Starting XI Prediction: Ander Herrera to captain the young United team?

Here we are, in the last game week of the Premier League, of the season which spiraled down in a rather unimpressive fashion. There were so many expectations when the season started, under the new manager with a new looking team. However, it seems that this team has underachieved a lot this season and only if they would have been a little more clinical they would now definitely be part of the top four. But that’s what this season has been, a season of if’s and but’s, would’s and could’s. But in spite of such disappointing league result, this team has something significant to fight for. The Europa League final is to be played in only three days time from this game and hence would affect the starting XI for this game a lot.

Jose Mourinho had declared much in advance that if such a situation arises he will field a lot of youngsters in his team, giving the key players much-needed rest. He is still sticking to his word and has named the individuals that he feels might get a look in for the game.

“You will have the two goalkeepers, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara. We will have Demi Mitchell, Scott McTominay, Josh Harrop, Matty Willock, Angel Gomes and Zachary Dearnley. I think that’s it. Plus Tim Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe, so lots of them.”

One thing that this has certainly done is spark the interest and excitement in the hearts of all United fans for whom this was just another inconsequential game. With so many youngsters to choose from, who would actually be a part of the starting XI.

Starting XI Prediction (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper – Joel Pereira

The youngster who according to Mourinho will be the best Portuguese keeper in this generation has not got a lot of game time in the middle. But it is almost certain that he will in this game. With Sergio Romero excelling in the last game, the manager would want to rest him well for the final and also keep the confidence that he got from that game intact.

Back Four – Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Demetri Mitchell

This back line is as young as it gets with one debut and two reserve players amongst them. With Eric Bailly being the only senior defender in that back line, it will be interesting to watch how the newly promoted players cope up with the senior level football. Fosu-Mensah has obviously been involved int he first team, but not a lot. This would be a good opportunity for him to end the league season on a high and try to get selected for the final.

Central Midfield  – Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Ander Herrera

Mourinho was sure that he will want Pogba to play as he has not had a lot of match practice in the last week or so. But he might also be joined by Herrera in the midfield just to give them both some time to play with each other in a competitive game before the final. The manager did say that he will start a few first team players to give them some match practice and Herrera might be the one to start. McTominay might finally get his much-anticipated start and it would be exciting for the youngster to perform in the midfield that has the most expensive player and also the latest recipient of the Sir Matt Busby Player of the year award.

Forward – Zachary Dearnley, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard

This might be a little interesting, with there being a chance for Dearnley to start the game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford might make a substitute appearance in the second half to get the feel of the game before the final. Martial might still start as the striker with Mourinho ruling out Wayne Rooney from starting.

This game is only made interesting by the fact that the fans will get to see some of the youngsters and gauge how well can they adjust to tougher surroundings than the reserves game. It is a shame that the curtains are brought down on the season in such unceremonious fashion but one should try to find the silver lining in everything, the one here being the chance to win a trophy that has eluded United’s trophy cabinet for so long.

Written by Chinmay Padhye


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