Tomorrow is FA Cup Final day, and Jose Mourinho faces a huge selection decision.
At this point most people would say they know, mostly, what Jose Mourinho’s team is going to be. Mourinho famously was hired in the aftermath of the FA Cup Final in 2016, as Louis van Gaal was sacked despite leading his team to a win over Crystal Palace.
It is a nod to the scale of the transition at Old Trafford that as many as eight people who started in that game can be expected to miss out tomorrow. And as many as seven players who started last May’s Europa League Final will be preparing for tomorrow knowing a place on the bench is the most realistic option.
It is likely that David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard can all assume they will be playing. Romelu Lukaku can add his name to the list, fitness permitting, and Ander Herrera will feel that he has played his way back into the sort of form that should see him edge out Scott McTominay, who was so impressive against Chelsea in the League game against the disposed Champions at Old Trafford.
That leaves one spot in defence and there are three worthy candidates, each of them with a claim to partner Smalling. Eric Bailly played against Watford and most would assess the Ivory Coast centre half as United’s best player in that area. However, Victor Lindelof might point to his fine display in the game against Conte’s side. Likewise, Phil Jones might feel that his Wembley performance alongside Smalling against Tottenham will be enough to give him the nod.
If we had our way we would select Eric Bailly, but we feel that Mourinho will plump for Jones.
Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young
Herrera, Matic, Pogba
Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez