Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea was arguably the worst moment that Jose Mourinho has had during his time in charge at Old Trafford. Manchester United were gutless, timid and horrifically error-prone during their performance at Stamford Bridge, and can count themselves very lucky that Manchester City weren’t able to extend the gap between the two clubs to eight points having only drawn with Southmapton prior to this game.
Yet United have no time to feel sorry for themselves, as another big game is just days away as City travel over to Old Trafford for their fourth round EFL Cup meeting. Given that Mourinho’s side have only registered a single goal in games against City, Liverpool and Chelsea this year, a response will be demanded from the club’s fans after seeing so many sub-standard performances against their rivals. Of course, with Burnley due in Manchester this Saturday in the Premier League, Mourinho will need to manage his team carefully, and with that in mind, here’s how we think he should set his side out on Wednesday.
It’s unlikely that Sergio Romero will be trusted to start such a big game, so David De Gea will likely remain in goal. Despite not knowing the extent of Eric Bailly’s injury, he is certainly out for the foreseeable future, so Mourinho will likely turn to Daley Blind and Chris Smalling in the centre of defence. Luke Shaw wasn’t on the bench this past weekend, but is clearly a more capable and adept left back than Marcos Rojo, who came into the side when Bailly was taken off on Sunday. Here’s hoping Mourinho feels the same. The only other change is Antonio Valencia being replaced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah, with the thinking being that the young Dutchman needs as many minutes and Mourinho as many options in defence as possible if Bailly is out for a long period as expected.
Midfield should see a total overhaul after Sunday, bar Ander Herrera. Michael Carrick, who impressed against Fenerbahce should come back into the side alongside him. The front four should be completely changed, given how they all struggled against Chelsea, with Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay replacing Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford on the flanks. Juan Mata, who came off the bench on Sunday should replace the ineffective Pogba for this game at least, with Wayne Rooney taking over from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has had a wretched few weeks in a United shirt and should be given the opportunity to end his run of poor form against Burnley next weekend instead.
What do you think of this starting XI? Let us know in the comments below!