Starting XI Prediction: A Mourinho masterclass more than necessary ahead of trip to The Bridge

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Three victories in the last three games suddenly change the backdrop at Old Trafford and it couldn’t have been timed any better. Stamford Bridge has been a rather unhappy hunting ground in years gone by for Manchester United, but with so much riding on it the manager has to get things right from the off. With Romelu Lukaku desperate for a goal, Anthony Martial with a point to prove and Jose Mourinho returning to his former employers it promises to be quite the affair.

Starting XI and Formation Prediction (5-2-2-1):

It really is a no-brainer, arguably the best in the world is the first name on the team sheet week in, week out. Back at the ground where he made one of his finest saves of his career, how the Spaniard performs could be pivotal in deciding where the points go home full time. He’s normally in the mood for the spectacular, but his manager needs that more than ever Sunday.

Back Five: Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Ashely Young

Characteristic of Mourinho away at the bigger sides, a back five on Sunday afternoon could almost be considered an absolute guarantee. Antonio Valencia picks himself as the former Wigan man has gone from strength to strength at the back. Phil Jones has been a revelation this season as he looks to rejuvenate his injury-plagued career, he is fast showing the potential he came to Old Trafford with. Bailly is the rock at the back and showed how much he means to United with his absence. Smalling is the only option fit and available that can make it a three, who has relevant experience. And with a recall to the England fold, not choosing a confident and performing Ashley Young would be foolish at the least.

Central Midfield: Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic 

I have my concerns about playing Herrera and Matic together as some of the worst football seen this season has happened with the pair in the engine room. As Paul Pogba isn’t quite fit yet, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini injured too, and Scott McTominay a way off being trusted with such a role then there isn’t any other alternative without a square peg in a round hole. With any luck, Herrera recalls his form of old and Matic continues to run the show.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata

As Mourinho seems to be entirely adverse to playing both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford together and this is the prediction and not desired, I foresee the newly crowned Player of the Month Anthony Martial missing out in spite of an excellent performance midweek. Marcus Rashford is just too good to leave out of the starting line-up, and Juan Mata has been starved of game time but will certainly offer more than Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Still, if it were me I would have Martial and Rashford.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku 

Currently, in something of a funk, Lukaku returning to Stamford Bridge could be the perfect catalyst for him to find his scoring boots once more. His previous record forgotten, and the added spice of returning and returning with United will give him the perfect platform to dazzle. It worked against Everton, but can the man mountain be the match winner again for Mourinho? My bets are yes.

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