Jose Mourinho will look to get back to winning ways when his side face Bournemouth later tonight.
Manchester United now trail Pep Guardiola’s team by eleven points and would have to embark on a long winning streak to even think of challenging for the top spot come next May.
Two Premier League matches within the span of three days mean than Jose will wisely rotate his players to give everyone enough rest amidst the festive period.
Paul Pogba is serving a three-match suspension for his challenge on Hector Bellerin in the game against Arsenal. This could well be the most impactful booking of the season as the Frenchman already missed the derby at Old Trafford and United did miss his creative side a lot over the course of the game. Michael Carrick is building up his match fitness after recovering from an abnormal heart rhythm and would take time to recover. Eric Bailly is still out of action.
David de Gea is an automatic starter. The goalkeeper has been near-perfect with his displays this season.
United do not have much cover in the right-back position and this sees Antonio Valencia playing many matches. It would be useful if he is rested for the game and Matteo Darmian could be given a game. The Italian has featured scarcely this season and would be hoping to make the most of any opportunities that come his way. On the other flank could be Daley Blind, someone who has played almost every minute of United’s Champions League run until now.
Victor Lindelof has shown tremendous signs of improvement over the past couple of games and this must have done a world of good for his confidence. A fit-again Phil Jones will join the Swede. Jones has been strong and commanding in his displays whilst he has played regularly.
Nemanja Matic has shown no signs of rustiness after limping off in the game against Arsenal. United need him in the absence of Paul Pogba and it would be a surprise if the Serbian does not play the full ninety minutes. The amount of risk that Jose takes with Matic is an evidence of his importance to the team’s functioning.
Ander Herrera will be the other midfielder in the two-man defensive midfield set up.
Juan Mata has shown ample instances of creativity after coming on as a substitute in the last two games. He will play in his usual inward right wing slot, hoping to create more of an impact centrally while cutting inside the box. Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks fit and raring to go and Jose could pull off a surprise here.
Anthony Martial might get a game on his favoured left flank with Rashford starting on the bench.
Romelu Lukaku was awful in the game against City and the Belgian will have to start stepping up and winning matches on his own to regain most of the people’s trust again.