Things couldn’t be going much better, an efficient, controlled, clinical performance at Bournemouth headlined by Zlatan’s goal, Bailly’s Man of The Match award, Blind’s calm assurance and a very impressive display from Fellaini. Top of the league and all that!
After the game Mourinho quite rightly pointed out he’s told the squad everyone will get minutes once September comes around and all competitions start. But that begs a lot of questions. Where does Pogba play? What will be the manager’s ultimate starting line-up? What will be the final squad?
With Lingard out Mourinho probably surprised everyone by starting Mata ahead of Mkhitaryan. Yet when everyone is fit or back from suspension, when the transfer window is closed and all the deals are completed, what team lines up to face City on September 10th? Does Smalling walk right back into the team next Friday against Southampton? You would think so, but you can’t leave Bailly out and Blind has played well and provides a calm anchor. It also looks as if Fellaini is a Mourinho guy, forget the back pass against Leicester, in the first two games Fellaini has been everything you want in front of the back four.
Thanks to a relatively easy start and the successful transfer window United are in an enviable position. Everyone will be disappointed if going into the home game against City, there aren’t the maximum 9 points in the bank.
But which players does Mourinho trust to challenge Guardiola for Manchester’s bragging rights? Which players may have come and gone? There are some really tough decisions ahead. Do you sell Mata to raise money for Madrid’s Varane? Who makes way if Southampton’s Fonte is the option instead?
Mourinho likes to have a squad of 22 players including three goalkeepers, so if by September 1st that squad is:
De Gea, Romero, Johnstone
Valencia, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, A.N.Other
Pogba, Fellaini, Carrick, Mkhitaryan, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Lingard
Zlatan, Rooney, Rashford, Martial, – Depay (??????)
Schweinsteiger, Mata, Jones, Young, Rojo, Darmian, Perreira, Wilson, Borthwick-Jackson – Nine players!
Wow, and I mean wow.
As the question marks suggest I wouldn’t keep DePay, I’d sell him and buy a genuine jet heeled speedster. There are lots of twists and turns left before the City game.