By Mark Weasley
Manchester United kick off their hectic pre-season schedule against LA Galaxy on Saturday at the StubHub Centre in Los Angeles, in a game that could hand unofficial debuts to the two summer arrivals so far, Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku.
Training at UCLA, The Red Devils have had a hectic training schedule under the sweltering California sun, and will be looking to get off to a winning start in the first leg of their US tour. We take a look at a potential starting eleven for the match.
Jose Mourinho had confirmed that David de Gea and Joel Pereira will be in goal for 45 minutes each in the clash but De Gea is expected to feature from the start despite speculation about his future as Real Madrid look set to bid for him yet again in this summer’s transfer window.
Summer arrival, Victor Lindelof is expected to partner Eric Bailly in the heart of the defence in what promises to be a long-term central defensive partnership. Lindelof is expected to be the aerial threat while Bailly is expected to deal with ground movements. Matteo Darmian should play from the left hand side of defence as Luke Shaw still works his way to full fitness, while on the right hand side, Antonio Valencia is expected to start, following his exploits last season.
New captain, Michael Carrick is expected to start for the first time after news of his captaincy, following the exit of the legendary Wayne Rooney. Partnering him should be world record signing, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. The trio worked well last season and should offer solidity, creativity and balance in tandem with one another. Pogba has looked very sharp and committed in training so far, and should dominate against the MLS side.
Juan Mata is expected to start this one as he looks to ramp up the fitness ahead of a pivotal season for him. Despite their previous rocky relationship at Chelsea, he has grown into an influential figure for the manager on the pitch.
On the other flank, Jesse Lingard is set to start as there are doubts about the fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who modelled the club’s new kit with a visible protruding belly after coming back from holidays.
Upfront, Romelu Lukaku is set for his debut after his big money move from Everton. The Big Belgian should get to work straight away after looking sharp in training.
Probable lineup: De Gea, Darmian, Lindelof, Bailly, Valencia, Pogba, Herrera, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Lukaku