Manchester United may not host Arsenal at Old Trafford for another nine days, but that hasn’t stopped people anticipating the Premier League clash. Already this week, we’ve heard news of potential injuries to Alexis Sanchez and Marouane Fellaini, whilst United know they will have to cope without Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Saturday lunchtime clash. The Swede picked up a booking in last Sunday’s 1-3 win over Swansea City, and his timing couldn’t have been worse, considering that he finally broke his goal duck with a brace at the Liberty Stadium.
With Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia likely still out until December, Jose Mourinho will again need to work around personnel issues in his defence. With that in mind, here’s how we think the Portuguese should line-up his side against the Gunners:
Perhaps the only surprise in goal this season is that Sergio Romero hasn’t been seen more often, especially in the Europa League. The Argentine has been selected for one of four games in Group A, with David De Gea often playing three times a week. The Spaniard will, barring an unfortunate injury whilst on international duty with his country, of course start.
Defence is a little trickier to call. Given how Mourinho plumped for Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young for the left and right back slots, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them retain those roles, especially after the former Chelsea boss’ public criticism of Luke Shaw. In the heart of defence, it’s unlikely we’ll see Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones as we did against Swansea, and, barring Chris Smalling recovering from the injury that kept him out of the England squad, he and Daley Blind should reprise their partnership.
Michael Carrick hasn’t seen much Premier League action at all this season, but was particularly important when called upon against Swansea, and his ability to dictate play from a holding role in midfield gave Paul Pogba more licence to roam. Ander Herrera’s suspension was served against Swansea, and the combative Spaniard, a favourite of Mourinho’s should come straight back into the side.
Up front, Wayne Rooney will almost certainly come back into the side in Ibrahimovic’s place. He set up both of the Swede’s goals on Sunday, and scored with an excellent strike against Fenerbahce three days before, making the decision to recall him a little easier. He should be flanked by Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata, with the former Chelsea player starting to become a key part of Mourinho’s plans.
Let us know what you think of this starting XI in the comments below!