Having secured the sensational signing of Alexis Sanchez from rivals Arsenal on Monday, Manchester United’s attention will now turn to securing victory on Friday night when they take on League Two outfit Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round. Jose Mourinho’s men have made a fantastic start to the new year, winning all four of their fixtures in 2018, without conceding a single goal.
Last Saturday, a solitary Anthony Martial strike was enough to seal all three points for the Reds away to Burnley, although United will be hoping for a more comfortable evening at Huish Park. Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mourinho confirmed that Sanchez will be included in the squad to face Yeovil, although he stopped short of confirming whether United’s new number seven will be handed a starting berth or not. The Portuguese boss has made it clear that he will name a strong squad to face the Glovers, although a couple of changes to the side that sealed victory over the Clarets could be expected.
One such change could be in goal, where first-choice shot-stopper David de Gea could be handed the evening off and replaced by Argentina international Sergio Romero, who has made six appearances so far, this season. At the heart of the Reds defence, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have started United’s last three games alongside each other and performed well, although the likes of Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo may be drafted in. Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw are also options for Mourinho on either side of the back four, although it is unlikely that the Portuguese boss will be willing to make to many changes in defence.
In midfield, Marouane Fellaini has made his long-awaited return from injury and his physicality may come in handy against a Yeovil Town that will be keen to leave their mark on their more illustrious opponents. Club captain Michael Carrick, whose single appearance for the Reds came back in September, is edging closer to full fitness having undergone a heart procedure, although it is unknown whether he will be included for the trip to the League Two side. In the attacking third, Mourinho may be keen to hand a start to Marcus Rashford, who has been kept out of the side of late by the in-form duo of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.
Having last found the back of the net at the start of last month, this is the perfect opportunity for the England international to end his goalscoring drought and gain some much-needed confidence, especially with the crunch fixtures on the horizon for United.
It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho will opt for Romelu Lukaku to lead the line on Friday night. The Belgium international has been in fine form for the Reds since the turn of the year and it was his assist that set up Martial’s winner at Turf Moor last Saturday. With a tricky trip to Tottenham Hotspur coming up next Wednesday, Mourinho may consider resting the former Everton man and avoid him potentially picking up an unwanted injury at a crucial stage of the campaign.
Naturally, all eyes will be on Sanchez and there is no doubt that the United faithful are itching to see their new number seven in action and it remains to be seen whether he will make his Reds debut at Yeovil or whether Mourinho will save his new addition for the clash at Wembley Stadium, next week.
Just over three years ago, a different-looking United side travelled to Yeovil for their FA Cup third-round fixture and emerged 2-0 victors, with Ander Herrera and Angel di Maria scoring the goals that booked United’s place in the next round. Since that day, 10 of the players that formed part of the matchday squad have been moved on by United, whilst Mourinho went on to replace then-manager Louis van Gaal at the helm.
Another 2-0 win will suit the Reds nicely, as they look to see through the Friday night clash with minimum fuss before turning their attention to the trip to Wembley to take on Spurs on Wednesday night.