Eric Bailly
Bailly back in contention for crucial Sevilla trip. Getty


  • The Ivory Coast defender returned from injury late on against Huddersfield.
  • Jose Mourinho has Pogba and Ander Herrera available if he opts for a 4-3-3 system.

Eric Bailly could partner Chris Smalling at the heart of Manchester United's defence when they take on Sevilla on Wednesday [21 February].

United's backline has come under intense scrutiny following a number of high profile errors in recent weeks with the return of Bailly after a three-month layoff coming at just the right time. The Ivory Coast international came off the bench for the final minutes of the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday [17 February] with ESPN last week suggesting Jose Mourinho has been eager for him to start in Seville for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie.

With Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones not available, the manger may have little choice but to opt for that pairing. Both defenders were ruled out of the weekend's FA Cup victory at the John Smith's Stadium with Mourinho suggesting neither man has "any chance" of recovering in time for Wednesday night.

Victor Lindelof is also available however and after completing a relatively untroubled 90 minutes against Huddersfield, the Swede could also be given the nod. Antonio Valencia has also travelled and is almost certain to reclaim his role at right-back.

Mourinho reverted to a 4-3-3 formation at the weekend and with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera both available this evening, he has the options to set up that way again and avoid being overrun in midfield.

Pogba missed out through illness on Saturday following a week where his relationship with the manager was questioned in the press, but trained with his teammates as normal this week with Mourinho suggesting he is available for selection. Of course, Mourinho insisted the day before the Huddersfield game that the France international would play against the Terriers only for that to fall by the wayside, so perhaps we should take those comments with a pinch of salt until we see the former Juventus man named in the starting XI.

Manchester United XI vs Sevilla

Michael Carrick played the full 90 minutes five days ago, his first full match since September. Another start seems unlikely so soon, leaving Mourinho with the options of Scott McTominay or Ander Herrera, fit again after a muscular injury, to join Pogba and Nemanja Matic in that midfield three.

After linking up encouragingly against Huddersfield, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez are showing early signs of being an impressive combination in support of Romelu Lukaku. Since Sanchez's arrival, United have looked at their best cohesively in attack when Mata is on the pitch. Mourinho appears to still be mulling over the best way to utilise both the Chile international and Anthony Martial but with Mata operating from the right, United might have their closest thing resembling a balanced attack for the time being.

Marcus Rashford is also fit again after recovering from a muscular injury but with Martial likely to be the first man called upon if Mourinho requires a change in attack, his opportunities could be limited at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.