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How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Stoke City

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How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Stoke City
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A Capital One Cup quarter-final is a big match for David Moyes and Manchester United.

But seeing as they sit eighth in the Premier League table, seven points off the Champions League places, West Ham at home on Saturday is an even bigger one.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News ahead of Wednesday's League Cup tie with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, Moyes claimed it was a trophy he wanted to win. But with the game against West Ham in the back of his mind, he hinted that he would make changes:

All cup competitions are important to Manchester United and we will do everything we can to try to remain in the cup.

You want to win any competition you are in. Folk used to say why are you weakening teams and why are you doing this but every manager I know wants to win every competition they are in. 

There might be some priorities that are more important than others but certainly at this football club, and any I have been involved in, I have only tried to win every trophy I have been in. I will do everything I can to do this one.

And, as again reported by The Manchester Evening News, Moyes is confident that anyone he selects can do the job:

We have a squad of players who I believe can all play in any game, so I'll look at them and see who I think is ready. 

We have a lot of games coming up and we need to use that squad, so I'll look at this game and see who is best suited. But I think we have fielded a strong side in every game we have played.

There were a few I expected to play (against Aston Villa) but got injured on Saturday before we travelled down. There is nothing fresh and hopefully I won’t find anything fresh.

Moyes set a precedent of fielding strong teams in the Capital One Cup in earlier rounds against Liverpool and Norwich. First-team regulars David De Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Shinji Kagawa, Adnan Januzaj and Wayne Rooney have all started in the League Cup this season.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, the third and fourth rounds were usually reserved for youth team hopefuls and squad players. 

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Moyes will be aware that the Capital One Cup represents a chance to get his first trophy under his belt, but he won't want it to come at a cost of three points on Saturday.

Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Darren Fletcher, Alexander Buttner and Ferdinand, all on the bench against Aston Villa, are in line to start against Stoke. So too are Javier Hernandez, Nani, Anderson and Kagawa, should they recover from injury in time.

With Robin van Persie out for a month with a thigh injury, Moyes can't risk losing Rooney as well, so the England striker could start on the bench, while Danny Welbeck could start after scoring twice at Villa Park.

As United head into a run of five games in 15 days over Christmas and New Year, Moyes faces a difficult balancing act. A trophy would add some welcome gloss to his first season in charge, but his priority is the league.

Injuries to key players such as van Persie and Michael Carrick have made his job more difficult, and he won't want any more adversity. His team selection at the Britannia Stadium is likely to reflect that.

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