Teenage duo start; Manchester United expected 4-2-3-1 v Tottenham
PREVIEW By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United’s pair of 1-0 wins over Manchester City and Everton have catapulted them back into the reckoning for a top-four finish and the chance to salvage something from a disappointing campaign.
But Louis van Gaal has conceded his team must extend their winning run against Tottenham at White Hart Lane if they are to clinch the final Champions League spot.
The manager is likely to stick with the bulk of the side that defeated City and Everton, although he will wait for fitness updates on his players before selecting his starting XI.
Teenage defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah could replace Marcos Rojo following his impressive display against Everton last weekend after replacing the Argentine at half-time.
The 18-year-old has made five first-team appearances this season and his impact among the many Academy graduates given their chance by Van Gaal is perhaps third only behind Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
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With Bastian Schweinsteiger unlikely to pay again this season, Van Gaal will perm two from Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini for the two central midfield spots.
The combination of natural anchormen Schneiderlin and Carrick has not always been a successful one this season but Van Gaal will be loathe to split them up after they were so successful in disrupting the passing rhythms of City and Everton.
One of the few shining lights for United this season has been the emergence of Marcus Rashford, whose extraordinary start to his career has lifted a team, a club and an entire fanbase.
The striker is likely to keep his place for the 10th consecutive match for what is likely to be the most testing of United’s remaining seven league assignments this season.
That would mean Anthony Martial once again being used on the left flank, with Jesse Lingard likely to get the nod over Juan Mata in the No10 role.
The Spaniard’s greater efficiency in and around the box mean he should get the nod over Ander Herrera and Memphis Depay for the final attacking midfield slot.
Manchester United (possible) De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Fosu-Mensah; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Rashford