XI Prediction: Manchester derby options show Manchester United need new players

After two relatively successful friendly matches against MLS opposition, Manchester United will no commence the International Champions Cup with the first ever overseas Manchester Derby. Pitted against Pep Guardiola’s City, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will have the opportunity to experiment with tactics against familiar opposition and examine potential setups for next season. Here’s how United could line up.

United looks set to retain the 4-3-3 formation that was deployed against Real Salt Lake. United looked better defensively with four at the back, though questions can be asked of the forward line given that Antonio Valencia’s sending off left United with only Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford trying to create scoring opportunities.

The formation shows United’s transfer needs, as, heading into the Derby, Andreas Pereira could be pushed out wide in the second half after Juan Mata’s injury. Lingard is already playing wide despite not being a winger, and this change could force Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay into the main midfield rotation.

Starting XI Prediction (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

Missing the match against Real Salt Lake due to Mourinho’s goalkeeper rotation, David de Gea is set to start against Manchester City with Sergio Romero taking over in the second half. Amid links to Real Madrid, de Gea will be eager to show United fans he’s still the man for the job.

Defenders: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind

United could benefit from using a rotational approach against Manchester City that involved the majority of a first and second team, as this will encourage players to fight for their places in the side. Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly are guaranteed starters next season, with Victor Lindelof looking likely to start the season at centre-back. Matteo Darmian is likely the starting left-back heading into the season, but he picked up a small knock and Mourinho should rest him for Daley Blind. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Demetri Mitchell are favourites to take over in the second half based on performance in the previous friendly.

Midfielders: Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba

Ander Herrera was heavily involved in United’s attack against LA Galaxy, and defence against Real Salt Lake when the attack petered out. Paul Pogba is a special talent and can perform the spectacular, and Michael Carrick could start in midfield again as Andreas Pereira is moved out wide due to Juan Mata’s injury. That leaves Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay, and Marouane Fellaini to start the second half.

Forwards: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has, for the most part, been on fire so far this pre-season, and he seems set to start the first match with Romelu Lukaku, who could commence massive twitter flames with a few goals against Manchester City. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been close in terms of quality during pre-season thus far, but Martial should get the nod to allow Rashford to play up top next season. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could flank Rashford in a youthful second half, but considering neither are wingers in this 4-3-3 system, United could use some strengthening in wide positions to five four options out wide when Mata is fit.

Written by Aaron Moniz


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