Leicester City and Manchester United will officially kick off the domestic season on 7th August when they face off against each other in the Community Shield. The match between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup champions is seen as the curtain-raiser to the English season. The last time the two managers faced off against each other, the Portuguese was sacked by Chelsea the following morning. Given the history between the two managers, it’s somewhat fitting that Mourinho’s first competitive match as manager of Manchester United comes against Ranieri. After all, it was Mourinho who infamously took charge from Ranieri as the Chelsea boss in 2004.
Leicester come into this match on the back of a 4-2 defeat against Barcelona on Wednesday, while Manchester United played out a nil-nil draw against Everton on the same day at Old Trafford, in what was Wayne Rooney’s testimonial match. With no Champions League football next season, Mourinho’s main focus will be mounting a proper title challenge, especially now that he has the services of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and maybe Paul Pogba soon. Here we see the predicted starting XI that Mourinho might opt for on Sunday.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
De Gea is back in training after his extended holiday following his participation in the European Championship. He has been by far the best United player over the last three years and is likely to start every time when fit.
Defenders: Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw and Valencia
Smalling did well last season, he was very consistent and led from the front. He will be looking forward to partnering up with Bailly next season. The summer signing has been excellent in the preseason and is a certain starter. Luke Shaw is still getting back to full match fitness after being sidelined for most of the last season following a horrible double leg break. If he can stay fit, he will be like a new signing for Mourinho to use. Valencia still doesn’t look comfortable in that right-back spot but is the best option the manager has, his attacking instincts are very useful down the wings, though he does leave gaps open at the back.
Midfielders: Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
With Schweinsteiger completely out of Mourinho’s plans for next year, it will be Carrick in central midfield alongside Schneiderlin. The English midfielder might have to make space for Paul Pogba, if and when he arrives. Summer signing Mkhitaryan will most likely slot in on the right side, while French international Martial will come in on the left wing. Wayne Rooney played deeper under Louis Van Gaal but Mourinho has made his intentions clear about playing the England captain upfront. He will start in the number 10 role.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has been captured on a free transfer and will most certainly add an x-factor so badly missing on the team last season. He will be starting up front, with support from the lethal trio of Rooney, Martial and Mkhitaryan.