Just three wins in the last six league matches have seen Manchester United slip away further from the title chase. Mourinho’s men are now with only one win in five matches in all competitions and with further injuries piling up on the heavy festive fixture list, the Red Devils are a club in a mini-crisis. Their first match of 2018 against Everton offered them the chance to turn a fresh note and they took it by winning 2-0. With the Premier League finally catching a small breather, the attention has now turned to the FA Cup where Manchester United will be squaring off against Derby County.
Antonio Valencia is suffering from a hamstring injury and will only return next week with Manchester United’s other choice full-back Ashley Young also out after accepting the charge of a violent conduct following an elbow on Dusan Tadic during the draw with Southampton, and is now in the midst of a three-game suspension.
Iconic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who made his recent after a lengthy spell on the sideline is now once again out for a month with a knee injury while his fellow striker Romelu Lukaku who suffered a head injury against Southampton is likely to return but unlikely to be starting for the Red Devils.
Marouane Fellaini was expected to take longer to return from his injury but Mourinho has given a thumbs up to the player and he is likely to partner Lukaku on the bench. Eric Bailly remains a long-term absentee for Mourinho’s men while another player who has been injured for long known as Michael Carrick is back in training again.
With so many concerns to keep his mind on, here is how the Portuguese tactician will look to set his team up for the important clash.
Sergio Romero is likely to get a chance in goal for the less significant cup tie with first-choice keeper David De Gea likely to be given some rest. Daley Blind is expected to make a rare start at left-back with Matteo Darmian to play as right back. Chris Smalling might be given the chance to start as one of the centre-backs alongside Victor Lindelof.
The three-man midfield is likely to consist of Ander Herrera, Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay with midfield stalwarts like Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic likely to be rested.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan can be expected on the right with Jesse Lingard on the left and Marcus Rashford expected to lead the line in the absence of Lukaku and Zlatan.
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