After the toils of the international break, the Premier League is back with a bang this weekend when Manchester United come up against Arsenal at lunchtime on Saturday.
Despite Arsene Wenger’s wretched record vs Jose Mourinho, there will actually be more pressure on Man United’s boss to walk away from Old Trafford with three points.
The Red Devils’ have made an inconsistent start to life under Mourinho and are already six points behind Saturday’s fourth-placed opponents after 11 games.
The summer arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mourinho as manager were supposed to restore United at the summit of English football but it hasn’t turned out that way.
Midway through November and the Portuguese boss is still no closer to knowing his best team – a factor which certainly hasn’t helped their form of late.
But one ex-United legend who is never shy to offer his opinion thinks Mourinho needs to start playing one of his rotational players more frequently, GiveMeSport reports.
Gary Neville has produced an in-depth piece for Sky Sports previewing the heavyweight Premier League clash and believes his former team look a much stronger outfit with Michael Carrick in the starting XI.
“Carrick is almost never going to be star of the show, but I always get the feeling that when Michael is in the team, the team play better. That was the feeling when I was there, and since I’ve left,” Neville said.
“He has the habit of bringing the best out of other players. That’s through the control he brings, the composure, the experience, the defensive and positional play that some people don’t always spot because it’s not a sliding tackle or aggressive header.
“You won’t find many people that have a bad word to say about him, he’s a fantastic player, and the big thing is he makes the team tick a lot better.
“I’d be surprised if we didn’t see him play on Saturday. We’ve had an international break where he isn’t involved, he’s had the time for preparation, and could be important for United on Saturday.”
The statistics would appear to back up Neville’s claims too. Man United have won all six matches that Carrick has played a part of.
However, just two of those appearances have come in the Premier League and now United face a tough fight to get back into the top four, it might be worth Mourinho turning to this season’s lucky charm more frequently.
As well as Carrick’s form, the Man United manager will also be encouraged after his opposite number confirmed right-back Hector Bellerin has been ruled out of the encounter.
Furthermore, Wenger admitted a decision is yet to be made on Alexis Sanchez’s involvement but the Chile international is expected to be fit enough to play.