Manchester United Potential XI vs Arsenal

Credit: Lineup Builder
Credit: Lineup Builder /

Red Devils will be with several young faces when the meet with the Gunners

Manchester United are struggling to field a team at the moment, with several key senior players expected to miss the match against league rivals Arsenal.

Anthony Martial and Chris Smalling headline the most recent injuries to the side, with their status for Sunday looking doubtful. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is also unlikely to line up for Manchester United on Sunday, meaning the defense will be a combination of youth and out-of-position players.

In the 5-1 dismantling of Midtjylland, Joe Riley and Marcus Rashford made their full debuts for the senior team. Both performed well, as the 18-year-old striker scored twice in replacement of the injured Martial and Riley looked composed in defense.

The home match against Arsenal will be a major test for the weakened side, but Louis van Gaal will hope his starting XI can overcome the difference in quality and take the three points at Old Trafford.

Manchester United could get one of their talismans back for the match in the form of David de Gea. The Spanish international was forced to miss the past three matches after suffering an injury in warm-ups of the Europa League first leg. But van Gaal is confident his prized keeper can make a full recovery from his knee ailment in time to face the Gunners. Sergio Romero performed well in the interim, though he’ll be relegated to the bench in the event that the world class Spaniard can return.

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The defense in front of de Gea will be far less formidable. In the manager’s words, Chris Smalling is “a question mark, but you never know.” Given the Dutchman’s high standards for fitness, it’s unlike the center back will feature. In his stead, Michael Carrick moved from the midfield to the defense to partner with Daley Blind. He had a rough go at it against Midtjylland, but with Marcos Rojo still limited for game time and Phil Jones recovering, the 34-year-old will likely get the start. One positive of the Blind-Carrick partnership will be their excellent distribution out of the back, but they’ll need to contend with Olivier Giroud in defense.

On the flanks, Guillermo Varela and Joe Riley are set to get their first taste of the Arsenal rivalry. The Uruguayan full-back has been spectacular as one of the players to emerge from the reserves during injuries this season. His pacey runs down the sideline open space centrally for the attackers and his delivery has been superb. But Varela and Riley will come up against top level opposition in the likes of Alexis Sanchez and either Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott. The young defenders will need to be at their best if Manchester United are to secure the victory.

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In holding midfield, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera have been the default starting options with Marouane Fellaini injured and Carrick moved into defense. The midfielders both picked up their level of play against the Danish opponents in the Europa League second leg after struggling for several matches.

The trio of attacking midfielders should remain unchanged, with Memphis, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard all in fine form. Memphis has been superb in the past three games, but his individual battle with Hector Bellerin will prove far more testing. He will no longer have the advantage in pace, forcing him into a more distributive role.

To round out the team, Marcus Rashford could make his second start for Manchester United if Martial is unable to play. The French international withdrew himself from proceedings in warm-ups of the last match and, with only two days between games, it’s unlikely he’ll risk further injury. Rashford performed incredibly well despite it being his first involvement, but as with Memphis, the Arsenal affair will be an entirely different level of difficulty.

Credit: Lineup Builder
Credit: Lineup Builder /
Credit: Lineup Builder
Credit: Lineup Builder /

Next: Man Utd vs Arsenal combined XI

The makeshift side is clearly the underdog against a strong side in Arsenal, but anything can happen when the Premier League rivals meet at Old Trafford.