Following yet another disappointing end to the January transfer window combined with a conscience testing international break, Manchester United return to action as they prepare for their fourth-round F.A Cup tie against Middlesbrough on Friday.
Having entered into a rich vein of form in the lead-up to the international break, Ralf Rangnick’s side will be keen on finding consistent results as they eye a challenge for silverware amidst keeping up in the race for top-four moving into a pivotal phase of the campaign.
The squad is significantly trimmed in comparison to the roster for their previous outing. While the club remained reluctant in sanctioning a January arrival, Rangnick will be hoping to integrate youth prospects into the first-team set-up over the coming weeks.
Amidst the major returnees for Manchester United, Paul Pogba emerges as an indispensable addition, with the French midfielder expected to reclaim his spot in the starting XI against Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, and Eric Bailly remain the only set of players out of contention for Friday’s F.A Cup encounter.
Manchester United Starting XI Against Middlesbrough
With the team growing comfortably consistent in their adaptation and execution of Rangnick’s philosophy, the team will be hopeful of delivering promising results until the end of the campaign. Given the shortage of personnel across crucial positions, it remains to be seen if United rises or falters tonight against the Championship side.
David De Gea (GK): The team’s most crucial performer in the ongoing campaign, De Gea will be hoping to maintain his form until the end of the campaign including tonight. With the team growing increasingly convincing in their defensive duties, the Spaniard will be hoping to increase his tally of clean sheets over the coming weeks.
Diogo Dalot (RB): Having grown into a dependable asset under Rangnick, Dalot will be keen on remaining a consistent performer over the remainder of the season. With the manager’s system relying on his abilities, the Portuguese full-back is bound to remain an integral part of the team’s performance against The Boro.
Raphael Varane (RCB): A crucial part of the team’s backline, Varane’s abilities will be relied upon if the team are to remain defensively resolute until the end of the campaign. Having significantly improved the team’s performances, the Frenchman remains vital to the club’s hopes for silverware this season.
Harry Maguire (LCB): A contentious figure amongst the fanbase, Maguire will be hoping to redeem himself over the upcoming games. With the team in need of consistent performers, the centre-back will be hoping to contribute positive displays going forward.
Luke Shaw (LB): With Alex Telles unlikely to feature against Chris Wilder’s men, Luke Shaw will be keen on delivering a promising performance tonight. Having been reduced to a squad role in recent weeks, the full-back will be hoping to regain his spot in the starting XI over the coming weeks.
Scott McTominay (CDM): Amongst the most improved players under Rangnick, McTominay will be keen on contributing to the team’s results tonight. Moreover, the team is short of personnel in the midfield department and the Scotsman is likely to emerge as a vital part of the team’s performances until the end of the campaign.
Paul Pogba (CM): Expected to return to the line-up against Middlesbrough after spending over three months on the sidelines, the Frenchman is expected to play a pivotal part for Manchester United over the remainder of the campaign, starting tonight.
Bruno Fernandes (CAM): A vital part of the team’s creative prowess, the Portuguese will be keen on delivering a compelling performance against the Championship side. With the team dependent on his service, Fernandes will be hoping to contribute to promising results for the rest of the campaign.
Anthony Elanga (LW): Expected to gain more minutes as we move forward, Elanga will be keen on cementing his spot in the starting XI over the coming weeks. The team need impactful forwards and the young winger is likely to remain a part of the first-team set-up.
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Jadon Sancho (RW): Although having endured a difficult season hitherto, Sancho will be keen on reclaiming his first-team spot tonight. With lesser competition across the frontline, the Manchester United winger will be looking to deliver consistent performances against Middlesbrough.
Marcus Rashford (ST): Having returned to the scoresheet before the international break, Rashford will be keen on improving and returning to his best going forward. The English winger will be hoping to contribute to the team’s progress over the remainder of the campaign.
Manchester United 3-0 Middlesbrough.
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