United start EFL Cup defence at home to Palace
The EFL Cup third round gets underway tonight with defending competition winners Manchester United in action at Old Trafford against fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace.
Both managers have all but confirmed they will rotate their squads for the midweek cup tie with the teams set to meet again in the league on Saturday.
Erik ten Hag’s men claimed a much-needed Premier League win last Saturday night thanks to a stunning Bruno Fernandes volley at Turf Moore in a 0-1 win against Burnley. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace played out a scoreless draw against London rivals Fulham.
Roy Hodgson’s side have made a steady start to the season by claiming eight-points from their opening six matches, that’s just one less point than tonight’s hosts have gathered up in the Premier League.
Odsonne Édouard has scored four of his team’s six goals in the league this season but the former Celtic striker is set to sit out tonight’s game in Manchester having picked up a muscle strain at the weekend. With Hodgson already without Michael Olise, the Eagles may be light on options up top which is a shame given the vulnerability of the Man United defence this season.
Manchester United could welcome Mason Mount back into the team with one of their big summer signings sitting out the last number of weeks through injury while there could be a first start for Morocco’s World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat who should go a long way in helping ten Hag solve his midfield problems.
Marcus Rashford is also expected to be rested tonight which means Anthony Martial will likely lead the line for the home side. While Martial is a marmite figure at Old Trafford, the Frenchman looked lively off the bench in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich recently so hopefully he can carry that energy into tonight’s game as he can often look disinterested at times, much to the frustration of United supporters.
While it’s been a difficult start to the season for Manchester United, they still have a squad full of international players meaning that even with rotation they should have what it takes to navigate a tricky home tie in a competition they won last season.
VERDICT: Man United (6/10)
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