Manchester United travel to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday in what has become a must-win Premier League match against Swansea City.
After a strong start, José Mourinho’s side have been something of a tailspin lately and after winning just once in the league since August, already sit in eighth place eight points behind joint-leaders Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
However, they may head into Sunday’s game with something of an understrength starting eleven. With Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly set to be out for a number of weeks, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo are likely to start once again.
As if that wasn’t bad enough (because Mourinho patently doesn’t trust that pair), Man United are likely to be without two-thirds of their first choice midfield.
Ander Herrera will definitely miss out having picked up a red card in the 0-0 draw against Burnley last weekend, while Paul Pogba limped off with a thigh injury in the midweek Europa League defeat to Fenerbahce. While the French international is still technically only a doubt for the match on Sunday, the chances of him starting currently look slim.
Man United’s midfield has been one of the few positives in recent weeks, so without Pogba and Herrera, who can Mourinho turn to in order to keep the side ticking over until the international break?
At this late stage of his career, it’s fairly blatant that Carrick cannot play in every match. However, he is arguably Man United’s best available midfielder for Sunday’s game. An unused substitute against Burnley last Saturday, Carrick would be well rested enough to start against Swansea.
Having actually been one of Manchester United’s better performers in the early parts of the season, Fellaini has fully regressed back to the ineffectual bag of elbows that have embodied his Old Trafford career. Bafflingly introduced as a late substitute against Burnley, Fellaini will probably start against Swansea due to Mourinho’s apparent fondness for him.
Schneiderlin has very much become a fringe player at Old Trafford. The French international has played around five minutes of Premier League action all season, and looks like he will be one of the first to go in Mourinho’s potential clear-out. However, needs must, and the 26-year-old might finally be entrusted with some league action in Herrera’s absence. Not likely, but not impossible either.
Could be given the nod to start in the number ten role once again due to the rule that every time he scores a goal he’s “back” or something, nonetheless without Pogba as an option Mourinho may once again turn to his captain. Highly unlikely to start in midfield as Mourinho has said that he won’t play Rooney that far back, but he’s gone back on that once before…
Another long shot, and a highly improbable one at that. Fosu-Mensah has just three appearances to his name this season and the chances of Mourinho turning to the 18-year-old when there are other options available are almost non-existent.
Observe Mourinho’s response to being asked if Schweinsteiger will play for Man United in the near future…
Take is as read that the former German international will not be playing on Sunday. In fact, Usain Bolt or Haramabe would be more likely to play for Manchester United at this stage.
With so much at stake, Mourinho is likely to play it as safe as possible at the Liberty – to that end, expect something like this to be Man United’s lineup (assuming Pogba doesn’t start)…
Read More About: ander herrera, bastian schweinsteiger, jose mourinho, Juan Mata, Manchester United, michael carrick, morgan schneiderlin, Paul Pogba, Premier League, swansea, timothy fosu-mensah, Wayne Rooney