Jose Mourinho Claims He Has Just Three Fit Defenders for Arsenal Clash

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In about two hours the Manchester United Twitter account will post the starting XI for today’s crunch clash at home against Arsenal FC. The first team list will likely look unique to say the least. You might see some midfielders in defense, among other oddities. That’s because United manager Jose Mourinho claims he has only three defenders fit to play tonight.

There is of course a small possibility that Jose Mourinho is trying to play some mind games (as he’s been infamous for that over the course of his career), or he might legitimately have a full blown injury crisis on his hands. Or it could be a situation that’s a hybrid of the two.

Mourinho says his selection process will go down to the wire, as Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Diogo Dalot, none of which are first team regulars, are the only defenders who are absolutely available to play.

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“Against Southampton, three hours before the game I didn’t know the team I was going to play. Nobody knew the team and ourselves we didn’t know yet,” said Mourinho.

“We were waiting to see who could and couldn’t [play] and I think we are going to be in a similar situation. If you asked me at 11 a.m. [on Tuesday] I would say Smalling is not playing, Bailly is not playing, Jones is not playing.”

“Of course, Lindelof is out of the question. Valencia is not playing, Shaw is a doubt, Darmian is back but I have to wait and maybe we decide like the last match a couple of hours before the game,” Mourinho added.

In the last contest, a 2-2 draw at Southampton, Mourinho had to resort to playing midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in defense. It’s possible that could happen again tonight with Ashley Young suspended, Victor Lindelof a long-term absentee and captain Antonio Valencia apparently out.

Additionally, central defenders Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling are all doubts.

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Arsenal vs Manchester United FYIs

Kickoff: Wednesday December 5, 8pm local, Old Trafford

Win probability according to Google: United 41%, Arsenal’s 32%,  The draw probability is estimated at 27%.

Odds according to Betway: United are favored to win, backed at 11/8. Arsenal are backed at 19/10 while odds for a draw are 5/2

Starting XI Predictions: Arsenal     Manchester United

Injury/Unavailable Report: go to this link 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation. 

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Lineups.com and Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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  1. Arsenal we win the macher

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