Jose Mourinho met the wishes of every Manchester United fan out there on Saturday by dropping Wayne Rooney.
Well, nearly every United fan out there. In a recent poll, 0.92 per cent voted for Mourinho to keep Rooney in his starting line-up.
The Red Devils were a completely different team without the England international in the XI to face Leicester City.
They scored four goals in the first half and set season records for possession, touches, passes and corners in a game.
It all begs the question for what’s next. Is Rooney, scorer of 246 Manchester United goals, set for a prolonged spell on the bench?
Mourinho selected a front four of Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against the Foxes, with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera sitting in centre-midfield.
But such are United’s options that Mourinho can choose a number of different line-ups that exclude Rooney.
GiveMeSport offers six Wayne Rooney-less Manchester United teams ahead of their Europa League contest against Zorya. All feature a back five of David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind.
Mkhitaryan and Martial
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial both missed the win against Leicester due to injuries.
The pair have made slow starts to the season - Mkhitaryan is still adjusting to English football, while Didier Deschamps believes Martial is paying the price for a heavy workload - but if Mourinho can get them firing, United’s attack will become seriously potent.
Marcus Rashford has been moved out to the wing to accommodate Ibrahimovic in Mourinho’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system, but moving him up front could ignite a special partnership.
Fellaini over Herrera
Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have been trading the position next to Paul Pogba in centre midfield.
This formation would see Mata and Mkhitaryan creating the chances for Ibrahimovic, with Martial ensuring United’s attack isn’t without speed.
Mkhitaryan in his favoured No. 10 role
Mkhitaryan showed last season for Borussia Dortmund that he is at his most creative when playing in the No. 10 position.
He scored 11 goals and recorded 15 assists in the Bundesliga. It would seem like a waste for Mourinho to spend £26 million on the Armenian only to stick him on the wing.
This formation is without a No. 10; instead, Herrera shields the defence.
It would be a good system for Mourinho to use when he expects his team to be without the ball for periods of the game, with Rashford and Martial’s pace ensuring United are a threat on the counter-attack.
Mata playing two positions
Another formation for Mourinho to consider if he plans to use two strikers. Mata could drift in from the right to act as a No. 10 and rely on Antonio Valencia’s speed for cover if United are hit on the counter down their right side.
The purpose to this? To prove that United have options without Rooney.
And good ones at that.
What is your ideal Man United team without Wayne Rooney? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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