It seems as if Manchester United regained their mojo with the win against Newcastle United this past weekend.
Despite the fact they conceded an early goal, The Red Devils looked dominant and it seemed as if their win was never in doubt even when they were down on the score. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from injury, Romelu Lukaku scored once again, and United at times looked unstoppable against Newcastle.
But Jose Mourinho needs to keep his head cool after this result. He needs to start thinking about the future as well. And that’s exactly why he must be wise when picking his squad ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against FC Basel. United will travel to Switzerland looking to clinch a spot on the Round of 16, although they could clinch it with a defeat as well in case Benfica defeats CSKA Moscow. And if we consider that game will start roughly three hours before United’s one, there is a chance United enter the pitch with a Round of 16 berth all but secured.
But even if that’s not the case, Mourinho should rotate the side for this game against FC Basel. There is no point in risking more injuries when there are several complicated fixtures on the horizon. In case you have not looked at the schedule, United has upcoming matches against Brighton and Waford before a tough round of three games vs Arsenal, CSKA Moscow and Manchester City to start December. That three-game slate will be quite tough, especially since the Derby against City will likely have a huge impact on the EPL title race.
Which Players Could Get Starts vs FC Basel?
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. United should get a positive result to secure the top spot in their UCL group. And while Basel have looked competitive in the Champions League thus far, United have a far better team. And rotating should harm the team too much, especially if the priority is to decrease the gap existing with Manchester City in the Premier League table.
As such, names like Sergio Romero, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata should all receive the chance to start. Marouane Fellaini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could also find themselves in the starting XI. And who knows? Maybe Zlatan gets his chance, too. The Swedish alreday returned to action last week against Newcastle. He could use more first-team minutes, although he might come off the bench to build his match fitness slowly. The aim is to have Zlatan 100% ready for the matches against Arsenal and City.
Only Mourinho knows what he will do with the team, as we are still two days away from kickoff. But rotation is always a key component of a winning team, especially in a long season. And if he wants to do what’s best for the team, then rotating the side against Basel seems like a very good idea.