Manchester United head home to Old Trafford for their first home game of the season - Southampton. Many United fans are waiting to see if Paul Pogba will make the team’s starting XI. Do we expect the star French midfielder to start this weekend? Let’s take a look at the predicted XI for tomorrow’s home opener against the Saints.
Goalkeeper and Defense
Goalie: David de Gea: The Spanish shot-stopper was unlucky to not get a clean sheet in this past weekend. He wasn’t really oft-challenged, but an Adam Smith bullet into the top corner. He’ll be very much tested against the Saints tomorrow with the likes of Shane Long, Dusan Tadic, and Nathan Redmond all very much threats to potentially get on the scoresheet.
Left Back: Luke Shaw: The Englishman played a full 90 minutes and looked very good in his first league game since last season. He’ll need to be very solid against his former club.
Center Backs: Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly: Smalling should come back into the starting XI after missing out on United’s league opener due to his suspension after being sent off in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace. He’ll get to finally partner with Eric Bailly as the duo looks to see how they partner together.
Right Back: Antonio Valencia: The Ecuadorian was the main attacking threat of the two fullbacks in their 3-1 win - Bournemouth. Just like Shaw, he’ll need to shore up his defense more often against a very potent front three of Southampton.
Defensive Midfielders: Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini: Fellaini should keep his role in the side after a strong showing - Bournemouth which saw him only lose the ball once and a 99 percent completion rate on his passes. He’ll line up next to Paul Pogba in what will be a 4-2-3-1 to start but will work his way into a 4-1-4-1 as he’ll be the man protecting the defense.
Pogba will make his debut in the Premier League and will line up next to Fellaini before moving into a more advanced role to allow him to display his box-to-box abilities. He was suspended for the last game but was unlikely to debut even without the suspension due to lack of match fitness.
Left Attacking Midfielder: Anthony Martial: The Frenchman looked lively in the opener, registering two assists in the win. The youngster had good link-up play with both Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and hopes to bring his good form into this week.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Wayne Rooney: The captain got on the scoresheet last week after Martial’s deflected shot fell for the Englishman to head in. He looked more threatening than he did in preseason, getting in one-on-one off an audacious Ibrahimovic backheel. Despite not scoring that, England’s top goalscorer looks revitalized.
Right Attacking Midfielder: Juan Mata: Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still struggling to adapt to the high-intensity system that Jose Mourinho deploys, which means the Spaniard is likely to get the nod in this role again. He found the back of the net luckily after two errors from Simon Francis, one on the back pass and the other where he continued his run and Artur Boruc could not smother it and deflected off him, as the Spaniard put the ball into the empty net. The Spaniard has earned his position based on merit, proving to Mourinho he can fit in his system.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Swedish talisman was the final scorer - Bournemouth, continuing his absurd streak in scoring in big leagues. Southampton provide a stern test for Ibrahimovic as the Saints had one of the best defenses last year