sense in starting Rashford three days before Tottenham away.

De Gea in?

Dean Henderson has started in all four of United’s Europa League ties and is the de facto No.1. Solskjaer has also stressed Henderson and De Gea will both play in the run-in, so a Europa League recall for De Gea would be logical.

“Every time I try to explain to players why they don’t play in this particular game and what they need to do and what my plans are with them, all those discussions remain private,” Solskjaer said.

Solskjaer’s attempts to drop De Gea on two previous occasions, only to reinstall him in the XI, do not reflect well on his authority and De Gea’s happy personal news of the birth of his daughter was also happy professional news for Solskjaer, who had an excuse to install Henderson as the first choice.

There is little harm in recalling De Gea for a game United should win irrespective of who’s between the sticks.

James for Rashford?

Edinson Cavani has operated as though there is a ‘not obliged to play in Europa League’ clause in his contract and he might have withdrawn from tonight’s squad by the time you are reading this.

If he hasn’t, it is safe to assume he will line up again, with Mason Greenwood on the right and Daniel James the likely left-sided option. Donny van de Beek is an alternative, although not a natural on the left.

Does Van de Beek get a start?

You would have got long odds on Van de Beek making just 12 United starts after the clocks had gone forward. That’s fewer starts than Eric Bailly and Cavani and Alex Telles – the other established summer signings – have started more often.

Van de Beek is fortunate United’s last eight opponents are not particularly intimidating and the first leg could be used to jump-start his United career. Paul Pogba might be saved for Spurs, unless Solskjaer trials Van de Beek, Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the same XI.


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Spanish XI

Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Deportivo La Coruña, Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo, Sevilla, and now Granada. United’s history against Spanish clubs in European competition is particularly rich, dating back to their 6-5 defeat of Athletic in the 1957 European Cup quarter-finals.

Real Madrid were Sir Matt Busby’s yardstick, Old Trafford turned it up to 11 against Barcelona in 1984 and 2008, there were results that ranged from significant to seismic against Deportivo and Sevilla, while Pep Guardiola’s Barca were the only challengers Sir Alex Ferguson failed to topple in his 26-and-a-half-year fiefdom.

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