Europe’s biggest competition is due to resume as the elites of the continent get ready to fight it out for the UEFA Champions League trophy. Tottenham go up against Inter Milan and Barcelona face PSV Eindhoven in the opening matchday of the competition. Manchester United are part of a tricky group H along with Juventus, Valencia, and Young Boys.
United start their campaign against arguably the easiest team in their group, Swiss outfit Young Boys. Young Boys are playing it at their home and the game is due to kickoff at 20:00 hrs GMT on Wednesday.
With United on a bit of a roll after two consecutive wins, it remains to be seen if they can carry the same momentum into the Champions League. Let’s take a look at the possible line-up against Young Boys :
1.Goalkeepers and Defenders
David De Gea
Whether it is the Premier League or the Champions League, he is probably the first name to go on the team sheet and an undisputed number 1. De Gea had been ever-present between the sticks for United and it is expected of him to start the match against Young Boys.
Jose Mourinho would be considering his options as he considers Valencia’s knee to be unsuitable to play on an artificial turf. Diogo Dalot is the most obvious replacement. However, Mourinho has put Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young in contention too. Dalot is yet to feature and Jose might see this as a suitable chance to give him his maiden appearance against Young Boys.
Jose previously admitted to not knowing the best center-back partnership available to him at United. But, in the last 2 games, the United defense looked a lot more solid and Jose as well fans would like to see the same against Young Boys. The Portuguese manager might not look to tweak the partnership at all. Especially after his praise for Chris Smalling, it is highly unlikely that the Englishman would give way for any other defender.
Forming the other half of the new-found center-back partnership of Manchester United, Victor Lindelof could keep his place as well. With Marcos Rojo against Young Boys and Phil Jones out, it is unlikely for Lindelof to sit out this match. But, Eric Bailly will surely give both Lindelof and Smalling, a run for their starting place.
Having rediscovered his form at Old Trafford, Luke Shaw has made his place permanent in Mourinho’s plans. The United boss provided some early team news by confirming that Shaw is fit and would play against Young Boys. He is expected to start and continue his fine form.
The solidity of the defense can be largely attributed to the introduction of Marouane Fellaini and the layer of extra protection he provides to an otherwise feeble defense. He has become indispensable, especially with Matic’s recent poor form.
The air of unrest seems to have diminished to some extent in respect of Paul Pogba’s situation at Manchester United. Some fine performances have followed as Pogba seems to finally find his feet at United. He is a sure starter as he has been pivotal to the United performances in the last two wins.
Another player who has fallen out of favor, largely due to performances put in by Marouane Fellaini, is Fred. His place is sacrificed for an added protection that Fellaini provides to the United defense. With Matic looking out of sorts, Fred might still get a chance to prove himself and the chance could come as early as Wednesday, against Young Boys.
Having scored 4 goals in 5 games, Romelu Lukaku seems to have found his scoring form and will like to maintain the same form in Europe against Young Boys. He has been ever-present having missed only the opening match of the season and is expected to keep his place.
Mourinho, in the post-match conference, confirmed that Rashford shall start for the first time since the opening match of the season. He is expected to replace Alexis Sanchez who has clearly not hit the ground running at Manchester United.
Jesse Lingard has been another player that has influenced proceedings greatly for Manchester United. His dribbling and speed would surely help United in their opening fixture against Young Boys.