Old Trafford plays host to the only all-Premier League affair in this season’s FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon, as Manchester United tackle Fulham for the right to play at Wembley. The Red Devils came from a goal behind to beat West Ham United in round five, while Marco Silva’s men put two unanswered goals past Leeds United to reach the last eight.
Man United’s midfield starman Casemiro begins a four-match domestic ban this weekend following his sending off against Southampton in their most recent Premier League contest, further restricting Ten Hag’s midfield options while Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen remain sidelined.
Garnacho is also expected to spend a few weeks out of action with the ankle injury that he sustained in that game, while Anthony Martial is still being re-integrated slowly following a hip problem, and Antony has emerged as a fresh doubt after missing the Betis second leg with an illness.
Having shaken off a knock to play a part on Thursday night, Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer could assume the Casemiro role, while the well-rested pairing of Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw could return to the backline.
While Man United have lost their tough-tackling midfielder to suspension, Fulham are welcoming theirs back, as Palhinha has served a two-game ban for yellow card accumulation and should immediately displace Sasa Lukic in the middle.
Cedric Soares is also back after being unable to face his parent club, but Shane Duffy, Neeskens Kebano and Layvin Kurzawa remain in the infirmary, while Willian missed the defeat against former employers Arsenal with a sore back but is fine for this one – the same goes for Tom Cairney as he battles back from a foot concern.
Marek Rodak has started all four of Fulham’s FA Cup games in goal this term and should feel confident of displacing Bernd Leno once more, but Daniel James ought to start on the bench against his former employers.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Fred, Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; Willian, Pereira, Solomon; Mitrovic
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Fulham
For his wealth of goalscoring exploits in the Premier League and Championship, Fulham talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic is yet to open his account in the FA Cup, and morale will not be at its peak following two crushing London derby losses.
The return of Palhinha to the midfield should help to alleviate some of the Cottagers’ recent defensive frailties, but even with Casemiro helplessly watching on, Man United should have no trouble booking their spot in the final four at the Old Trafford fortress.