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Manchester United will kick off the 2017/18 season when they take on UEFA Champions League holders, Real Madrid, on Tuesday in the UEFA Super Cup, in Skopje, Macedonia.
The Red Devils are coming on the back of a strong pre-season, having lost just a single game to Barcelona on their tour to the United States. During the same tour, Jose Mourinho’s men defeated Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid side, albeit lacking a few first-team regulars. And the Portuguese tactician will be hoping to start off his second season in-charge of the Old Trafford club in style, by adding a fourth trophy to his kitty.
Manchester United don’t have any fresh injury concerns apart from the likes of Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw, who are still recuperating from their injuries. They will, however, be without a few key members in the defence with Eric Bailly suspended for the game and fellow defender Phil Jones missing out after being suspended for violating FIFA Anti-Doping rules.
Here’s how United could line up against Jose’s former team in the Super Cup tie.
The manager has tried out the three-man defence in the pre-season and may look to start with such a formation given his team’s vulnerability at the back.
Has been the wall in the goal for United for a number of years now. Will look to impress against Real Madrid.
The summer arrival is all set for his competitive debut for the club. Hasn’t been the most reliable in the pre-season, but it is still early days and the clash against Madrid will be a great opportunity for him to announce himself.
With both Jones and Bailly unavailable, the bulk of responsibilities at the back will fall on the shoulders of Chris Smalling. Again, he hasn’t been the most convincing performer, but there is no bigger setting than this to prove himself to the manager.
The left-sided centre-back spot will be occupied by Daley Blind. His composure and the ability to pick passes from deep could come in handy for the Red Devils.
The Ecuadorian will lead the team out in the absence of Michael Carrick. Has developed into an explosive full-back and starting in a slightly more advanced role will give him the license to romp down the pitch and pose a threat to the Madrid defence.
One of United’s best players from last season, the Spaniard should start the game as part of the midfield trident.
He may have had just 45 minutes in the pre-season, but looked the part in the encounter against Sampdoria and may get the nod as the deepest of the midfield trio against Real.
Will be given the licence to drive forward from the midfield areas and have a say in the proceedings in the final third of the pitch.
Had a decent outing against Sampdoria in the final pre-season friendly and will look to impress against Madrid, playing as the left wing-back.
The Armenian has been one of the team’s regular scorers in the pre-season and deserves to start the game. Jose has used him more as an auxiliary forward, playing just behind Lukaku in a 3-5-2 so far, and we could see more of the same.
Another summer arrival set to make his competitive debut for United, Lukaku got off to a scoring start in the friendlies and would want to have a similar impact come Tuesday.