Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag welcomes back two warriors for Barcelona
Man Utd defender Varane ready for tough challenge against Barcelona
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Manchester United have, as expected, named Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez in their matchday squad for tonight’s match with Barcelona. And with the Red Devils hoping to win the Europa League, they’ll need everybody operating at the peak of their powers. Victory will keep their hopes of a historic quadruple alive, with Erik ten Hag’s side currently competing on four fronts.
Casemiro was serving a suspension on Sunday as United beat Leicester 3-0 in their Premier League clash, with a brace from Marcus Rashford and a strike from Jadon Sancho giving them all three points.
But the Brazil international is back this evening, with the former Real Madrid star facing a big night ahead.
Barcelona have been left weakened ahead of the showdown, with Pedri injured and Gavi banned.
But they’ll have Sergio Busquets at their disposal and, though the Spain international isn’t the player he once was, he remains a world-class operator.
Casemiro knows all about Busquets, of course, with the pair regularly going up against each other over in La Liga.
And United will be hoping their veteran is at his best to ensure his Barcelona counterpart has a quiet night at the office.
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The return of Martinez for European selection is a boost for Ten Hag, too.
Many, including former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher, were quick to write off the Argentina international earlier in the season.
Martinez experienced a difficult start to life at the club, struggling to cope in defeats to the likes of Brighton and Brentford.
Yet he’s since bounced back to become one of the first names on Ten Hag’s team sheet.
Martinez was absent last week as United drew 2-2 with Barcelona in the Europa League, on a stirring night of action at the Nou Camp.
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With the player missing out, Luke Shaw was forced to play out of position instead.
But Martinez will now be charged with the task of keeping Robert Lewandowski quiet, which will certainly be no easy feat.
United have seen both Martinez and Casemiro defy their critics to establish themselves as warriors at Old Trafford.
And their returns, from European and domestic suspensions respectively, will give the rest of their team-mates a lift.
Old Trafford is set to be a cauldron of noise before kick-off, especially after United agreed to a request from their supporters.
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Fans have been calling on the club to turn off the music prior to the game so they can create a huge atmosphere within the ground.
And United have now agreed to that decision as they look to keep their hopes of a historic quadruple alive.
Twitter user @PlanetFaz has listed the rest of the United squad.
Goalkeepers David De Gea and Jack Butland make the cut, with the former expected to start between the sticks.
In defence, United have Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot, Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire as options – as well as Martinez.
Joining Casemiro in the squad are the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcel Sabitzer, Fred, Facundo Pellistri, Alejandro Garnacho and Scott McTominay.
And, up top, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Kobbie Mainoo, Wout Weghorst, Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri are all at Ten Hag’s disposal.
Speaking ahead of the game, meanwhile, Fernandes has called on United fans to play their part at Old Trafford.
“For me, the key moment of this season is the Liverpool game,” he said.
“I think that is the main moment for us, because we come from two really bad results [against Brighton and Brentford].
“And then we got that win. The stadium was once again on fire; it was an unbelievable atmosphere that the fans created for us.”
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