Starting XI Prediction: Mourinho to select a strong side to face Burton with Rashford leading the line?


Manchester United take on Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the defence of the EFL Cup in which they beat Southampton to lift at Wembley in February. United have had a great start to the season, winning five out of six matches, drawing the other, scoring 19 goals in all competitions, 16 of those being in the Premier League alone, almost 30% of the final goal tally in the league last season. Romelu Lukaku has scored seven goals in seven matches, counting the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid, which United lost but Lukaku scored his first competitive goal for his new club. United are in great form and depending on the squad to face the Championship side, that could well continue with more goals being scored at the Theatre of Dreams, of which United are unbeaten at this season and long may that continue.

Jose Mourinho’s side started the season with many injured players; just Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic left to recover, both will be unlikely to play for the club until the New Year, but with Ibrahimovic seemingly pushing his fitness to the limits, there is a chance he could be back before the Christmas period, which would be good for United and Mourinho, providing he is actually fit enough and will not be taking a huge risk, which could cost him at United for a second time. Ashley Young returned to action in the last few weeks with Luke Shaw playing a few matches for the U23’s and likely to be involved in the first team soon, possible against Burton which would be a good match to test his fitness.

Starting XI Prediction (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper did so well last season in the UEFA Europa League and aside of pre-season, is yet to play a single match this season. David De Gea is in great form, but a rest ahead of the Premier League clash with Southampton at the weekend will be good for him, as good as giving Romero a run out against the Championship side. Romero was tested in Europa last season, but needs more domestic action, which will give him more confidence, not that he needs it and see him be that perfect understudy. Joel Pereira, United’s third choice goalkeeper is a shout also, but Mourinho will be looking to get this match in the back early doors, which could see Pereira make a cameo later in the match.

Back Four: Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

United’s defence have done well this season, playing seven competitive matches; one in the UEFA Super Cup, five in the Premier League and one in the UEFA Champions League. In those matches, United have conceded four goals, two against Real Madrid in the Super Cup and two against Stoke City, the only draw of the new Premier League season. Antonio Valencia was rested during the week last week in the Champions League, returning to action against Everton at Old Trafford in the league, scoring that sublime goal inside four minutes. Axel Tuanzebe could play at right-back against Burton, with Ashley Young playing against both Basel and Everton. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling could form a central defensive partnership, last playing against Basel nearly a week ago, which will be good for their confidence, especially Lindelof. Luke Shaw could make his return at left-back, a problem area for United, which could see him on his way to proving himself to the manager, but with Daley Blind rested at the weekend, he could start ahead of Shaw, being the fitter of the two. I have gone with Shaw though, as it would be a perfect match for him to make his comeback.

Central Midfield: Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick

Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick have played few or no minutes this season respectively. With Nemanja Matic playing in every match so far this season, giving him a rest ahead another three matches this mouth could be a winner for United. Resting Marouane Fellaini will be a bonus too, as he has stood in for Paul Pogba in the last two matches. Herrera has played few minutes, coming on late against Everton on Sunday, needing fitness to find his form, which is where this match would be perfect for him. United could field a weakened team, with regulars on the bench should they be needed, but this squad should have more than enough for matches like this with the player selected within this prediction.

Forward Three: Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial

This is an area where United do not have that much choice at this moment in time. There are four players who can play here and do well for United, all four have been selected as the attacking players. Juan Mata has offered a lot this season, his free-kick against Everton almost gave United another goal and the experience he has is worth having in the side. He may not be quick, but with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial playing, he would not need to be, just offer the brains needed in any attack with the guile to get things started. Mkhitaryan scored his first goal of the season against Everton, assisting in five goals from the start of the season, meaning he has been involved in six goals this season so far. Martial, the scorer of a late penalty against Everton, scoring three league goals already this season, having just started one match, will be wanting a chance and having him in the side could send Burton packing early on in the match.

Striker: Marcus Rashford

Romelu Lukaku has played in every match so far this season, which is great, but with a long season ahead of him, a rest may be needed. Mourinho will probably select him for the match with Marcus Rashford playing on the wing, but in this match , it could give Rashford a chance to better himself as the main striker, with Lukaku having a rest, getting himself ready for the Southampton match this Saturday. The Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit and ready to go, it will be Lukaku or the Swede who will lead the line, unless Mourinho changes his formation to incorporate both Lukaku and Ibrahimovic, which would be a deadly duo, with Rashford being the rotation option, when he is not playing as a winger to better his ability to become that out-and-out striker he craves to be.

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copyright: JW

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