Europa League is back tonight, and we will be playing Turkish giants Fenerbahce at Ülker Stadium. We are currently second in our group with six points. Feyenoord have the same number of points, but they occupy the top spot due to better head-to-head record.
Fenerbahce sit in the third place with four points, and hence it’s crucial that we don’t suffer a defeat tonight.
We defeated the Turkish side 4-1 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, but playing in Turkey is altogether a different ball game. Turkish football fans are famous are famous for creating an intimidating atmosphere at home turf, and we will need to make sure that we don’t succumb to pressure tonight.
Manager Jose Mourinho will have one eye on Sunday’s trip to Swansea, but I firmly believe that we need to take tonight’s game seriously.
The confidence in the squad is already low, and another negative result will only make it more difficult for us. Meanwhile, a positive result can work as a springboard for the weeks ahead.
Phil Jones and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are part of the squad that has travelled to Turkey. Jones hasn’t featured at all this season while Mkhitaryan is due another opportunity in the starting eleven.
Antonio Valencia (ruptured arm) and Eric Bailly (knee) will miss the game with injuries. Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay have also not travelled with the squad.
Here’s how I think we will line up tonight:
David de Gea has been our best player for a few years now, and he has his spot nailed down in the starting eleven.
I am backing Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw to start in the full-back positions. Both players will have points to prove to Mourinho on the night.
Daley Blind and Marcus Rojo will form the centre-back partnership.
Ander Herrera has been impressive this season, and he will keep his position in the central midfield. Paul Pogba, who scored a brace in the 4-1 win, will partner the Spaniard in the central midfield.
I am backing Wayne Rooney to get a start in the number ten role tonight.
I am hoping to see summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the starting eleven tonight. He should start on the right side of the front three. I am backing Anthony Martial to occupy the opposite flank.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in poor form recently and faces stiff competition for his striker role from Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney.
However, I think Mourinho will stick with the Swedish striker for tonight.