Predicted Manchester United Line-up To Face Benfica In The Champions League
Champions League returns this week and Manchester United are away in Portugal to face Benfica in the third matchday of the competition. Having registered convincing wins over Basel and CSKA Moscow in the first two games, United can all but qualify for the knockout stages with a similar result in Lisbon.
The home team, on the other hand, will be desperate to get their Champions League campaign up and running after facing two back-to-back losses in the group stage. The Manchester-based team are already in Portugal and are undefeated so far this season.
Let us have a look at how Manchester United could line up against Rui Vitoria’s side:
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeeper: David de Gea, Spain
De Gea has been in remarkable form so far this season, having kept 8 clean sheets in the 10 games he has played so far in Premier League and Champions League. Against Liverpool, he was instrumental in thwarting the efforts from Coutinho and Wijnaldum as the Red Devils came away with a valuable point at Anfield.
Right-back: Antonio Valencia, Ecuador
Valencia is one of the first names on the team sheet. He did not have much joy away at Liverpool but he will be looking to run riot on the right wing against a Benfica side who have been far from their best in the European competition.
Centre-backs: Phil Jones, England and Chris Smalling, England
Bailly’s injury meant Mourinho went with 3 at the back against Liverpool but it is likely that he will revert to a more traditional centre-back pairing featuring Phil Jones, one of United’s best defenders and Chris Smalling.
Left-back: Ashley Young, England
Young is likely to start ahead of Daley Blind in this one. The England international has consistently dished out some noteworthy performances this season and Mourinho will probably start him in this game.
Central Midfield: Ander Herrera, Spain and Nemanja Matic, Serbia
The duo was not at their best against Liverpool but are likely to keep their places in the starting XI. Matic has been very effective in most games this season while Herrera is likely to do well against an opposition who are technically much inferior to him.
Right Wing: Juan Mata, Spain
The Spaniard was dropped for the Liverpool game and he was sorely missed as United failed to stitch together a string of passes in the opposition box. He is a no-brainer for this one though.
Central Attacking Midfield: Heinrikh Mkhitaryan, Armenia
Mkhitaryan has been frustratingly poor in the last few games and he is in a do-or-die scenario right now. If he falters in this game, he is likely to spend a more time on the bench with the likes of Jesse Lingard getting a chance on the right wing, bringing Mata back to his favoured No. 10 role.
Left Wing: Anthony Martial, France
Martial put in quite a shift against the Merseysiders and impressed almost every United fan out there. He was not given much room up front but he repeatedly tracked the runs of Liverpool forwards and helped sort the defence out on a number of occasions. The former AS Monaco player is gradually maturing as a player and against a poor opposition, he is likely to have more joy in the final third of the pitch.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku, Belgium
The Belgian was completely isolated against Liverpool and although he did have one decent chance, he failed to score from it. Despite his poor show, his stat of scoring 16 goals in 18 games for club and country this season makes for decent reading and he will be looking to build on his impressive Champions League form by putting a few past the Benfica defence.