With a Wembley final against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at stake, United and City go head to head at Old Trafford in a one-legged semi-final where it is winner takes all.
Solskjaer is aiming to win the first trophy of his time as United manager, while Pep Guardiola – who lifted this trophy in 2018, 2019 and 2020 – has seen success in this competition as a valuable mid-season shot in the arm for his City squad.
Solskjaer may have initially been tempted to give some of his key players such as Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire a breather following a gruelling festive fixture schedule. However, United’s form and relative lack of injury problems means the Norwegian should stick to the core which has pulled them level on points with Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Donny van de Beek is in need of minutes, but has failed to get any since his last outing in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win at Everton before Christmas.
Victor Lindelof should be available following a back injury, though Eric Bailly – who has struggled for fitness during his United career – is excelling in his absence and will likely partner Maguire at the back.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to play in order to track City runners such as Raheem Sterling, while one change could see Alex Telles come in at left-back to give Luke Shaw a breather – particularly given the latter is injury-prone.
In midfield, Fred is all but assured of a start, while Scott McTominay struggled against Aston Villa – and that means Nemanja Matic could come in. It would be a huge shock if Fernandes didn’t play, so that should complete the midfield trio, with Paul Pogba – who impressed versus Villa – in contention to play in a more advanced role on the left as he did last time out.
With Edinson Cavani suspended, the only other likely consideration would be whether Mason Greenwood gets a start – but with a lack of forward options on the bench, Solskjaer may save the youngster as an impact substitute.
Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo remain sidelined by injury, though neither would have started regardless.
Manchester United predicted XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Telles; Matic, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial
Man United squad from: De Gea, Henderson, Grant, Wan-Bissaka, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Mengi, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Telles, Williams, McTominay, Fred, Matic, Van De Beek, Pogba, James, Pellistri, Fernandes, Lingard, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial, Ighalo.