Jose Mourinho will take charge of his first Premier League game as Manchester United manager this Sunday, with the Portuguese’s side beginning their campaign away to AFC Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon. Last weekend saw United deliver an unconvincing but functional performance to beat Leicester City at Wembley and win the Community Shield, and changes will likely be made as a result. Here’s how we think United will line up this weekend:
David de Gea will of course retain his place in goal, and the back four will likely stay the same. Eric Bailly impressed alongside Daley Blind, and with Chris Smalling short of match practice and Phil Jones not favoured, the duo will likely reprise their partnership. Mourinho’s defence struggled to deal with Leciester’s counter attack last weekend, but only conceded after an awful error by Marouane Fellaini, who set up Jamie Vardy for a second half equaliser with a short pass to De Gea.
Fellaini will likely be the midfield casualty as a result, and whilst the signing of Paul Pogba has captured the imaginations and attention of reds worldwide, his countryman Morgan Schneiderlin should take his place whilst Pogba will likely brought on as a substitute having only just started training again. Mourinho could easily swap both and place Ander Herrera alongside the Frenchman instead, but seems keen on utilising the experience of Michael Carrick, too.
In attack, expect little change. Jesse Lingard was happy to suggest to BT Sport that the ankle injury sustained in the second half at Wembley wasn’t serious, and given his wonderful solo goal at the weekend, Mourinho is likely to stick with him on the right side of attack. Anthony Martial had a quiet afternoon, with last season’s outstanding outfield performer in a red shirt still finding his fitness and sharpness having returned to training late after international duty, but he should retain his place.
Up front, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are almost certain starters, despite a pronounced lack of intuitivness between the two this past weekend. Ibrahimovic proved his quality once again with his late header from Antonio Valencia’s cross having been on the periphery of the game for most of the afternoon, and whilst Rooney’s performances in pre-season, and indeed for some time have raised deep concerns that the United captain should not be trusted with such a pivotal role each week, it’s still to early to see Mourinho dropping such an iconic figure this early into his management. Although, if performances don’t improve, he may be forced to.
Tell us what you think of this line-up in the comments. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know!