Manchester United take only 19 players to Wolfsburg with the team not only missing eight first-team defenders but Ferguson also choosing to leave behind their key attacking players with one eye on a grueling upcoming league schedule.
Of the defenders, all of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Rafael, Fabio, John O’Shea and Jonny Evans are out with various injuries, although at least two of them should be back for the weekend action. Edwin van der Sar is also out with injury but United have cover in two able goalkeepers.
To make matters worse, Ritchie De Laet is ineligible to play in the competition. The young Belgian defender would surely have been an automatic choice on Tuesday nightbut he wasn’t able to be registered as a last-minute squad member as UEFA regulations stipulate additional players must have been at the club for a period of two years. De Laet signed for the Reds in January 2009.
There were notable absences, too, with Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov and Federico Macheda left behind in Manchester presumably with one eye on this weekend’s league fixture against Aston Villa and Ferguson showing extra caution in the face of an extraordinary injury crisis.
United’s 19-man squad for the game in Wolfsburg
Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Foster, Patrice Evra, Oliver Gill, Gabriel Obertan, Magnus Eikrem, Paul Scholes, Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Matty James, Darren Fletcher, Ji-sung Park, Anderson, Cameron Stewart, Nani, Oliver Norwood, Michael Owen, Danny Welbeck
With 7 players allowed on the subs bench, all but one of these players will be part of the match day squad. Who will miss out?
One thing is for sure – In the absence of Giggs, Rooney and Berbatov and with Carrick and Fletcher set to drop back into defence, if Nani STILL doesn’t get a start in this game, he might as well kill himself.
Potential starting lineup
Kuszczak, Gibson, Carrick, Fletcher, Evra, Welbeck, Obertan, Scholes, Anderson, Park, Owen
Who do you think will start for Manchester United?