Manchester United vs FC Basel: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United laboured exhaustively for the entirety of last season for this moment – to be back in the Champions League.

But only when the teams are out, the talking stops, and that famous anthem booms around Old Trafford will it feel real, and there isn’t a supporter on earth who isn’t looking forward to that moment.

Jose Mourinho‘s men need to make a statement against FC Basel, currently third in their domestic division, on their return to Europe’s elite.

With that in mind, here are three players who Mourinho must start at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Anthony Martial

Some say Mame Biram Diouf is still sitting in the exact same place Martial left him on Saturday afternoon, pondering where to go from here.

The Frenchman, in other words, is in an irresistible mood, brimming with confidence and cold determination. That raw, unstoppable verve to his game is back, and he will be raring to go against the Swiss champions after only playing 20 minutes over the weekend.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The 28-year-old added another assist to his tally against Stoke City over the weekend, despite spending most of the game anonymous on the right hand side.

He was the deciding factor on so many occasions in Europe last season and Mourinho will know that Mkhitaryan’s creative zeal – that inherent fluidity and intelligence so alien to the English game – is imperative if United are to unlock Basel and better sides going forward in the Champions League.

Romelu Lukaku

He may have 150 club goals to his name, but Lukaku is yet to impose himself on this stage. The 24-year-old has never played in the Champions League before and will, perhaps more than anyone, feel the need to announce himself at this level after making a rip-roaring start to life at Old Trafford, claiming five goals for United in as many games.

His confidence levels are clearly sky high and supporters will hope to see him make that count against a potentially shaky Basel back four that struggled during 1-2 defeat at home to bottom side Lausanne over the weekend.

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