Manchester United vs Juventus: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United face their toughest game of the season on Tuesday as they welcome Juventus to Old Trafford for a massive Champions League fixture.

Jose Mourinho‘s men are on four points after two games and, with Valencia playing bottom club Young Boys twice, need get something in back-to-back games against Serie A champions to have a fighting chance of reaching the knockouts.

Their spirited 2-2 draw with Chelsea, during which Anthony Martial scored twice to snatch the lead in the second half, would have provided cause for confidence in the dressing room.

With that in mind, here are three players who must start against Juventus.

Paul Pogba

Once again, it was only when Pogba got going at Stamford Bridge that United did too. The Frenchman is United’s talisman and his role in games against Newcastle United and Chelsea served as hard evidence of that in practice.

He turned the game on its head with his control down the middle and, playing against his former club for the first time, will need to exert the same presence on the game if United are to have a prayer of winning.

Anthony Martial

With Alexis Sanchez absent from training on Monday, it seems as if Martial, stunning against Chelsea, is something of a shoe-in to play against a team which expressed interest in him over the summer.

He has scored three goals in his last five starts for the club, displaying a measure of deadly precision and goalscoring instinct which Sanchez has failed to discover at the club.

Martial showed everyone on Saturday that he is too good to leave out of this starting XI. He has the chance to further cement himself in a massive game.

Chris Smalling

United’s defence remains a massive worry – especially from set-pieces, where both Chelsea goals came from.

Juventus pose all kinds of attacking threats: the physical and technical strength of Mario Mandzukic, the rapid dribbling of Douglas Costa, the wizardly movement of Paulo Dybala, the messianic brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Smalling, who has been United’s best central defender this season, needs to put on a defensive masterclass more than ever.

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