The Red Devils will welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Thursday, just four days after the Midlands club beat United in the Premier League. But both sides are expected to have a different look about them when they lock horns again in the third round of the EFL Cup.
Ten Hag and Unai Emery may hand minutes to several players who haven’t featured much in recent weeks. For United, that includes the likes Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Scott McTominay, Anthony Elanga and Anthony Martial.
However, the former Ajax manager has tended to select a strong team in the Europa League this season and it’s not clear whether he’ll take a similar approach on Thursday. The EFL Cup does represent one of United’s best chances at lifting silverware this campaign, the significance of which Ten Hag cannot afford to overlook.
However, it’s a competition that could afford players some game-time, especially in the midst of such a busy fixture schedule. In fact, this will be the sixth week in a row that United will have faced a midweek fixture.
It will also be intriguing to see whether Ten Hag gives David de Gea a night off. The Spaniard has played every single match this season, and back-up goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has not played for the Red Devils since completing a loan move from Newcastle United in the summer.
There’s also the weekend to consider for United, who face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, and will want to head into the World Cup on the back of a positive result. With all that in mind, here’s who we think Ten Hag will select on Thursday.