United take a break from the toils of the Premier League tonight as they make the long journey south-west to meet Yeovil Town of League Two, the lowest-ranked team left in this season’s FA Cup competition. Despite being drawn away from home, and therefore potentially having to deal with a pitch at Huish Park which may not be up to Premier League ‘standards’, United really should have far too much quality for the men in green shirts, and I hope that gets shown clearly over the 90 minutes.
Obviously the big news coming into this tie is the question of whether new signing Alexis Sanchez will make his first appearance in a Red Devils shirt this evening in Somerset. Personally I wouldn’t risk him in this game, with a huge match with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium coming up on Wednesday evening – perhaps a place on the bench in the event that we need to call on his skills – hopefully that will NOT be the case!
Yeovil Town were somewhat surprise victors over League One side Bradford City in the Third Round, and will be without former United trainee Otis Khan for the game tonight as he has been suspended after shoving the referee in Yeovil’s late 2-1 defeat to Chesterfield last weekend. The Somerset club have struggled in League Two this year, winning only 7 of their 28 games to date, and boss Darren Way is probably just relieved to get a week away from league action with United’s visit.
Here is my team selection for this game: (very fluid 4-2-3-1)
GK: Sergio Romero – the Argentine’s status at United has been under scrutiny recently with rumours he has asked to move away to get playing 1st team football elsewhere, with the upcoming World Cup in Russia at the forefront of his mind. As long as he is mentally ‘ready’ for this game, I’d bring him in and give David de Gea a break ahead of the big game with Tottenham in mid-week.
RB: Antonio Valencia – Tony was his normal reliable self at Turf Moor last Saturday, and should get a few opportunities to get forward against Yeovil Town.
LB: Ashley Young – Ashley returned to the starting XI last Saturday against Burnley, and I’d retain him in the line-up for this game, with the intention of restoring Luke Shaw to left-back against Tottenham. As with Valencia, Young should get plenty of chances to get forward.
CBs: Marcos Rojo & Victor Lindelof – With Eric Bailly still sidelined, Jose has paired Phil Jones alongside Chris Smalling recently in the Premier League, and if he plans to retain that partnership for the upcoming game at Wembley, I’d start with Rojo and Lindelof tonight. Frankly, they should be a class above anything the League Two outfit can field against them, though will need to guard against complacency.
DMs: Scott McTominay & Marouane Fellaini – Neither of these lads have started games recently, the lanky Belgian only returning from injury, and tonight would be a good opportunity for them to show what they can do as a pairing. Young McTominay has been on the fringes of the 1st team all season, and this would be a chance for Scott to put in a performance and get himself noticed.
RM: Jesse Lingard – Lingard was again very good at Turf Moor, his selfless running creating the space which allowed Anthony Martial the time to place his near-post shot past Nick Pope for United’s winning goal; he’ll torture the Yeovil defence tonight.
AM (C): Paul Pogba – I’d be very tempted to leave Paul out of this one and rest him ahead of the Tottenham game, but he is such a central part of how we play that I don’t feel I can. Again, I expect him to be the best player on the pitch by the proverbial “country mile”, and he should have more than enough ability to destroy the League Two side with his movement, passing and vision.
LM: Marcus Rashford – The young Englishman has endured a difficult time of late, falling behind Martial in the pecking order, and producing some indifferent displays when he does get on the park. Hopefully this game will be a golden opportunity for Marcus to ‘bounce back’ and show just what a good player he is.
CF: Romelu Lukaku – the big man produced a moment of top quality to lay on the chance from which Martial scored the only goal last Saturday; he should have too much power and quality for the Yeovil defence to shut him out over 90 minutes, and could add another couple of goals to his tally for the season at Huish Park.
BENCH: J. Pereira, Martial, Smalling, Blind, Sanchez, Herrera, Mata.
Let’s be frank here. Manchester United are expected to win this game with something to spare, and I will be very, very disappointed if that is not exactly what happens this evening. Yeovil Town have to be treated with respect, but in reality they are a club struggling to maintain their place in League Two, and the gulf in class between the sides should become apparent as the game wears on.
Yes, the Huish Park pitch, with the stands close by the touchlines, will ensure the hosts will be competitive in their familiar surroundings, but even that shouldn’t be enough to tip the tie in their favour. If we are struggling to find a breakthrough, our new ‘free’ signing can come off the bench to inject some urgency and ‘jazz’ to proceedings!
Anything other than our name in the hat for the Fifth Round draw will be a complete disaster, and I expect Jose Mourinho to take the threat of Yeovil Town seriously enough to have our lads well prepared for the challenge facing them in Somerset this evening.