Manchester United will kick off their 2017/18 season against West Ham United knowing they need to make a statement in front of goal.
They finished off their first season under Jose Mourinho in glorious fashion, claiming the Europa League in Stockholm, but notably struggled for potency in the Premier League, slumping to sixth spot.
West Ham were one of the many teams Man United failed to finish off at home last season, managing just a 1-1 draw, and a repeat of that on Sunday would create a gloomy feeling of familiarity.
With that in mind, here are three players Mourinho must start on Sunday.
The Belgian has wasted no time showing the watching world why United splashed out £75m on him over the summer, complimenting three goals in pre-season with a 62nd minute strike against Real Madrid. He could have claimed a brace but his composure eluded him.
Either way, Lukaku has already shown a capacity to be in the right place at the right time – an inbuilt knowledge of where the ball will go and the awareness to get there before anyone else. United’s prospects this season rest largely on his big shoulders and a goal on Sunday would be the perfect way to set the wheels in motion.
Mourinho’s best defender last season – and in pre-season – was forced to sit out of the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Madrid on Tuesday but will be raring to go against West Ham.
His seamless transition into English football was nothing short of spectacular and supporters will hope to see him make even further steps this year. And he will need to be at his imperious best to keep Javier Hernandez quiet on his return to Old Trafford.
The 19-year-old made the difference on the left hand side against West Ham back in January and did the same against Madrid earlier this week. His ability to bend the entire complexion of an encounter in United’s favour with a few powerful runs cannot be underestimated. We have a superb, exciting talent on our hands.
Mourinho chose to bench him in favour of the more defensively orientated Jesse Lingard in Skopje in attempt to thwart Madrid’s firepower, but he will want to grab West Ham by the jugular on Sunday, and Rashford has demonstrated his game-changing nous on too many occasions to be left out.