|Photo from Evening Standard|
If ever there was a time when Manchester United needed to play lower league opposition, it would be right now. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men desperately need to get back into the win column following the first two game losing slump of the season, and it feels like Sunday’s fourth round FA Cup fixture against Tranmere Rovers is coming at the perfect time.
But it also might not be. Should United suffer an upset defeat against the League One side, it would be yet another nail slammed into this season’s coffin, and it would provoke even more turmoil surrounding Solskjaer’s future at the helm. And let’s be honest, a Tranmere giant killing does not seem all that far fetched when you really think about it.
United are visibly jaded due to the lack of squad depth and the injuries to Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, and with no business being done as of yet this month, there is very little room for rotation. Chances are that the team that takes the field on Sunday will be very similar to the one which suffered defeat midweek, and that’s not really good for anyone.
United need a win in a big way in order to get that winning feeling back into their legs before the massive games against Manchester City and Wolves coming up over the next week, but they also need to rotate and let some players rest. Perhaps some more youth may get a chance on a rough surface in Tranmere against a level of opposition that they would be familiar with from the Leasing.com cup games from earlier on in the season.
One thing is for certain heading into Sunday, anything other than a win will send United fans into a frenzy. And Tranmere will certainly be up for it after offloading Watford from the competition just two days ago.
The absentees for the Reds have not changed. Solskjaer’s side is set to be without Pogba, McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo and Rashford for the foreseeable future. But Victor Lindelof is back from illness, and Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are now fully available for selection having played some behind closed doors fixtures in the last couple of weeks. The hosts may be without Ishmael Miller, Mark Ellis and Evan Gumbs due to injury doubts. 38-year-old Peter Clarke is also a doubt.
Romero; Dalot, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Fred, Garner; James, Mata, Chong; Greenwood.
Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Manchester United