Bold is beautiful

"Although much of the side pretty much selects itself, there are clearly some key decisions to be made, not least which formation to field. There's clearly a cautious mood because a draw would collect a terrific point in the context of the title race but conversely, the forwards proved against Everton that they are in exciting, top-class form."

- Adam Marshall,

30/04/2012 10:14, Report by Adam Marshall
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Blog: Selection headache

ones deployed in the cup tie. Let's not forget, the Reds were already a goal to the good through Rooney when Vincent Kompany was sent off and the gameplan was working. So I'd drop Rooney slightly deeper again and keep Welbeck up front - as we did in January.

Providing Jonny Evans is fit, he should line up alongside Rio Ferdinand with captain Patrice Evra on the left and David De Gea in goal. The right-back slot has been the subject of much debate but I'd stick with Rafael, who was playing well before being criticised for his performance against Everton. The Brazilian can handle City's slippery customers although Chris Smalling has also performed superbly against Roberto Mancini's side in the past and a case could be made for Phil Jones too.

I've heard some people forward Antonio Valencia as a candidate for right-back as well but he hasn't played there for a while and would miss out from my team, despite his outstanding form. Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes would form the central midfield and I'd bolster the area by bringing in Giggs. The veteran knows more than anybody about this fixture and can assist in the engine room, with Rooney also helping out in the key area. Park and Cleverley are alternatives but Giggsy could have been rested with this clash in mind over the past couple of weeks and I'd ask him to pitch in centrally whilst trying to add width on the left where possible.

If I'm leaving Valencia on the bench, where he would be able to make some impact as a substitute, it's because Nani seems to have the measure of City's defenders and has shown in the last couple of weeks he's back in top form. The Portuguese winger is usually asked to make things happen and stamp his influence on the game, which he can do on either flank. I'd play him on the right and there would need to be responsibility in helping Rafael out, something which could earn Valencia the nod when the manager makes his choices. I haven't even mentioned Ashley Young or Javier Hernandez, which illustrates the wealth of options available.

So my side would be: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney; Welbeck.

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