Both Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho could have done without their sides meeting in the EFL Cup this week.

The Portuguese in particular could hardly have wished for a worse assignment after his Manchester United team were thumped 4-0 on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The upcoming match also represents an opportunity for Mourinho however, as a win over his side’s bitter local rivals would go some way to silencing his critics.

The Red Devils boss has always made changes for EFL Cup fixtures in the past but Sunday’s result means alteration of the starting line-up will be demanded rather than just expected.

Here are three men he should strongly consider including in the XI to take on City.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Eric Bailly leaving the pitch with a knee injury was just one of a long list of negatives for United at Chelsea but it might just give Mourinho the push he needs to trust Fosu-Mensah from the start in a big match.

The versatile youngster might be only 18 but his physical size, athleticism and encouraging showings so far suggests that he is ready to step up.

The sight of Chelsea players running past a sluggish midfield and more-experienced defenders like Chris Smalling will have angered United fans.

Fosu-Mensah has shown in his handful of appearances that he is a formidable one-on-one defender and with the other likely stand-in, Marcos Rojo, far from convincing since his arrival in Manchester, Mourinho should turn to the teenager.

Antonio Valencia

Initially thought to be a weak link in the Red Devils rearguard, Valencia has defied his doubters by being arguably the most-consistent performer in Mourinho’s short reign.

The Ecuadorian was also one of the few players that could rightfully leave the pitch at Stamford Bridge without embarrassment his own performance.

Mourinho should resist the temptation to rest the remodeled winger in favour of Matteo Darmian.

It seems City will likely persist with their new system which involves three at the back; that would mean opportunity for Valencia to come forward from deep on the right hand side, forcing the likes of David Silva or Leroy Sane to defend – something they might not overly enjoy.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Most United fans will be wondering what has happened to Mkhitaryan.

There have been a few question marks over his fitness since he joined the club but the regular absence of the summer signing from Mourinho’s matchday squads, let alone the starting XI, has left most people unsure why £25.5 million was spent to bring him in from Borussia Dortmund.

The Armenian has made just four league appearances so far, the most notable being an impressive cameo against Hull City.

Whatever Mourinho’s plans for the gifted attacking midfielder in his team, he would do well to bring them forward to Wednesday.

Should United suffer another defeat with the 27-year-old absent entirely, the manager would leave himself open to criticism of his transfer policy, as well as his match-day tactics.


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