Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford this Saturday for what promises to be an explosive encounter between two sides looking to make up ground on leaders Liverpool.
A win for Mourinho’s men could take them to within five points off the top, despite being dismissed as title contenders last month by a multitude of – as Jose would call them – ‘football einsteins’.
Defeat on Saturday could result in Man United going 11 points adrift, however, making this contest a must-win affair for Mourinho, who hasn’t lost against Arsene Wenger in 13 previous meetings.
With that in mind, here are three players who must start on Saturday.
Nobody – especially Arsenal’s back four – will ever forget the demolition job Rashford performed on his debut against Arsenal back in February. He was too quick, too unpredictable, and the Gunners – alongside the rest of the watching world – could only watch on in stunned silence.
Memories of that sunny afternoon will linger in the heads of Wenger’s men as the 19-year-old takes Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s place up-front. And his sheer power and tenacity going forward will be crucial when it comes to dismantling a hitherto reliable back line.
Man United’s record with Carrick in the starting XI this season speaks volumes about his unquestionable importance to Mourinho’s side: six starts, six wins. And against an Arsenal side hellbent on controlling proceedings in midfield, the 35-year-old’s dictatorial, composed presence in the middle will be crucial when it comes to forcing the issue against Wenger’s men.
The Spaniard has cemented himself as a fundamental aspect of Mourinho’s midfield this season, and this feels like the perfect game for Herrera. Furiously quick, tenacious and rife with passion: the kind of midfield battle the Spaniard relishes.