Manchester United take on Fenerbahce for the first time in almost 12 years tonight hoping to take all 3 points and top the group. Similarly to United, the Turkish side are struggling to live up to their expectations in the league, winning only 2 in their last 7 league games. But they have been strong in the Europa League so far.
Fenerbahce have a whole host of decent players that will certainly cause United problems. However, after Monday’s clash with Liverpool and Chelsea’s date set for Sunday, it is highly unlikely that Jose will field a full-strength side against Dick Advocaat’s men.
Anthony Martial and Hendrick Mkhitaryan are in contention to start alongside Wayne Rooney, whilst Luke Shaw and Fosu Mensah could play at full back. Marcus Rashford could well get a start in his preferred central position.
Jose Mourinho’s men have hardly started the season well themselves, having won only 3 in their last 8 games. But the Portuguese was quizzed about Fenerbahce’s poor start to the season, and has no doubt their opponents will find form when it matters.
“Fenerbahce at the end of the season will be where they have to be.” Said Mourinho.
“Everybody knows that the Turkish league is getting better and better and better and some of the teams not from Istanbul are coming up step-by-step. But in the end Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce will be where they should be. It’s just a question of time.”
“I look at the manager and I see experience, I look at the players and I see quality. It’s a big team and a difficult opponent.”
Robin van Persie is set to make a return to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club. The Dutchman was a hit at United in their title-winning campaign, and fans will be wary of the threat he possesses.
Here’s how we think United will start against Fenerbahce:
Fosu-Mensah – Smalling – Blind – Shaw
Schneiderlin – Carrick
Mkhitaryan – Rooney – Martial
[Quotes via The Mirror]