With only 24 hours to go before Jose Mourinho makes his Premier League bow at Old Trafford, we take a look at how Manchester United could potentially line up against Southampton.
Going into the game, the Reds are in a fine run of form. Victory over Leicester City in the Community Shield, followed by a 3-1 away win at Bournemouth on the opening day has seen Mourinho’s men make an impressive start to the season, whilst for the visitors they began their new Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Watford at St Mary’s.
We believe Mourinho will likely to adopt a 4-3-3 formation against the Saints on Friday night at Old Trafford, something of which he has yet to do thus far in his reign.
In between the sticks it will be unquestionably David De Gea. With Darmian seemingly not in the Portuguese plans, Antonio Valencia is likely to continue at right-back. The Ecuadorian has been in fantastic form so far and Mourinho will be hoping that he continues to impress against the Saints. In the centre of United’s defence, new signing Eric Bailly looks set to partner Dutch defender Daley Blind with Chris Smalling expected to be on the bench. At left-back Luke Shaw will continue to deputise.
However, it will be the midfield area were all the focus will be on, as Paul Pogba waits in the wings to make his second united debut. If chosen to start, it is increasingly likely that Mourinho will play Pogba directly in the centre of United’s midfield with either Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini playing alongside him in a midfield trio.
Playing Pogba directly in the centre of midfield will allow the 23-year-old to dictate play throughout the game, whilst the two holding midfielders can protect the back four. He will be given the freedom of the pitch by Jose, and in doing so we will be able to get the best out of our world record signing.
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan also in line to make his Old Trafford debut, Mourinho could well field the Armenian skipper on the right hand side of a front three, with Anthony Martial expected to start on the left hand side and Zlatan Ibrahimovic continuing to lead United’s attack.
The substitutes bench is likely to include the likes of Sergio Romero, Chris Smalling. Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Young, and Darmian all likely to miss out completely.