Manchester United seek revenge from last season’s Europa League final defeat when they host Villarreal on Wednesday night.
This is the Champions League. Supposedly our ball park – not Villarreal’s – but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side must prove that after losing late on against Young Boys in this season’s opener.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off and his dismissal means he will miss this one. The manager also has two injuries concerns from the weekend after Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw went off injured in the 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
SN’s predicted Manchester United XI vs Villarreal: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Sancho, Ronaldo, Pogba.
It’s a big loss for any side to be without three of their starting defends, though Solskjaer did suggest that Shaw’s injury is less serious, and he could feature in the game at some point. That at least gives him more options from the bench so long as the left-back passes fit.
My biggest worry about this back four is Telles on the left because defensively he is such a liability. Maybe it will be the type of game that suits him because Villarreal are expected to sit back and soak up pressure.
Solskjaer trusts Fred and McTominay in midfield and he will need that trust sitting in front of that defence. The Scotland international has yet to hit top form since returning from his injury, although his presence in midfield is crucial throughout the season. As for Fred, say what you like, he’s got an engine and brings some balance to the team – along with questionable passing most weeks.
A big part of me wants to see Sancho unleashed in this one because he was left idle on the bench against Villa – the type of opposition we specifically signed him to play against.
And Ronaldo has a brilliant scoring record against Villarreal.