Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s statement that he intends to field a much changed side for Manchester United’s Carabao Cup Quarter Final tie with Everton at Goodison Park tonight will be a chance to put the squad’s 2020-21 strength in depth to the test.
One of the accusations levelled at the 2019/20 version of Solskjaer’s men is that the squad was not strong enough and that resting just two or three players led to a serious deterioration in the standard of play produced by the side.
This became apparent before and after football’s lockdown was lifted. United went on a dismal run of two wins, one draw and four losses from seven games when the likes of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were injured around the turn of the year. Conversely, after lockdown, United notched up nine wins, three draws and two losses when they had an almost fully fit first eleven.
The team was almost the same in every game of that run: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw/Williams, Matic/Fred, Pogba, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial. It seemed that the boss simply did not have enough faith in the remaining squad members to rotate the side.
And whilst the summer transfer window failed to introduce any nailed-on first team stars to push any of those stars into the shade, the three signings that were made – Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani – along with Dean Henderson’s return from loan should have made it a lot easier for Solskjaer to rest key players without the standard dropping.
In fact, the Reds could change all eleven players from the side that demolished Leeds 6-2 on Sunday arguably without it looking like a weakened side, for example: Henderson, Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles, Matic, Pogba, Mata, van de Beek, Greenwood, Cavani.
To be at their very best United are undoubtedly still dependent on the likes of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, but it will be interesting this evening to see whether the boss feels confident enough to rest them and put his new-look squad to the test in a game that carries importance.
Edinson Cavani has made quite an impact since his deadline day arrival at Old Trafford, but how much do you know about our other South American players, past and present? Take our quiz below to find out!