Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mourinho rings the changes with Tuanzebe set for Premier League debut

SoccerNews in English Premier League 7 May 2017

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Jose Mourinho highlighted his prioritisation of the Europa League as Manchester United made eight changes from the Celta Vigo win for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, including handing a first start to Axel Tuanzebe.

Nineteen-year-old Tuanzebe is highly rated by United but his only previous first-team appearance came in a 22-minute cameo against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup in January.

The DR Congo-born defender was earmarked by Mourinho for potential first-team inclusion during pre-season, and with the coach seemingly favouring United’s chances of Champions League qualification via the Europa League over their Premier League placing, he will get the chance to impress for the first time in the top flight.

Usually a centre-half, Tuanzebe will fill in at right-back in a much-changed defensive unit, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and David De Gea all fresh after not featuring in Vigo on Thursday.

Captain Wayne Rooney also returns, as do Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, with the latter starting for the first time since picking up a groin injury on March 19.

Whereas United are somewhat under strength, Arsenal have named arguably their strongest XI, with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and former Old Trafford favourite Danny Welbeck all starting.

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