By Andy Hyslop
- Van Gaal has a near fully fit squad to choose from
- Only Shaw, Schweinsteiger and Januzaj ruled out
Manchester United face Everton at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup semi-final, the match is the first of the two semi-finals at Wembley this weekend.
Both managers are coming into this game with question marks over whether they will be in charge of their respective clubs next season. A FA Cup win could have a big say as to whether they will continue in their jobs.
United haven’t won the oldest cup competition in the world since the 2003/04 season when they beat Millwall 3-0 at the Millenium Stadium. They currently sit on eleven wins in the competition, one behind Arsenal.
They haven’t been in the final since the 2006/07 season and looking to level Arsenal’s record of 19 final appearances. This is the club’s first semi-final since the 2008/09 season when they lost to Everton.
Everton haven’t won the competition since beating United in the final in 1994/95 final and that was the last time the Merseysiders won a major trophy. Their last appearance in the final came in the 2008/09 after they beat United in the semis.
The winner of this semi-final will face either Crystal Palace or Watford in the final at Wembley on May 21.
Louis Van Gaal confirmed in his press conference on Thursday that United have a near fully fit squad to choose from, with only Shaw, Schweinsteiger and Januzaj ruled out by the manager
Shaw has recently returned to training but is yet to start training with his team-mates but he appears to be making good progress with his return to fitness.
Schweinsteiger is unlikely to feature for United again this term after picking up a knee ligament injury and is facing a race to be fit for the Euros this summer.
Januzaj has returned from a recent injury but will need to build his fitness up before being considered by Van Gaal for a first-team return.
There will be several disappointed players when Van Gaal announces his matchday squad of 18, with 24 players fighting for a place in that 18.
Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah have emerged as real contenders for a place in the starting eleven for this game.
Rashford has started every game since making his debut against FC Midtjylland just under two months ago. Making 13 appearances and scoring seven goals including the opener in the quarter-final replay win over West Ham.
Fosu-Mensah also started in that win over West Ham and despite sitting out the last two league games must be in contention for a start at right-back.
Michael Carrick is another who has sat out the wins over Aston Villa and Crystal Palace but we believe the experienced midfielder will return to feature in a midfield three.
That midfield three will most consist of Schneiderlin, Rooney and Carrick with Schneiderlin sitting slightly deeper than Carrick and Rooney.
Ahead of that we believe that Van Gaal will select a front three of Lingard, Rashford and Martial.
Everton haven’t won a game since their 2-0 win over Chelsea the quarter-finals, included in that run was a 1-0 defeat to United at Old Trafford. On Wednesday night they suffered the humiliation of a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby.
Unlike United Everton come into this game with a number of injury doubts especially in defence. Add to that the suspension of Ramiro Funes Mori following his sending-off against Liverpool.
Seamus Coleman has been ruled with a hamstring strain, while they have doubts over Jagielka and Stones. Jagielka is also suffering with a hamstring strain while Stones was taken off on Wednesday evening.
Midfielder Gareth Barry is also likely to miss out after suffering a groin injury against Liverpool.