Manchester United predicted XI against Celta Vigo: Spaniards stand in way of Stockholm final

Manchester United predicted XI against Celta Vigo: Spaniards stand in way of Stockholm final

The Red Devils only have the La Liga side to beat in order to reach the Europa League final.

Matthew Brown

Manchester United will continue to contest their massively congested fixture schedule against Celta Vigo in the the Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho’s side travel to North West Spain for the first of two legs against the La Liga outfit which overcame Genk in the last eight.

Romero to continue Europa League run?

But the Red Devils go to Balaídos with a seriously depleted squad, and the only genuine selection dilemma which faces Mourinho is choosing a goalkeeper. Given that he has played most matches in this competition so far, it might be assumed that Sergio Romero will start. However, with this such an important match, the superior David de Gea might be trusted instead.

Antonio Valencia did not start in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Swansea City, but was forced on in place of the injured Luke Shaw early on after he had presumably been rested with this game in mind. He should start, as will Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian, at centre-back and left-back respectively, given there are so few defenders available for this game.

Mourinho stopped short of declaring Eric Bailly available for this match, but he did say Chris Smalling and Phil Jones could be back in the team. Either could be involved but the former would be the better option to complete the back four – hopefully he can resume his fine centre-back partnership with Blind from last season.

Fellaini back in midfield

Options are similarly limited in midfield. However, Mourinho will almost certainly call on Marouane Fellaini – the Belgian is currently suspended for domestic action and will be one of few players fresh for the action.

Paul Pogba is available for the match, so judging by his heavy involvement this term, that’s enough to suggest he’ll start the game. It could be just him and Fellaini starting out as a midfield two but it would be no surprise if Ander Herrera is deployed as a third man in the centre, as the Spaniard could provide extra defensive protection to negate Celta’s attacking threat.

Most of the attacking players pick themselves. Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are probably the Red Devils’ two biggest threats with the current injury situation, the latter having scored in the side’s last four European away games.

Rashford would line up centrally with the Armenian on the right, while Jesse Lingard – given his superb work rate on the flanks – would probably complete the XI playing on the left side.

Predicted XI: Romero; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lingard.