A half empty stadium on a Wednesday night, it can only be the League Cup! (I refuse to call this cup by it’s actual 3 word title because it’s just pants). Our opening fixture in the competition sees us play Newcastle United at home in the 3rd round. I’d expect both teams to use this as an opportunity to play fringe and reserve team players.
It’s difficult to predict the Manchester United XI. Which goalkeeper will start? De Gea, Lindegaard and Sam Johnstone could all be in a shout of a start. Will our only 2 fit first team centre backs Jonny Evans or Rio Ferdinand be risked in such a relatively unimportant game? Could reserve team centre backs Michael Keane or Scott Wooton start? After picking up a little knock at Anfield, maybe Antonio Valencia or even Marnick Vermijl could start in place of Rafael. How will we line up at central midfield? Both Nick Powell and Darren Fletcher are looking for their first start of the season and Tom Cleverley and Anderson are both first team players that haven’t featured for a few games. Any combination of them, or possibly all of them could start tomorrow.
In attack Javier Hernandez is still looking for regular games, a start tomorrow night would only be his 2nd of the season. New signing Angelo Henriquez could feature as well as reserve players Kiko Macheda, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Davide Petrucci or Bebe.
My Predicted XI: De Gea, Rafael, Wooton, M. Keane, Buttner, Powell, Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverley, Hernandez, Henriquez
The opposition: Newcastle United
In the weekend Newcastle beat Norwich 1-0. I’d expect the team would be more similar to the one they fielded against Maritimo in the Europa League than their last Premier League game. Against Maritimo they drew 0-0 and former red Gabriel Obertan started the game. Other fringe players such as Gosling, Amalfitano, Vuckic and Ameobi started in that game.
I’d expect the standard of football tomorrow to be competitive. Many of the players who will start for us will be hoping to impress to come into contention for some of our Premier League and Champions League games. They will also be hoping to progress in the competition to inevitibly get more chances playing for the first team. Although there isn’t much prestige attached to the competition, I’d personally like it if we went far and even possibly won it. Here’s to a good cup run!