Manchester United are set to face Crystal Palace in the first match of the EFL Cup today at Old Trafford. The Red Devils have experienced a less than stellar commencement to their campaign, securing victories in merely three out of seven matches across all competitions.
It is highly probable that Erik ten Hag will significantly rotate the squad. This would not only serve as an evaluation period for players who haven’t seen much action but also provide much-needed rest to the main XI who have been consistently participating since the onset of the Premier League season. It’s also likely that Ten Hag might experiment with new formations and tactics.
United, in their pursuit to defend the single trophy they have attained in the past six years, understand the indispensability of rotation. It might be prudent to reserve Raphael Varane for the upcoming weekend clash against Crystal Palace and utilise Harry Maguire for this occasion. The same could be applicable for Anthony Martial in the forward position.
Mason Mount, in preparation for upcoming Premier League matches, requires some game time, and Sofyan Amrabat may potentially be in line for a full debut, especially considering Casemiro has played seven consecutive matches. Facundo Pellistri could also be contending for a recall.
The possibility of Amrabat and goalkeeper Altay Bayindir making full debuts is likely. With Andre Onana potentially missing up to seven matches due to his commitments with Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Ten Hag needs to assess Bayindir well in advance. Though Tom Heaton is back and fit, Bayindir appears to be the second choice to Onana.
Dan Gore has maintained substantial involvement with the first team this season and is expected, at the very least, to secure a spot on the bench.