Who Could Start for Manchester United in FA Cup Final if Romelu Lukaku is Ruled Out

Romelu Lukaku has been a menace for Manchester United since his £75million arrival last summer.

 

His ‘flat-track bully’ reputation has both been enhanced and disproved over the course of the season, with goals against the likes of Swansea and Stoke early on, contrasted by big performances against Chelsea and Liverpool in the closing months.

 

 

The Belgian has been so instrumental to the United attack that it is hardly a surprise that the goals have dried up since he suffered an ankle injury against Arsenal last month.

 

United scored just once in the three games Lukaku was sidelined for and fans have been sweating on his fitness ahead of the FA Cup final on Saturday.

 

Jose Mourinho still hasn’t been able to confirm if his main striker will be fit enough to start against Chelsea but Anthony Martial is definitely available after overcoming injury.

 

Here are Mourinho’s options if Lukaku is ruled out:

 

Marcus Rashford

 

Rashford scored the only goal United managed in those three games that Lukaku has missed, but that was just his 13th goal of the season from 51 appearances.

 

Few doubt Rashford’s talent but with Mourinho’s tendency to play him in a wide position this season, his goal return has suffered.

 

He has found the net in big games, though.

 

Rashford scored both goals in the 2-1 win against Liverpool in March and also scored against rivals City back in October.

 

After being named in England’s World Cup squad by Gareth Southgate earlier this week, Rashford will look to stake his claim for a starting position in Russia and playing in his favoured position on Saturday will do him the world of good.

 

Anthony Martial

 

Martial has a point to prove after being left out of the France World Cup squad and will want the opportunity to show Didier Deschamps he made a mistake.

 

Martial has also been overlooked at club level regularly this season and talk of him leaving Old Trafford this summer is not going away.

 

A fan favourite who supporters don’t want to see leave, the Frenchman will need to take every opportunity he is given to prove his worth to Mourinho.

 

Like Rashford, the Frenchman has been played in a wide position more often than not this campaign, but a return to the central position could signal a change in fortunes.

 

Martial hasn’t played as a striker since the beginning of March and has been absent from the last two matchdays, but his omission from the France squad should give him the motivation to perform if chosen.

 

Alexis Sanchez

 

One of Alexis Sanchez’s most appealing attributes to Mourinho is his flexibility. The Chilean can play anywhere across a front three and has done so during his four months with United.

 

Though Sanchez’s record since moving to Manchester isn’t that impressive, his record at Wembley certainly is.

 

Eight goals from his eight matches there include two in FA Cup finals, and he scored the equaliser in the 2-1 semi-final win against Tottenham last month.

 

Sanchez scored the opener in last year’s final against Saturday’s opponents Chelsea but has only scored three since moving from Arsenal in January.

 

Jesse Lingard

 

The second striker in that front two against West Ham was Jesse Lingard.

 

He boasts an FA Cup final goal himself – a venomous volley that decided the 2016 final which will live long in the memory.

 

Lingard has come on leaps and bounds this season, scoring 13 goals in all competitions for United and getting his first England goal, as well as a call-up for the World Cup.

 

If Lingard is selected in attack, it is likely that he will be part of a two-man strike force and that Mourinho will switch to the 3-5-2 formation he played at the London Stadium.

manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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