Man United predicted XI vs Man City: Who will start as the Reds look to leapfrog neighbours?

Man United predicted XI vs Man City: Who will start as the Reds look to leapfrog neighbours?

José Mourinho set to make a number of changes for the Manchester derby as he plots to take City's place in the top four of the Premier League.

sam-ludbrook
Sam Ludbrook

Manchester United boss José Mourinho is likely to rotate his side for Thursday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, with key midfielder Paul Pogba missing through injury.

The Frenchman was replaced by Michael Carrick during the closing stages of United's 2-0 win at Burnley on Sunday, after clutching his hamstring. 

Carrick is likely to be the player to take Pogba's place, while the likes of Antonio Valencia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford are expected to be recalled against Manchester City after failing to start at the weekend. 

Matteo Darmian, Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard are likely to be the players who drop to the bench as Mourinho aims to keep his squad fresh ahead of a hectic end to the season. 

Valencia set to return

Mourinho is likely to make only one change to his backline, with Valencia coming in at right-back after missing out on Sunday. The 31-year-old will be key in numbing the threat posed by City's attacking players. 

Eric Bailly and Daley Blind will continue their partnership at centre-back following United's injury problems. The duo were in fine form against Burnley as the Reds prevented the home side from recording a shot on target. 

Ashley Young is set to get the nod ahead of Luke Shaw at left-back after starting five of United's last six league matches. His experience and versatility to play in a number of positions has seen the 31-year-old become a key player in recent weeks. 

Mourinho to opt for a three-man midfield

Mourinho may stick with a three-man midfield following United's impressive away performance against Burnley. 

Michael Carrick is set to start alongside Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in the centre, providing plenty of protection for the Reds injury-hit defence. 

Fellaini and Herrera will look to push forward and support United's forward line, with Carrick sitting deep. 

Marcus Rashford to lead the line

Although Mourinho has a number of players missing through injury, the Reds boss will have a decision to make on which players start in attack. 

Marcus Rashford is expected to start in the centre as the youngster aims to net for the second successive season at the Etihad following his winner last season in his first ever Manchester derby. 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial will be pushing for starts on the flanks, although, their ability to play in a number of positions could see them alternate positions with Rashford to disturb the Blues defence. 

Martial was named man of the match against Burnley after opening the scoring with a composed finish, while Mkhitaryan has found the net in three of his last four appearances for the Reds. 

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Young; Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Martial 

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