Jose Mourinho has given little away as to how his Manchester United side will line up against Manchester City in the EFL Cup fourth round clash on Wednesday (26 October). One thing is now for certain; Eric Bailly will have no role to play. After limping off during his side's harrowing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, the Ivory Coast international confirmed on Tuesday he now faces up to two months on the sidelines having suffered knee ligament damage.
The former Villarreal defender has perhaps been United's best player this season but his absence could mean the temporary return of the Chris Smalling and Daley Blind partnership at the heart of defence, the axis of Louis van Gaal's final season in charge.
With no confirmed return date pencilled in for Phil Jones and with Marcos Rojo yet to convince under Mourinho, the old partnership could be reformed until Christmas. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who signed a new four-year contract at the club last week may harbour desires of forcing his way in, but so far, Mourinho has opted to use the Dutchman on the right-hand side of defence in his two starting appearances against Northampton Town and Zorya Luhansk.
Further upfield, Marouane Fellaini is expected to miss out after he was on the receiving end of a particularly nasty challenge from David Luiz on Sunday. That could open the door once again for Michael Carrick, who impressed in what was just his second start of the season against Fenerbahce last Thursday.
Ander Herrera was excellent when he came on at half-time when these two sides met in the Premier League in September, with his ferocious presence in midfield helping dilute City's attacking impetus.
Further forward, could we finally see Henrikh Mkhitaryan return? We have not seen the Armenia international since he was hauled off at half-time in City's 2-1 defeat over their rivals with Mourinho telling reporters last week he needs to "work more to get the intensity and the real fitness to play at the high level." Those comments would suggest the ex-Chelsea boss is unlikely to throw his summer signing back in at the deep end against Pep Guardiola's side.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed 90 minutes in United's last two Premier League games but struggled to deliver any impact against Liverpool and Chelsea. If another rest for the struggling Swede is coming, however, you feel it may come on Saturday when Burnley come to town rather than in another city derby.
Possible United team to face Manchester City
Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero
Right-back: Timothy Fosu-Mensah
Centre-half: Chris Smalling
Centre-half: Daley Blind
Left-back: Luke Shaw
Central midfielder: Michael Carrick
Central midfielder: Ander Herrera
Central midfielder: Paul Pogba
Attacking midfielder (right): Juan Mata
Attacking midfielder (left): Anthony Martial
Centre forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic