Manchester United v Valencia, Tuesday 2nd October, 20:00
United short on midfield creativity
Jose Mourinho went with a midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini against West Ham, but while they fit the typical mould under the Portuguese with their physical qualities, only the French World Cup winner can really claim to be an attacking force amongst them.
However, Pogba has already fallen foul of Jose after suggesting the Red Devils need to approach home games on the front foot after their draw with Wolves, while he could be seen gesticulating at his teammates in frustration against the Hammers as he found passing options hard to come by.
Lukaku appearing isolated
Whereas most top teams can rely on various sources for their goals, United have been too reliant on a wayward Romelu Lukaku to fire them to glory.
The Belgian started the season in fine form but has been subdued of late, failing to find the net in four outings, while he often appeared isolated against West Ham. He often needs a few of chances to get a goal and United appear incapable of creating enough for him to be the difference maker once more.
Has Mourinho lost the dressing room?
It appears that way. Sanchez was once again not in the squad and Martial continues to be neglected and the breakdown in relationship with Pogba is there for all to see.
With the league form so woeful a defeat in Europe could really spell trouble for Mourinho and while all we want to see at Old Trafford is some attacking endeavour, it’s not in his nature. 12 of his 17 matches in European competition have had fewer than three goals and against a defence-minded Valencia it could be another drab affair.
With the likes of Lukaku, Pogba and Rashford on the pitch there is the opportunity to play attractive football but unfortunately the stubborn nature of our manager means this is unlikely.
Let’s hope Pogba ignores the managers wishes and does ‘attack, attack, attack’, but the smart betting play is Under 2.5 goals, although we will be watching and hoping this is not the case.
*all odds are subject to change