How Manchester United could look in a 4-3-3 formation against Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League

Manchester United face Sevilla in the round of 16 first leg of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening. This is the first time since the 2013/14 season that United have reached the knockout stages of the elite European competition and it will be Jose Mourinho’s task to ensure they reach the last eight of the competition this season, which will be seen positively in terms of the club seeking to reach the dizzy heights of glory which was served up by Sir Alex Ferguson during his near-27 year reign at the Theatre of Dreams. In their last six matches, in all competitions, United have won four and lost twice – meaning they will need to continue fighting to earn the plaudits this season.

Starting XI Formation and Prediction: Mourinho to field a 4-3-3 formation with Paul Pogba playing in his favoured role?

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one was rested in the Emirates FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town with Sergio Romero coming in for the United shot-stopper. Mourinho confirmed that De Gea was the only player rested from that match with the club suffering many injuries in the run-up to the game. De Gea is the player who could be the difference between United winning and losing in his native Spain. Being back in the Champions League is where De Gea will want to be and it will also be something he will want to win with the Old Trafford club.

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Back Four: Antonio Valencia, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has not been the best recently with the comedy duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones doing what they do best – not performing. Smalling did play much better in the victory over Huddersfield at the weekend, but he was not all that convincing. Now that Bailly is back, it will be a welcome addition. With Marcos Rojo out of action due to injury, having both Lindelof and Bailly involved could be a blessing. Lindelof played at the weekend, but he has not played a lot recently. The defensive duo could be flanked by Valencia and Shaw, which is my first-choice fullback pairing.

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Three-Man Midfield: Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba

The midfield has been short of players recently with Marouane Fellaini, Pogba and Herrera all out of action, the Belgian for the foreseeable future. With Herrera and Pogba seemingly back in the squad for this important match, it would be fitting that alongside Carrick, the trio form a three-man midfield with Pogba able to play a more advanced role, which is where he excelled at stages this season. United need to control the midfield which will leave one less attacking player but with the three attackers I have chosen here, there should be enough to contend with Sevilla and possibly return to Manchester with multiple away goals and a foot in the door for the next round.

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Forward Three: Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial

United have some great attacking players. Martial must play on the left as it is his favoured position. Having Sanchez on the left against Huddersfield left Shaw exposed as the Chilean seldom tracked back to help him. In time, that will change, which means United will need to play the strongest players in their strongest positions. Playing Sanchez on the right is not his favoured role, but he could drift into a more central position. Valencia, playing as the right-back will not need as much support as Shaw would on the left, meaning the Ecuadorian would be fine if the Chilean drifted into a central role, where he could help United drive for victory.

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