Fergie to drop Rafael for Manchester derby after horror show against Everton
10:46 GMT, 25 April 2012
Manchester United defender Rafael is set to be dropped for the do-or-die derby fixture at Manchester City on Monday night after his nightmare performance against Everton.
United let a two-goal lead slip late on to draw 4-4 with the Toffees at the weekend, meaning that a City win at the Etihad Stadium would send them top of the Premier League on goal difference with just two games to play.
Bad day at the office: Rafael (left) reacts as Pienaar celebrates Everton's equaliser
Sir Alex Ferguson was understood to be toying with the idea of replacing Rafael with Chris Smalling in the starting line-up against Everton, and he was left ruing the decision not to as the Brazilian full-back was beaten in the air by Nikica Jelavic for the first goal, and then he failed to track the run of Steven Pienaar for the equaliser.
Smalling will be the player to replace Rafael on Monday. At 6ft 4in his extra height will help against a tall and powerful City side, and despite being a centre back by trade, he has often performed at right-back in his career.
Jonny Evans will continue to partner Rio Ferdinand at the back while Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck will start up front.