By Mark Weasley
The story of the Premier League season so far has been the dominance of Manchester United as the Red Devils have taken the division by storm, winning our first 3 matches, the only team to achieve that feat. The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Henrrikh Mkhitaryan have been brilliant, but Phil Jones deserves to be mentioned in the same bracket.
The 25 year old England international has looked imperious at the back alongside Eric Bailly, as United have failed to concede a goal in 3 matches. Jose Mourinho deserves credit for getting the best out of him, but at some point, he has to rest as the manager revealed after the Leicester City game that Jones has complained about an ankle problem.
We take a look at how Man United could file without with the England international:
David de Gea has swatted anything bearing the semblance of goal in front of him and is the undisputed first choice at the club. The 26 year old Spanish No. 1 is highly rated by manager, Jose Mourinho and is one of the best in the world in that position.
Phil Jones being out means that Jose may likely go for a three at the back system featuring the likes of Smalling, Bailly and new signing, Victor Lindelof. The Sweden international has not been named in any matchday squad since his shocking performance in the 2-1 European Super Cup defeat at the hands of Real Madrid and is being taken out of the fitting line by Mourinho, who did the same with Henrikh Mkhitaryan before the Armenian flourished. Smalling should also start in a back three in the right center half position with Ivorian, Bailly at the left.
A midfield quintet is expected as the wing backs will offer more going forward. The likes of Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind will offer width from right and left side of midfield respectively. A central midfield trio of Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera should feature as all three can function as a trio instead of the pair Jose is using Matic and Pogba currently. Herrera and Carrick have barely featured in the 4-2-3-1 formation but in a 3-5-2, they will be key as there are many matches to be played this season.
In the attack, there should be a front two of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford as the pair have shown chemistry and symmetry. Lukaku has hit the ground running since his £75m move from Everton earlier in the summer, and will find an able partner in Marcus Rashford. The 19 year old youngster came off the bench to change the game against Leicester on Saturday and is clearly and highly rated by manager, Jose Mourinho.
Probable lineup: De Gea, Smalling, Lindelof, Bailly, Valencia, Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Blind, Lukaku, Rashford.