Who plays in defence?
Jose Mourinho said Matteo Darmian, Diogo Dalot and Marcos Rojo might be his only fully fit defenders for the visit of in-form Arsenal, but you suspect one or two of those on the sidelines will do all they can to play in such a huge game.
Do not be surprised if they start.
Will a youngster get the call?
It is often forgotten that Louis van Gaal only relied on the academy because of an injury crisis in his final months at United. So much so that Guillermo Varela, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, James Weir and Marcus Rashford all went on to play in a 3-2 win against Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2016.
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With so few defenders available, you wonder whether Mourinho will follow suit after previously taking Ro-Shaun Williams on the club’s pre-season tour of the US.
Williams, Regan Poole, Lee O’Connor and Tyrell Warren have been regulars in the reserves this season and surely one of them is in with a shout of making the match day squad. Even if Mourinho sticks with Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in a three-man defence.
Mourinho needs a masterclass
Unai Emery has never got the better of Jose Mourinho on the touchline but his Arsenal side head to Old Trafford full of confidence after extending their unbeaten run to 19 games following an impressive win in the north London derby.
United’s struggles have come against teams they are expected to beat – Brighton, Wolves, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Southampton – but they have yet to beat a top four rival this season.
Mourinho came within seconds of becoming the first manager to defeat Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea in October and needs to remind the world he can outfox the league’s in-vogue managers.
A must-win game
A year ago, United were preparing for a huge Manchester derby with their title ambitions, technically, still alive. Now, Mourinho’s side could find themselves 11 points off the top four if they lose to Arsenal. That would be some fall after just 15 league games played of the season.
Having previously predicted United would be in a healthier position come the end of December, following a favourable eight-game run, Mourinho has changed his target of getting back into the top four by then.
Without a league win in a month. following disappointing performances against City, Crystal Palace and Southampton, United badly need a win to keep their hopes alive.
Will the mad dogs emerge?
Marcus Rashford aside, Mourinho bemoaned the absence of ‘mad dogs’ in United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton. Players with spirit who press and ‘bite the ball all the time’.
These players won’t need any extra motivation ahead of the visit of Arsenal but this is another chance for them to prove their manager wron