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How Manchester United Should Line Up Against Saint Etienne With One Eye On Wembley

WATFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Luke Shaw of Manchester United (R) takes the ball past Etienne Capoue of Watford (L) during the Premier League match between Watford and Manchester United at Vicarage Road on September 18, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

A Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick last Thursday all but killed off Manchester United’s Europa League tie with Saint Etienne.

Despite the hostile atmosphere that’s set to greet them, Wednesday’s return leg seems a relatively straightforward task and presents Jose Mourinho with a chance to rotate his array of stars.

With a 3-goal lead in tow, this is how we think United should start tomorrow’s game.

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Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Sergio Romero of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg match between Manchester United and AS Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford on February 16, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Despite his error-prone ways, Sergio Romero boasts an impressive record between the sticks for United and will almost certainly start his third straight game in France.

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Right-Back: Timothy Fosu-Mensah

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One of the most talented young players on the books at Old Trafford, Fosu-Mensah has seen just a solitary minute of Premier League football and his chances in the cups have only slightly more regular.

Right-back is not his best spot but he’s arguably better than Antonio Valencia’s immediate deputy, Matteo Darmian. Fans of his should be very worried if the Dutchman doesn’t get a start at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

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Centre-Back: Axel Tuanzebe

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The blameless captain of a sinking ship at Reserves level, it’s time Axel make a permanent step up to first team football. Commanding displays at the heart of Nicky Butt’s backline have been one of very few highlights for the under-23s this campaign.

With the tie effectively sealed, there’ll be few better chances for the Congo-born youngster to get his first start at senior level.

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Centre-Back: Chris Smalling

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Danny Graham of Blackburn Rovers shoots past Chris Smalling of Manchester United as he scores their first goal during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood Park on February 19, 2017 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Chris Smalling was awful against Blackburn but had rediscovered something approaching decent form prior to Sunday’s game. Rojo would be too reckless to pair with the inexperience of Tuanzebe so the Englishman gets the nod.

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Left-Back: Luke Shaw

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Luke Shaw of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Burnley at Old Trafford on October 29, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

We’re rapidly approaching last chance saloon for Luke Shaw. He’s amassed just 12 games this term and has barely seen a minute since his November row with Mourinho. If he doesn’t feature in the Special One’s eleven on Wednesday, it’s difficult to see him staying at Old Trafford past the summer.

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Central Midfield: Bastian Schweinsteiger

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Manchester United passes the ball during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth round match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on January 29, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The German veteran appears to have found his spot in the United squad and seems content with cup duty for the remainder of the season. He and Romero are the only guaranteed starters for the return leg.

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Central Midfield: Paul Pogba

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Florentin Pogba of Saint-Etienne speak  during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg match between Manchester United and AS Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford on February 16, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

With Morgan Schneiderlin gone, Ander Herrera suspended, Michael Carrick fatigued and little point even suggesting Fosu-Mensah start in midfield, Pogba will likely have to start on Wednesday evening.

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Right Wing: Jesse Lingard

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Jesse Lingard of Manchester United and Craig Conway of Blackburn Rovers chase the ball during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood Park on February 19, 2017 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Lingard put in one his worst performances in a red shirt on Sunday but should still retain his place for the midweek game. Mourinho will be trying to wrap as many of his attacking threats in cotton wool as possible and it allows the youngster the chance to redeem himself.

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Number 10: Juan Mata

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Juan Mata of Manchester United celebrates as he scores their third goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Mata could well start the EFL Cup Final but Mourinho will still want a threat on the pitch against Saint Etienne and the diminutive Spaniard’s goalscoring form of late proves he provides just that.

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Left Wing: Anthony Martial

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Anthony Martial of Manchester United competes with Sam Morsy of Wigan Athletic during the FA Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on January 29, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Despite being an almost guaranteed name on next Sunday’s teamsheet, Martial will also have to line out against Christophe Galtier’s side with Rooney injured.

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Striker: Marcus Rashford

Manchester United v Hull City - EFL Cup Semi-Final: First Leg

The Manchester-native rounds off an impressive frontline with some electric speed. Zlatan’s showing last week earned him the night off and Rashford will surely get a second consecutive start.

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Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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