Manchester United FC

The Manchester United lineup that should start against Granada

Jamie Spencer
Apr 7, 2021, 12:30 PM GMT+1
Man Utd travel to Granada for their Europa League quarter-final first leg
Man Utd travel to Granada for their Europa League quarter-final first leg | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Manchester United return to Europa League action on Thursday night for the first leg of their quarter-final tie against La Liga side Granada, who are enjoying an impressive first ever season participating in European competition.

Granada were playing in the second tier of Spanish football only two years ago but finished seventh on their return to La Liga in 2019 and have so far got the better of Napoli and Molde in the knockout stages. United, meanwhile, have endured a tougher road to this point after facing Real Sociedad and AC Milan so far and will probably consider this a more favourable tie.

Here’s a look at the starting XI manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could pick…

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Dean Henderson could now finish the season as Man Utd #1
Dean Henderson could now finish the season as Man Utd #1 | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Dean Henderson (GK): Chances are the home-grown stopper would have played in this game ahead of David de Gea anyway because of the competition, but Solskjaer made a big call on Sunday when he favoured him for the Brighton game in the Premier League.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB): Despite being a world class one-on-one defender, his big weakness remains penalty area awareness and marking, which allowed Brighton to open the scoring. It is something he has to work on because that wasn’t the first time this season it has led to a goal.

Victor Lindelof (CB): The absence of Eric Bailly as a result of a positive coronavirus test and the lack of match practice for Axel Tuanzebe ensures that Solskjaer has little choice here.

Harry Maguire (CB): The skipper has already reached 100 appearances for United in less than two full seasons since his world record £80m transfer from Leicester. He plays virtually every game in every competition and has only missed three this season.

Alex Telles (LB): Could come back into the side to give Luke Shaw an important rest, having returned to training on Wednesday morning following a short illness. The Brazilian has started three of United’s last four Europa League games.

2. Midfielders

Paul Pogba scored the winner against AC Milan in the last round
Paul Pogba scored the winner against AC Milan in the last round | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Scott McTominay (CM): Played 90 minutes in each leg against AC Milan and also started the 4-0 first leg win over Real Sociedad back in the round of 32. He was also rested for the Brighton game at the weekend and therefore should be fresh for this one.

Paul Pogba (CM): Scored the decisive goal in Milan in the last round and is starting to return to form after recently missing 10 games with a hamstring injury. The ideal would be for United to open up a lead inside the first hour so he can be withdrawn early.

Bruno Fernandes (AM): United continue to heavily rely on their talisman, who plays 90 minutes in virtually every Premier League game and seems like he must be super human at this point.

3. Forwards

Daniel James could replace Marcus Rashford
Daniel James could replace Marcus Rashford | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Mason Greenwood (RW): Scored only his second Premier League goal of the season against Brighton and will be keen to build some positive momentum off the back of that.

Edinson Cavani (ST): Fitness permitting, the veteran Uruguayan could get an extended run in the starting XI between now and the end of the season as a result of the concerns that Anthony Martial is in danger of missing the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.

Daniel James (LW): Another injury setback for Marcus Rashford could open up a place in the lineup for United’s Welsh speedster. There is also every chance that Amad Diallo could also appear from the bench at some stage.

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