Man Utd predicted XI vs AFC Ajax: Who will start as the Reds' season relies on Europa League final glory?

Man Utd predicted XI vs AFC Ajax: Who will start as the Reds' season relies on Europa League final glory?

José Mourinho has admitted that he already knows his starting line-up for what is the biggest game since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

AlexTurk
Alex Turk

Manchester United travel to Swedish capital city Stockholm this week to face young, exciting and dangerous Dutch outfit AFC Ajax in the Europa League final where a victory would see the Reds not just lift the only trophy yet to be won by the club, but also qualify for next season's Champions League group stages.

José Mourinho has gone with a reasonably fixed starting line-up for a large duration of the competition this term and he's confirmed that his starters were already been decided a couple of weeks before the big night, but those who are picked should be nice and fresh after being rested for the last few Premier League fixtures.

Phil Jones preferred to Chris Smalling 

Goalkeeper - Sergio Romero: David de Gea is the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United, and rightly so, but Sergio Romero has consistently performed at a high standard in more or less every game he's featured in this season - and as a result has been confirmed as a starter by manager José Mourinho. The Argentine has been in between the stick on 17 occasions this season, 11 of which have been in Europe, and the Reds haven't actually been defeated in any of those matches - so his place in the team is unlikely to cause upset.

Right-back - Antonio Valencia: Judging by the fact that Antonio Valencia was left out of the squad for the final four Premier League games - despite being the Player's Player of the Year - shows that he'll also be starting tomorrow. Mourinho has turned the experienced Ecuadorian into even more of a machine on the right flank than he was prior to his arrival and his traits should prove to be crucial against Ajax's tricky wingers.

Centre-back - Phil Jones: In all honesty, predicting who will be on the right side of Daley Blind in the centre of defence was the most difficult but based on current form alone it seems like Phil Jones has won over the boss more than Chris Smalling. Smalling also might not have fully recovered from the "small toe problem" that kept him out of the Crystal Palace clash, another game where Jones looked solid, so his Preston-born counterpart looks set for a starting place.

Centre-back - Daley Blind: Similarly to Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind has also had limited game time during the league run-in which suggests that he is guaranteed to begin the final on the pitch - and that idea has constantly been fuelled by the way it's only been a 'battle' between Smalling and Jones. Centre-back isn't the position José Mourinho wants Blind to play in, however, due to injuries and the Dutchman's fine showings in the role this term and last it looks certain that he'll play there in Stockholm.

Left-back - Matteo Darmian: Daley Blind might have played here if Marcos Rojo wasn't out with an ACL injury but since Matteo Darmian's come into the side he's looked really good, especially defensively, and is also deservedly being considered to be in the XI. He's certainly one of the few players transformed into top quality players by José Mourinho and his defending qualities will be extremely helpful if United are needing to have backs against the wall at any stage in the final.

Pogba could be the game-changer

Centre-midfielder - Ander Herrera: There would be no point at all arguing against Ander Herrera starting in the midfield tomorrow night because the Spaniard is easily the most improved player under new management this season and is going to play a massive part. The Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year brings a different energy to the side so that'll be one of the key counter-tactics against one of the most energetic sides in Europe today - and he has ruled himself for the captaincy but his leadership will still be incredibly important.

Centre-midfielder - Marouane Fellaini: Marouane Fellaini is another player who also missed the majority of the run-in but for a different reason after being sent-off and as a result suspended against Manchester City at the end of last month. Even if he was available though, it's likely he would've been rested like the others seen as though his position in the side ahead of Michael Carrick looks cemented - and especially after winning the Man of the Match award in the semi-final second leg versus Celta Vigo.

Centre-midfielder - Paul Pogba: Manchester United's dire performances throughout the Premier League run-in have been partly down to the absence of this man - because of the sad death of his father on May 12th - but he's now back and raring to go in such a colossal game. The Frenchman marked his comeback surrounded by youth prospects on Sunday against Palace with a goal and a delightful first half display so if there's a player who'll have the biggest word on how the final will go it'll be the world's most expensive player, Paul Pogba.

Mkhitaryan looks to top-off fine European form

Right-wing - Jesse Lingard: It's fairly obvious that José Mourinho has already decided on his front three despite a late slight change in form from Anthony Martial, and some people might not be too happy that Jesse Lingard will be picked ahead of the 21-year-old forward. Lingard's goal-scoring record in recent finals should give himself and the team a mental boost going into it and he'll be hoping he can add to that record against AFC Ajax, a Manchester lad firing the club to European glory would definitely be a joy to behold.

Left-wing - Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Despite a drop in performance levels in the league during the latter stages of the campaign, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been in scintillating form throughout the whole of the Europa League this season and will start tomorrow. The Armenian midfielder has looked right at home for the Reds in Europe, which is understandable considering he'll still be adapting to the English game in domestic competition, so everyone will be hoping for just that one spark of magic he's capable of offering.

Striker - Marcus Rashford: With Zlatan Ibrahimović stripped of a perfect season send-off lifting his first ever European trophy in his home city of Stockholm, Marcus Rashford has had to step up and fill in the huge void, and he's done a pretty good job of it. His pace can easily make the best defences uncomfortable, as demonstrated at home to Chelsea in the league earlier on this year, so his talent against an inexperienced defensive unit could be the deciding factor. 

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