26 October 2009

Barnsley vs Manchester United

Barnsely vs Manchester United
Tuesday, 7.45 PM GMT

The Premier League champions return to more mundane matters with a Carling Cup tie at Barnsley, yet manager will nevertheless challenge his players to show their strength of character and respond to their surprise defeat to Liverpool on Sunday. Ferguson is expected to make wholesale changes for the fourth round tie as he continues to give his fringe players the chance to prove themselves and stake their claim for a regular place in his first team squad.

Ferguson has so much strength in depth and talent at his disposal that he will feel comfortable naming an unfamiliar line-up, safe in the knowledge they should still have the ability to overcome the challenge of Barnsley, who are managed by former Old Trafford favourite Mark Robbins . "It was a disappointing performance (at Anfield) and Liverpool were better," Ferguson said. "We never got any luck in terms of refereeing decisions, but we have to hold our hands up and admit we weren't good enough. Part of the challenge at this club is how you react to disappointment. We lost 4-1 to Liverpool at home last season, which was a travesty at the time. But the players buckled down and we went on to win the league."

Strategy: There will be no let-up from Ferguson, even though on paper this looks like a comfortable win for United. No-one hates losing more than Ferguson and he will be desperate to take out his frustrations on his hosts from the Championship. Ferguson will challenge centre forwards Welbeck and Macheda make the most of a rare opportunity in his starting line up. Welbeck scored the winner against Wolverhampton in the previous round but Macheda's progress has stalled this season following his dramatic impact towards the end of the last campaign.

Ferguson claimed last summer that he didn't need to sign another striker, other than Owen, simply because both Welbeck and Macheda provided him with good options in this department. Now is the chance for the duo to prove their manager right. Nani and Valencia will be expected to deliver quality service from the flanks while Brown and Evans will marshal the defence. Ferguson will also be looking for an influential performance from Gibson in midfield.


Predicted score - United wins 2-0 and let's hope this boosts their confidence levels to face CSKA and Chelsea in the upcoming fixtures.

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