Jose Mourinho will be without five first-team players when Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
A classic Premier League rivalry will be renewed in the final match of Gameweek 15, as Manchester United play hosts to Arsenal at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Jose Mourinho though, has plenty of concerns heading into the game, with his squad beset with issues.
The results have been far from ideal of late, in the Premier League. To make matters worse, Manchester United are now plagued with a multitude of injuries across various departments on the pitch, ironically so after Mourinho had exclaimed about having a full-strength squad at his disposal a few weeks ago.
United squad vs Arsenal:
De Gea, Romero, Grant
Dalot, Valencia, Darmian, Smalling, Bailly, Rojo
Fred, Pogba, Fellaini, McTominay, Lingard, Herrera, Matic, Pereira, Mata
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) December 4, 2018
Defence is the worst hit area for the hosts, with Victor Lindelof recovering from a groin injury that is likely to keep him out for several weeks. To add to Mourinho’s woes, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones have not made the Manchester United squad to face Arsenal, as per the reliable Manchester Evening News.
The Manchester United manager also put Antonio Valencia’s availability in doubt during his pre-match press conference, while adding that the likes of Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are facing a race against time to be fit enough to start.
“If our game was today, I’d say Jones is not playing, Smalling is not playing and Bailly is not playing but we will have to wait. Valencia is not playing. Shaw is a doubt. Darmian is back, but I have to wait. Of course, Lindelof is out of the question.”
Smalling and Bailly are a part of the squad, as per Manchester Evening News, and should thus, line up at the heart of the Manchester United defence against Arsenal. With Valencia not fit enough and Ashley Young suspended, Diogo Dalot is set to make his full Premier League debut.
On the opposite flank, Matteo Darmian appears to be the only option to play as a makeshift left-back, with Shaw and Young unavailable. In midfield, Nemanja Matic has been an ever present despite his poor form, and should be the holding midfielder against Arsenal as well.
There were initial doubts as to whether Paul Pogba would start against Arsenal following Mourinho’s reported tirade against him in the aftermath of the 2-2 Southampton stalemate. But, the Frenchman should start considering the magnitude of the game. Completing the midfield trio, should be Marouane Fellaini, who will be a big threat with his imposing figure.
Up ahead in attack, Mourinho has a gamut of options at his disposal, with Alexis Sanchez the only player on the sidelines. Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford are a part of Manchester United’s squad, but the Belgian striker could be relegated to the bench, with Rashford starting upfront.
Anthony Martial should return to the starting lineup after being preserved against Southampton to a great extent. The final spot in the side is a toss-up between Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard, with the former likely to get the nod due to his creative abilities.