Match previews

Smalling And Lindelof To Start In Defence For Man Utd Against Basel

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Smalling and Lindelof will be in central defence for Manchester United when they take on Basel in their UEFA Champions league group opener on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are still unavailable to feature for United in Europe as they are still suspended. The two have started United’s four league games played this season and they managed to keep clean sheets in three games before conceding two goals in last weekend’s 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.

The duo of Smalling and Lindelof have not tasted league action this season as their last appearance came in the 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in August.

While Smalling has become the second choice for his position, Lindelof, a summer acquisition from Benfica has been overlooked by Jose Mourinho in all matchday squads for the four league games United have played so far after his under-par outing against Madrid.

The Sweden International is said to be adjusting to life in England and Tuesday’s game will be another test for him, although United manager Jose Mourinho says he already knows his qualities and will be patient with him.

The involvement of Smalling and Lindelof could have also been possible had it been the first choice pair were available as Mourinho believes their performance against stoke last weekend showed that they needed rest having played for their countries during the international break.

Also expected to be in contention for a place in Tuesday’s game against the Swiss Champions are the returning duo of Ashley Young and Luke Shaw. Shaw has not played since last season’s Premier League match against Swansea City on April 30, while Young has been absent since the UEFA Europa League semi-final tie at Celta Vigo on 4 May.

Marouane Fellaini has also overcome the calf complaint that ruled him out of Stoke game while Marcos Rojo trained on Monday but he’s not expected to make the matchday squad. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is however still not available as he steps up his recovery.

David De Gea looks set to retain his spot as the preferred Goalkeeper as against the expectation of many who had hoped Sergio Romero will get the nod.

Manchester United’s provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Valencia, Darmian, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Young, Fellaini, Matic, Herrera, Carrick, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Martial.

 

 

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