Manchester United were 2-1 winners over CSKA Moscow in our final Champions League group stage game, ensuring we enter the knockout rounds as group winners.
Though we headed into the game almost certain to top the group, Jose Mourinho did name a number of starters we expect to play in the Manchester derby as well this Sunday.
The boss also used it as an opportunity to give Luke Shaw his first start since April and backup players like Sergio Romero and Daley Blind to get a game.
However, certain players being rested and substitutions being made midway through the second half suggest we can predict most of the starting XI to face Manchester City this weekend.
Here are the clues that Tuesday’s game has given us:
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
A certainty to start given that he is our number one and the best goalkeeper in the world. David de Gea was given a well-earned rest midweek after pulling off a stunning 14 saves in our 3-1 win at Arsenal last weekend.
Defence: Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo
The return of Phil Jones is unknown, but given his lengthy absence now, there’s a good chance he won’t start against Manchester City. Jose has already confirmed that Eric Bailly is absent. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling have spent a fair amount of time playing together lately and looked good in the process so I think these two will continue in that role. Marcos Rojo didn’t play on Tuesday and I think this was to ensure he’s fresh for Sunday. Given that the Argentine has only recently recovered from a long-term injury, playing twice in a week may be difficult.
Midfield: Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard
We expect Jose Mourinho to go with a back three that turns into a back five when out of possession. Ashley Young was given a rest as left wingback versus CSKA Moscow and whilst Luke Shaw was hugely impressive he’s not in any shape to start two games in a week just yet. Antonio Valencia was taken off for the final 20 minutes, suggesting that’s to keep him fresh for the weekend. Nemanja Matic wasn’t risked against the Russian outfit given the knocks he’s picked up lately but the Serbian will be ready for this one. With Paul Pogba suspended Ander Herrera is likely to come into centre midfield, particularly as he was substituted in the second half last night to keep him fresh. Jesse Lingard wasn’t involved at all in our 2-1 win and with his recent performances he’s sure to get the nod ahead of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata.
Attack: Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial
Jose has gone with two up top in recent games and I think he’ll stick with this formation against City. The pace of Anthony Martial should help keep Kyle Walker inside his own half, or if not, give us space to exploit in their defence. Romelu Lukaku offers us an option to hold the ball up and bring players into the game, particularly if we’re trapped inside our own half for much of the game, as many expect. Marcus Rashford played the majority of the game on Tuesday suggesting that Martial was being saved for this one.
Manchester United fans – what do you think the starting XI will be on Sunday? Leave your predictions in the comment box below: