Manchester United predicted XI against Watford: Can the Red Devils bounce back from Feyenoord disappointment?

Jose Mourinho has said he will go back to a ‘normal team’ for the Premier League fixture away from home.

Manchester United predicted XI against Watford: Can the Red Devils bounce back from Feyenoord disappointment?
Will Pogba and Martial retain their places against Watford? (Photo: PA Images)

Manchester United are back in Premier League action on Sunday against Watford.

The Red Devils will be hoping to end a run of two consecutive defeats, both coming in the last week, against Walter Mazzarri’s side at Vicarage Road.

Mourinho to ring changes once again?

After making eight changes against Feyenoord on Thursday from the side that lost to Manchester City last weekend, Jose Mourinho could be set to field an almost completely different side again on Sunday.

United disappointed in Europa League action in midweek as they lost to Feyenoord, with the Red Devils’ second string giving Mourinho little reason to extend their run in the side.

David de Gea started the game but couldn’t do anything about the Eredivisie outfit’s goal, so he can be assured of retaining his starting place. Mourinho’s tactic of resting Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw for the midweek trip showed the value of the club’s first choice full-backs right now as well, with both of those players sure to start ahead of the below par Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo.

Valencia should be back in the team on Sunday | Photo: Getty
Valencia should be back in the team on Sunday | Photo: Getty

Eric Bailly was also involved from the start against Feyenoord but should start again, although Mourinho will have to decide between Chris Smalling and Daley Blind for the second centre-back spot. Smalling had a relatively trouble-free night on Thursday but still didn't look at his very best, so it would be, perhaps, wise to start with the Dutchman instead.

Physical core back in United side

Paul Pogba was heavily criticised for his display on Thursday night but is still quite obviously the club’s best midfielder, and the Frenchman can expect to be partnered by Marouane Fellaini again, making up the physical midfield duo that combined well at the end of August.

As his teammates failed to impress in his absence, Wayne Rooney is another man who can expect to win back his place in the starting XI, as can Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede wasn’t completely left out in the previous game like Rooney, as he came off the bench to provide a greater threat in attack.

In the wide areas, Mourinho would be wise to revert to type and deploy Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, as he did in the last win against Hull City. The pair were both hauled off against Feyenoord meaning they should be relatively fresh for the game, even though neither made a huge impression in the game. That said, Martial did look more dangerous than he had done for most of this season, and it could, therefore, be a good decision to keep him in the side.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; Pogba, Fellaini; Mata, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic.