Manchester United predicted XI against Southampton: Red Devils stumble to Premier League close

Manchester United predicted XI against Southampton: Red Devils stumble to Premier League close

José Mourinho’s team selection will be interesting; his side essentially has nothing to play for in the remaining domestic fixtures

Matthew Brown

Manchester United will visit Southampton on Wednesday night with the aim of ending their poor recent form in the Premier League.

José Mourinho’s team haven’t won any of their last five matches, with four of those in the league – the most recent a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The Red Devils will hope to bring that to an end against Claude Puel’s team at St Mary's but may struggle once again, with changes set to take place as Mourinho looks ahead to next Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax.

Romero set for rare league outing

Normally, we’d have expected David de Gea to start this game given that he’s missed just one league outing this term. However, Mourinho has said he’ll start Sergio Romero in one of the remaining two domestic outings – presumably this one so he can sit out the weekend clash against Crystal Palace – while he's also said that he may give Joel Pereira the opportunity to start before the season ends.

Mourinho listed a number of players that he believes need to play 90 minutes, among those were Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, so we can expect them to make up the central defensive pairing.

Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly should both be involved, given neither are likely to play in the Europa League final – the former scarcely trusted by the Portuguese boss and the latter suspended. Perhaps, then, we could see a back three against the Saints, because there are so few players available Mourinho will surely be keen to use those that won't feature next week in these unimportant contests.

Regardless of the defensive shape, though, it’ll be Matteo Darmian on the left side of the backline; Mourinho has confirmed Daley Blind won't play while Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw remain long-term absentees.

Fellaini returns from suspension

In midfield, it seems pretty likely that it’ll be Marouane Fellaini, who is back after a three-match suspension, and Ander Herrera who feature. Michael Carrick played 90 minutes against Spurs at the weekend while Paul Pogba is in France for his father’s funeral so neither will start.

Ahead of them, another two of the players Mourinho said needed 90 minutes – Juan Mata and Anthony Martial – will start, presumably starting on the right and left flanks respectively.

Completing the attack will be one of Marcus Rashford or Wayne Rooney, depending entirely on how much rest Mourinho wants the former to have before next week’s European final in Stockholm. He may have scored against Spurs but Rooney didn’t play well on Sunday and United’s frontline will look much more dangerous with Rashford in it instead of him.

Predicted XI: Romero; Tuanzebe, Bailly, Smalling, Jones, Darmian; Herrera, Fellaini; Mata, Rashford, Martial.