There is simply no way that you can expect players to be anything close to fresh if they start both games.
Yes, they are professional footballers. But they are also human beings. By all means they could play in both games, but there’s no way they can be fresh and sharp for both.
You can bet your life savings that Man City will be making vast changes for their own game on Boxing Day and Carlo will surely try to make as many as he possibly can against the Blades.
But with numbers already tight, who can he bring in?
These projected line-ups can be conflicting to write sometimes. I’m trying to guess what team Carlo will pick, rather than what I would like.
Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph and Allan will all definitely miss this game through injury, while it seems unlikely James Rodriguez will be ready for this one too.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin is back in training, but Carlo has already said that he is going to be extremely cautious in terms of easing him back into the side after two horrible long-term injuries. Maybe there’s an outside chance he could make the bench for this one, though.
After taking a considerable bash to the head against United, concussion may be a problem for Richarlison here, too, although he will surely make the squad if his injury isn’t as bad as it first seemed.
Tactics and Formation
4-2-3-1 seems like the most likely option again, but wouldn’t put it past Carlo to try out a new system considering the amount of changes he’ll likely have to make.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 8/10
Will probably start after missing out against United
Jonjoe Kenny – 7/10
Should be a rare start for Kenny will Everton’s options at the back extremely limited.
Niels Nkounkou – 6/10
Unless Carlo is expecting Ben Godfrey to play relentlessly, Nkounkou may get another chance here.
Mason Holgate - 9/10
Probably the only player I can say will play with any certainly after he also missed out against United.
Michael Keane – 8/10
Unless Carlo feels confident in entrusting young Jarrod Branthwaite at the back, Michael Keane will likely be asked to go without a break.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Considering the amount of ground he covers every week, this is another player that would ideally be rested at Bramall Lane, but the Blues simply don’t have options to replace him with Allan and Delph both injured. That is unless Carlo springs a massive surprise and promotes Baningime or young Tyler Onyango from the under-23s.
Tom Davies – 7/10
Anthony Gordon – 8/10
Iwobi needs a break and Gordon definitely needs his first start of the season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8/10
Similarly to Doucoure, Sig needs a break, but there’s just not many real options to replace him.
Bernard – 8/10
Cenk Tosun – 6/10
Many the most controversial of the lot, but there’s no point burning DCL out for City. Could be Tosun’s last chance to prove he can offer something to the club.
Jonas Lössl – Carlo seems to prefer picking two keepers rather than adding a young player to the bench for some bizarre reason.
Jarrod Branthwaite – May be preferred to Yerry Mina considering the Colombian’s injury record.
Ellis Simms – May get an opportunity from the bench if Richarlison isn’t declared fit.