FA Cup final: How can Manchester United replace Anthony Martial against Manchester City?

Manchester United suffered a huge blow ahead of the all-important FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday. Their main striker Anthony Martial has been ruled out of the showpiece competition at Wembley Stadium. He suffered the injury in the closing stages of last weekend’s 2-1 win over Fulham. It was later found to be a muscle tear. This latest development means the 27-year-old French striker will play no part on Saturday. Let us see how Erik ten Haag can replace him in the starting XI.

Alejandro Garnacho – Marcus Rashford – Jadon Sancho

The direct obvious replacement would be to move Marcus Rashford down the middle. The England international has been in scintillating form this season after reaching 30 goals in all competitions. Rashford may not have been in good goalscoring touch in recent weeks, but that’s largely down to his unexpected injuries. Either way, he is the most logical choice to play up top, while promising young winger Alejandro Garnacho could start on the left and Jadon Sancho could play on the right wing. With a lot of pace and versatility in these three players, they can cause a lot of problems for Manchester City’s defence.

Jadon Sancho – Marcus Rashford – Bruno Fernandes

When facing a team like Manchester City, opponents must be prepared to do a lot of defensive work. Pep Guardiola’s men have been able to suffocate the opposition by possessing a lot of the ball. With a lot of defending being on the agenda for the Old Trafford outfit, Erik ten Haag could go in with an extra midfielder to counter City’s threat in the middle of the park. As a result, Bruno Fernandes could move into an inverted right-wide midfield role, something he has already done several times this season for ten goals. This could allow the manager to start someone like Fred alongside Casemiro for better defensive stability.

Marcus Rashford – Wout Weghorst – Jadon Sancho

As an alternative, Erik ten Haag could play Wout Weghorst up front, Rashford on the left and Sancho on the right. This is also something the Red Devils have been accustomed to playing at times in the second half of the season. Weghorst has often been tasked with dropping deep to receive the ball, allowing Rashford to run in behind the Dutch striker. In addition, Weghorst’s high work rate could help Man United prevent City from playing freely at the back. This approach has worked on occasions but backfired badly on other occasions as well. Hence, it will be interesting to see whether Erik ten Haag will take this gamble into the all-important cup final.

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