Starting XI Prediction: Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Bailly to come right back in?

Manchester United will play Hull City, again, this time at home in a premier league game. Lat time these two teams came together, United put on one of the most disappointing displays of this season. That was in the EFL Cup Semi Final and away from home. Things are different this time, United will have their tails up, playing with the support of their home fans and in the league where they have everything to play for.

With United resting majority of their first choice players against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup game, one can expect Jose Mourinho to play a strong starting eleven. Add to that the return of Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, and the defense line suddenly looks even better than it has been in the past several games. Liverpool will play Chelsea before the United game, whatever the result, United will have a chance to gain some points on their rivals. With Chelsea having a hand on the title already, a Liverpool loss is what would be the most beneficial for United. But in any case, it only amplifies the significance of this game for United. A win here and they can be potentially within a distance of a point from their old rivals. Let’s have a look at what starting eleven Mourinho might go with

Starting XI Prediction (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper – David De Gea

Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira both had their day out against Wigan Athletic but Mourinho will go for his first choice number one in De Gea. With almost a week to rest, the Spaniard must be raring to get back on the field.

Back Four – Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcus Rojo, Luke Shaw

Valencia was also one of the beneficiaries of the rotation on the weekend and will most probably make his way back in the starting eleven for this league game. Another face which the fans would be happy to see would be Bailly. With injury interrupting his excellent start to the season, Bailly has not got a decent chance to shine as much as he did at the start of the season. But with Ivory Coast crashing out of the AFCON this early means Bailly can get back and try to put in similar performance which helped him become an instant fan favorite. Shaw, on the other hand, played the whole of 90 minutes after quite a long hiatus and he grew in to his performances. It was not perfect but he showed a few glimpses here and there of what he brings. Also, there are not many left backs who can attack well right now at the club. Another shout might be Ashley Young but let’s see if and where Mourinho uses him.

Central Midfield – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba

Carrick has been disappointing in his last couple of appearances and hence was given a much-needed break. Hopefully, with that rest, the quality that one associates with Carrick will be back too. He not only keeps the defense line shielded from any danger but also gives Pogba the confidence for pushing forward. This is by far United’s best midfield and the key for it to click is Carrick.

Front Three – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial

Both Mkhitaryan and Martial had a good outing against Wigan and should start this game too. From what Mourinho said in his last presser, that should certainly be the case. However, Wayne Rooney might miss out with Ibrahimovic coming back to the squad. The Swede was also rested over the weekend and must be fresh and ready to go again.

United have fizzled out a little in the past 3-4 games, barring the Wigan one, and need to pick themselves up soon. With the top four playing each other over the next few weeks, there seems to be a certain opportunity to make some ground on all these top four rivals. Hopefully United manage to avenge the loss in the last game and come out of the game with all three points.

Written by Chinmay Padhye


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