Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Burton Albion on Wednesday night served as a powerful reflection of the sheer strength in depth running through Jose Mourinho’s side.
Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and David de Gea were all left out, yet United’s line-up was still imposing, with Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera controlling proceedings in the middle.
Mourinho recently urged Carrick and Herrera to be patient for Premier League opportunities, noting that Fellaini and Matic were in the form of their lives.
And with that in mind, here is a potential XI for the trip to Southampton on Saturday including the aforementioned duo starting in midfield.
United fans have witnessed an array of different midfield combinations over the last few years, from Phil Jones to Robin van Persie, but one thing that has always lacked is a sense of stature and brute strength.
And Mourinho has ruthlessly addressed this area, deploying Matic as a deep-lying, all-seeing, devastatingly effective midfielder capable of stemming any attacking movements and breaking through the lines with the help of Fellaini, who has served as a wonderfully effective boisterous enforcer in the middle, smartly manipulating the ball and bruising opponents to one side.
The Portuguese will, no doubt, place his faith in the pair once again at Saint Mary’s.