Manchester United can book their place in the second round of this season’s Champions League this evening when we host Benfica at Old Trafford.
We have already taken a maximum nine points from our first three games in the group stage whilst the Portuguese champions are yet to pick up a single point. Victory matched by CSKA Moscow failing to win at FC Basel would confirm our place in the next round with two games to spare.
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal in our 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light a fortnight ago.
Here is the team I think Jose Mourinho will select tonight:
David de Gea
The Spaniard has played all of our Champions League matches so far this season and I don’t expect David de Gea to be benched until we’ve won the group with games to spare.
Has been a mainstay at right-back since the international break and I think Antonio Valencia will keep his position once again this evening. He’ll provide a valuable asset going forward with the extra width and crosses into the box.
The Ivorian made his return in keeping a clean sheet against Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend and I think this match will be used to get Eric Bailly back towards full match fitness after his recent injury.
Although the Swede was in Mourinho’s bad books after the Huddersfield catastrophe I think Victor Lindelof will get another chance in the Champions League as we don’t have a whole host of centre-backs to get us through the season and no doubt injuries and suspensions further down the line will force the Swede to play at some point later in the campaign. Though he does look a long way from settling into the side right now.
A more defensive option to Ashley Young and one that is good at man to man marking. Matteo Darmian can be used to silent one of Benfica’s wide men at Old Trafford.
With Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini still sidelined I think the experience of Nemanja Matic means he’ll have to start another game despite having few chances of a breather this season. If he does start the Serbian will certainly help us win back and maintain possession as well as start attacks.
With Chelsea coming up at the weekend I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ander Herrera rested and either Daley Blind or Scott McTominay come into the starting lineup. Michael Carrick is still out so we’re short of options here both this evening and for the weekend.
I think the Spaniard will start this one out wide with Jesse Lingard potentially facing the Blues over the weekend. Juan Mata was quiet in the first fixture against Benfica but I expect him to start tonight and not on Sunday.
Mourinho will be keen to get the Armenian into form before the weekend so Henrikh Mkhitaryan should be given a start this evening. He’s not been on the best of form of late so tonight’s performance could decide whether he starts or not at Stamford Bridge.
Came off the bench to score the winner at the weekend, so I think Anthony Martial will go into the starting lineup tonight with Marcus Rashford dropping to the bench.
Very likely to keep his place up front and still be fresh at the weekend. Romelu Lukaku could really do with getting back among the goals against the Portuguese champions before he faces his former club on Sunday.
Here is how I think United will line up: