Manchester United suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Anthony Martial was ruled out of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester City due to injury.
After coming in with 23 minutes remaining in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Fulham, the attacker suffered a hamstring strain. Later examinations revealed that he had suffered a muscular strain.
As a result, he will miss his 33rd game of the season. Despite suffering a nasty-looking ankle injury in last Thursday’s 4-1 triumph over Chelsea, Erik ten Hag believes Antony will be ready for the trip to Wembley.
Given Martial’s absence, his probable return would be a huge boost. Because of the forward’s injury, Marcus Rashford, who scored the game-winning goal versus City at Old Trafford in January, will almost probably start.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, and Luke Shaw are set to guard David de Gea, while Fred could join Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes in midfield to give energy against a busy City midfield.
Ten Hag is extremely likely to play four midfielders against City, potentially shifting Bruno Fernandes to the right wing, but here are three other aggressive lineups he may use if he doesn’t.
Garnacho, Rashford, and Sancho (from left to right)
Garnacho would be playing in the FA Cup final just over a year after starring in the FA Youth Cup final. It would also be Sancho’s first start in front of a crowd at Wembley since November 2019, two years before his previous start beneath the Arch behind closed doors, both for England.
Rashford has been in outstanding form this season, earning him the title of club Player of the Year. He is undeniably less efficient as a lone striker than on the left.
If Antony is fit enough, Sancho will likely get the nod over Garnacho on the left. Ten Hag has persevered with Sancho despite a string of mediocre performances, starting 11 of the final 15 Premier League games.
This season, Sancho has three goals from both wings but has played on the left nine times more than the right (19 vs 10). Garnacho would most certainly take his place at some point.
The least likely of the three options, but possibly the most popular. Least likely since Garnacho has struggled to make an impact as a starter, and most popular because those are the front three most likely to provide a game-winning moment.
Casemiro and Varane may be concerned about the extra defensive cover they will receive, with Antony and Garnacho less likely to track back.