Jose Mourinho goes head to head with his former Chelsea player Frank Lampard as the two men pit their wits against each other for the first time as managers in the League Cup at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. In a competition in which he boasts an impressive record, Mourinho is expected to name a strong, if much changed, side for the visit of Lampard’s division lower Derby. Here’s the lowdown on the expected starting XI for the Reds.
The Argentine goalkeeper missed the World Cup due to a knee injury but has proven to be a more than capable deputy when called upon. He has proven to be a dependable stand in for cup games and Mourinho, as a testament to his belief in Romero, has not hesitated to play him in Champions League and Europa League matches. He has an impressive shot-stopping ability and is a genuinely good goalkeeper.
Romero is certainly not at David de Gea’s level but is sharper than third choice option Lee Grant and can be relied upon to fill the void in the Spaniard’s absence.
Mourinho has already revealed that Dalot will start against Derby after an impressive debut in Bern against Young Boys. He is quick and likes to deliver dangerous crosses into the box. Dalot also has good ball control and can recover at the other end. Mourinho has praised him on a consistent basis and this is a player who can give Antonio Valencia competition for his place on the right.
Bailly has not been seen since his horror show at Brighton, but he remains our best defender and – having been phased out by Mourinho since then – this match presents an ideal opportunity for the Ivorian to return to the side and re-stake his claim. He should not have been benched after one bad game and when fit should start every week
Unlike Bailly, Lindelof has remained in central defence despite his bad day at the office at The AMEX. With Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo injured, there are not too many options for Mourinho to turn to so he may well have to try again with this partnership. Chris Smalling will likely be rested, and Lindelof seems to have cemented his place in the side so I would expect him to continue at the back.
With Luke Shaw having firmly established himself as United’s first choice left-back, he is likely to sit out this one with Young the most likely to come in. The fullback positions is probably an area that United have comprehensively covered with several options. Matteo Darmian can also be drafted as cover in either full back position.
The towering youngster broke into the first team last season. However, his role this season has been limited as he has only come on as a substitute. This tie is a good chance for him to stake a claim for his place on the teamsheet. Mourinho already had nice things to say about him. He will be mobile in this formation and could make the forward runs where possible. He will also be expected to do the dirty work in the middle of the pack when Derby hit the Reds on the counter-attack.
The second of United’s Brazilians made a positive impact when he was brought on against Wolves in the second half. He is technically gifted and can control the ball distribution from the midfield. If Paul Pogba is rested, then this would be the man Mourinho calls upon to slot into his position.
He has done little wrong to suggest that he should not start. Only a matter of outright competition for positions and tactical reasons have kept him out of the starting 11. He is also somewhat of a dead ball specialist.
Since the opening game of the season against Leicester City, Mata has seen limited playing time and has become a peripheral figure . His lack of speed, strength and height have certainly worked against him. With several attacking options, it comes as no surprise that he has been left out.
He can be selected to start on the right wing and offer the much needed creative spark up front and as the game progresses, he can drift into his preferred number 10 position to maximise his undoubted influence as a playmaker.
With Romelu Lukaku set to sit this one out and Marcus Rashford still suspended, it seems as though the out of form Chilean will be switched from out wide to a position as the main striker. Derby sit sixth in the second tier, and Sanchez will be expected to deliver as United’s main attacking threat. Sanchez has flattered to deceive in his time at the club and this could be an ideal opportunity to break his duck in front of goal and bring about a much needed change in his fortunes.
Likely to interchange with Sanchez, Martial has the ability to be ruthless in front of goal. His off-field troubles and transfer talk has got in his way from being the top talent that he is.
He scored against Young Boys and should get more playing time this time around. Things also seem to have cooled down with Mourinho. With Rashford out for at least one more match, Martial’s clock is ticking to deliver. Mourinho is likely to have a full bench of his regular starters on standby just in case things don’t go according to the script.