Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is facing a dilemma with regards to his team selection for the FA Cup finals against Crystal Palace on Saturday (22 May). Most of the team have picked themselves with recent performances, but the return of Marouane Fellaini from a three-game ban has put the manager in a conundrum with regards to his place in the team.
The Belgium international served a three-game ban for elbowing Robert Huth during the Red Devils' 1-1 draw against Leicester City in the Premier League, and is now pushing for a return to the first-team. Van Gaal, however, will have to leave out Jesse Lingard, if Fellaini is included in the starting XI, and the England U21 international has been a regular starter for United in recent months.
Both players offer different options to the manager, where Lingard offers speed and mobility in the final third, Fellaini offers defensive stability and an offensive threat during set-pieces, which has been somewhat of an Achilles heel for United this campaign. Van Gaal had pinpointed the Belgian's benefits ahead of their game against West Ham United, which he missed through suspension and they lost 3-2 with two of the goals coming via set-piece situations.
Palace are strong in set plays with Damian Delaney and Scott Dann having combined eight times to score goals from dead ball situations this season, while the Red Devils have conceded 21 times from similar situations. This could prompt the former Bayern Munich manager to opt for Fellaini ahead of Lingard when they line up at Wembley on Saturday.
The former Everton midfielder is aware that he could be left out of the team by the manager, as there are a number of players vying for a place in the starting XI. However, he is keen to win a trophy, as it could be his final season with the club after struggling to break into the first-team on a consistent basis.
"Everyone wants to play in the final. At a club like United you have a lot of competition, a lot of players who want to play in the final. In the end, the manager decides and I hope we can win. I want to win something here," Fellaini said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"A final is a different game. It's 50/50. I think it will be tough. We beat them at home in the league but it will be completely different," he added.