Manchester United round off a hectic 22 day period comprising of seven games – winning all but one – with a clash at home to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon before the international break starts again.
Wins over FC Basel, Everton, Burton Albion, Southampton and CSKA Moscow in recent weeks have kept United firmly on the right path during the early stages of the campaign, level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table. The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial are in scintillating form, spearheading a relentless, powerful approach engendered by Mourinho that appears to be developing every day.
But it has come at a cost. The 54-year-old has had to deal with a steady stream of injuries percolating his squad, leaving him with limited options ahead of the clash with Roy Hodgson’s men. Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba, Phil Jones are all likely to miss the clash while Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial are doubts. Others, meanwhile, will face a quick turnaround following Wednesday’s trip to Moscow – something Mourinho has bemoaned during the week.
Needless to say, he will need to take measures to ensure that United’s performance doesn’t go flat against a Palace side that will sit back and look to hit them on the counter. Both Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata, along with Antonio Valencia, will be expected to return to the starting line-up after not starting in Moscow, with the latter pair not featuring whatsoever. The raw power offered by teenager over on the left hand side, combined with the dynamic offered by Mata and Valencia on the right, will be crucial to pinning Palace back and gaining a strong foothold in the game.
And with that in mind, here is our predicted XI for the game against the bottom side on Saturday afternoon.