Manchester United predicted XI against Middlesbrough: A sixth consecutive win for the Red Devils?

Manchester United predicted XI against Middlesbrough: A sixth consecutive win for the Red Devils?

Jose Mourinho will be expecting another win from his in-form side, but will be wary of facing West Ham just over 48 hours later on Monday.

Matthew Brown

Manchester United will make it six wins in a row if they can overcome Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

The Premier League contest will pit United boss Jose Mourinho against his former assistant Aitor Karanka for the first time with both sides hoping to end the calendar year on a high.

Mourinho to rotate?

In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Mourinho said he would not rotate his side for the game despite having another game just two days later away at West Ham. He explained, per the Manchester Evening News, that he would “try to choose the team that gives us guarantees and chances to win the match.”

He may deny it, but Mourinho will surely have to change his team around slightly to prepare for that game on Monday. But one player he won't need to rotate is goalkeeper David de Gea, who should continue his run of playing every minute in the Premier League this term.

One position that the United boss has tinkered with most frequently this term is the two full-back spots. Matteo Darmian could be reintroduced at right-back given the amount of football Antonio Valencia has played this season, with Daley Blind keeping his spot at left-back.

Now may also be a good time to bring Eric Bailly back into the fold at centre-back but it seems more likely that Mourinho will stick with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo at the heart of defence.

Carrick deserving of rest

There might not be much change in defence but Mourinho really should consider keeping Michael Carrick out of this one; he will be key against the Hammers on Monday. Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera have regularly played alongside the veteran midfielder in recent weeks and both should retain their spots, the latter perhaps being shifted back into a more defensive role where he shone earlier this season.

Juan Mata, who did start on the right in the win against Sunderland, could replace Carrick in midfield either as the number ten or playing in an advanced midfield position alongside Pogba.

Another change could see Henrikh Mkhitaryan replace Jesse Lingard, especially with the Englishman’s energy and work ethic worth preserving for the difficult away trip to face Slaven Bilic’s West Ham in two days’ time.

Marcus Rashford has regularly featured as a winger this season and could return on the left, with the in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic sure to keep his place as the main striker.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Rojo, Blind; Herrera, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Mata, Rashford; Ibrahimovic.