After a run of three consecutive defeats at the hands of Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford, Saturday’s victory over Leicester City was important for Manchester United for several reasons. First, it snapped a poor run of results that had seen the club’s fanbase questioning what they could expect from their club this season, and secondly, it featured a stirring, stunning period of attacking football from United the likes of which Old Trafford hasn’t seen in years.
It was also notable because it was the first time that Jose Mourinho had seen fit to drop Wayne Rooney since taking over the reins at United in May. The club captain offered up an utterly abject performance against the Hornets the previous weekend, and United looked a far more capable unit without him in the starting XI. But with Stoke City visiting Old Trafford this Sunday before the international break, Mourinho has several decisions to make regarding who should be rested, and who will be utilised for Thursday night’s Europa League meeting with Zorya Luhansk.
Here’s what we’d like to see:
Despite United’s loss to Feyenoord in the opening game of Group A, there’s every chance that Mourinho will draft in several of his squad’s less-utilised members in order to make up his team on Thursday night. Don’t be surprised to see Sergio Romero start in goal with David de Gea likely to be rested ahead of Stoke and international duty with Spain.
It’s all change in every area of the pitch; Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian come into the fold at left and right back, whilst Eric Bailly, who was rested against Northampton Town last week will likely be asked to start given that Daley Blind and Chris Smalling were both used in that third round EFL Cup tie. Timothy Fosu-Mensah will likely earn another start, too.
The selected midfield is limited, but with all of Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Morgan Schneiderlin needing game time, expect at least two of this trio to start with the likes of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata rested with Sunday in mind.
Up front, the burden of United’s attack will be on the flanks. Memphis Depay needs a big display, as does Wayne Rooney in order to strengthen their credentials for a place in Mourinho’s main XI. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been short of match practice and fitness due to injury and a slow adjustment to life at Old Trafford, so the Armenian should be given a start on the right of attack in order to ease him back into the first team picture.
What do you think? Do you agree with this line-up, or disagree? Let us know in the comments below!