Manchester United kick off their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night against Swiss opposition Young Boys.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping to kick things off with a win, but given it’s away from home a draw in Berne would be fine. Though on paper, this is probably our most winnable road trip in the group stage with Juventus and Valencia both considered far superior opposition.
In regards to the starting eleven, we’re expecting some changes from Saturday’s 2-1 win over Watford. Perhaps even a debut for former FC Porto full-back Diogo Dalot.
David de Gea will keep his place between the sticks. This isn’t the Europa League and after such an underwhelming summer with Spain, he’s beginning to find his footing again following a superb man of the match display versus the Hornets. Why take him out of the line-up for Sergio Romero or Lee Grant?
We think Diogo Dalot will make start at right-back for the first time, replacing Antonio Valencia, who, at 33-years-old, cannot be expected to play two or three weeks over the course of a week. Mourinho also had Ashley Young to select from at right-back since he’s already admitted Luke Shaw will feature at left-back. At centre-back, Chris Smalling should keep his place but we’d like the manager to squash rumours of unrest with Eric Bailly by giving the Ivory Coast international a place back in the team.
Hopefully, Fred returns to the starting line-up. Marouane Fellaini has been terrific of late but it’s important that the new Brazilian signing gets minutes under his belt and he was excellent in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk last term. While I’d like Mourinho to start Andreas Pereira for the first time since our disappointing result against Brighton, I can’t see him taking too many risks with Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba considered some of the most regular starters in this team.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see we’ve gone with Romelu Lukaku to lead the line. The Belgian centre-forward is hitting goalscoring form again – for both club and country – and everyone concerned with United will want to see that continue. Alongside Big Rom, on either flank, Mourinho should opt for Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. The latter is suspended for another two league fixtures, so this is an opportunity to give him minutes. Rashford proved on international duty with Gareth Southgate’s England that he’s too good to be pushed aside – even if Alexis Sanchez is available.
Starting XI: De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Matic, Fred, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez.