Manchester United Predicted XI against Watford: Reds aiming for first league win at Old Trafford in 2017

Manchester United Predicted XI against Watford: Reds aiming for first league win at Old Trafford in 2017

Jose Mourinho’s side still have their long domestic unbeaten run intact, but haven’t won a league game at Old Trafford since New Years Eve.

Matthew Brown

Manchester United should be confident of picking up three points when they welcome Watford to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Jose Mourinho’s side, hosting a rare 3pm kick-off, will be hoping to improve on their recent home outings, having drawn with Liverpool and Hull City in the Premier League last month.

Why rotate?

The Red Devils did earn an emphatic 4-0 home win over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup between those draws, and have since gained an equally convincing 3-0 away victory at Leicester City in their most recent outing – and Mourinho should be looking to set up in a similar style on Saturday.

David de Gea should start in goal as the undisputed first choice ‘keeper, while he should see Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind playing on either side of the defence in front of him. That pair – excluding the seemingly untrusted Luke Shaw – seem to be the Portuguese boss’ favoured attacking options on the defensive flanks.

The back four will be completed by Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, the same duo which completed last weekend’s win at the King Power Stadium.

An attacking midfield

As United will be expecting to triumph in this game, there’s little reason for Mourinho to reintroduce Michael Carrick into midfield. Therefore, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba should be kept at the base of United’s shape in the middle, while Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan can be deployed just ahead of them in the three behind the striker. Both impressed in those advanced roles last weekend.

And as Anthony Martial is being continually kept out of the XI, it would be a surprise to see the Frenchman displace Marcus Rashford for this game – he might be more likely to get another opportunity during Thursday’s meeting with Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford.

Inevitably, 20-goal striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic can expect to lead United’s attack against the Hornets.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Pogba; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.