Four games into the Premier League season, and Manchester United find themselves at the top of the league table on goal difference. After a disappointing draw away to Stoke City, United will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible, and get back to the winning fashion in which they started the campaign. Here are three things to look out for in the next couple of weeks:
1.) Martial vs. Rashford
This is one of the most interesting positional battles in world football at the moment. Both players are performing at a high level, which gives Mourinho a headache when choosing who to start at the left wing/ attacking midfield spot. Does he opt for the energy and excitement of Marcus Rashford or the calm and precision of Anthony Martial. Barring any injury to Romelu Lukaku, the both of them will likely get most of their playing time out on the left wing. With Mkhitaryan providing countless assists and Mata being in the good graces of Mourinho, it is up to either Martial or Rashford to stake a claim to that position.
2.) Lindelof to get his chance
The Swede from Benfica hasn’t been seen since a good performance against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. Many assumed he would be the de facto partner for Eric Bailly in defence, but Phil Jones has taken his opportunity and ran with it. Jones has been an absolute rock at the back throughout the first three games and deserves to keep his place in the first XI. Mourinho has confirmed, however, that Lindelof will get his chance against Basel in the Champions League, but will we see him make his Premier League debut soon after that? Lindelof did suffer from a shaky preseason and perhaps Mourinho has decided he needs time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League. However, if Phil Jones keeps performing the way he has, that adjustment period might last a bit longer than Lindelof will be hoping for.
3.) Ander Herrera to stay in the starting XI?
Ander Herrera was an integral part of United’s team last season, supporting Paul Pogba in Mourinho’s first choice eleven. Easily one of the first names on the team sheet, Herrera combined defensive work rate and tenacity with the ability to a thread a through ball. At times, he seemed like an extension of Mourinho and an embodiment of the Portuguese’s philosophy. However, the purchase of Nemanja Matic has relegated the Spaniard to the bench. That was until the weekend, where Herrera played his part in the 2-2 draw at Stoke, but did he do enough? Since his arrival, Matic has provided the proper cover that, for all his effort, Herrera can not supply for Pogba. The Serbian enforcer releases Pogba many of his defensive responsibilities, which allows the Frenchman to exert most of his energy in influencing the attack. As a result, United have looked far more dangerous and enterprising in the final third and have ten goals to show for it. At this rate, Herrera looks like he could spend much of the season coming off the bench.