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Manchester United confirmed line-up vs Middlesbrough: Fellaini starts as Smalling returns for hosts

Manchester United welcome Middlesbrough to Old Trafford for their final game of 2016 as Jose Mourinho’s side look to make it five consecutive Premier League wins.

The Portuguese tactician welcomes back Chris Smalling into his starting line-up as the England international is handed the captain’s armband with the surprisingly reliable partnership of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo broken up for this encounter.

Elsewhere, there’s a start for Marouane Fellaini, much to the annoyance of countless United fans who voiced their displeasure on Twitter in response to the team sheet being released.

With no Michael Carrick alongside Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba, it will be a test to see if the Belgian can fill in and do the role asked of him effectively to help United maintain their impressive recent form.

Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan starts along with Anthony Martial as they will look to provide creativity behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the influential Swede hoping to extend his stunning goalscoring form in recent weeks to continue to fire the Red Devils up the Premier League table.

It won’t be easy against an organised and stubborn Boro side, with Alvaro Negredo spearheading their attack with Adama Traore undoubtedly likely to be the biggest threat on the counter attack for the visitors.

United will be confident of signing off on 2016 with a victory, but with four points still separating them and the top four, they can ill-afford to be complacent and slip up and Mourinho will hope that his changes deliver results.

More Stories Chris Smalling Henrikh Mkhitaryan Jose Mourinho Marouane Fellaini