Predicted Manchester United line-up v Aston Villa
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made clear his frustrations with the upcoming fixture schedule after Manchester United’s win over Roma.
He told the club website: “We’ve been dealt a very bad hand and I’ve just got to do what I have to do. Let’s see how we’ll deal with it. Two games in three days, or three games in five is very, very difficult. Four in eight is impossible.”
So selecting a team for Sunday’s game with Aston Villa is going to be tricky, let alone predicting one.
Nonetheless we have a fairly good idea of who will and won’t be in.
Likely starters: Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay all sat out against Roma, while Marcus Rashford played just the last 15 minutes. All four should start this one, having been rested.
Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also played just 45 minutes against Roma, and while they could be rotated out against Leicester, they could be brought back to start this one.
Dropping out? It makes a lot of sense to rest Edinson Cavani from the start for this fixture, considering his age and long-term importance to the team. Eric Bailly won’t be pushed with his fitness record, and David de Gea will also make way.
Paul Pogba could also be rested, with a view to the following game against Leicester.
A return for Mata?
If Dan James remains out injured, and Greenwood plays up front, there will be a gap on the right wing. Expect to see Juan Mata return to the starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League in 2021.
Nemanja Matic could also feature in midfield, with Fred being rested. It is a juggling act for United, and Solskjaer has to work with the hand he has been dealt.
The game also provides an opportunity for the likes of Matic and Mata to stake their claims for a more regular spot. The hopes of playing in the Europa League final should spur the fringe players on.
A look ahead to Leicester…
United could bring back David de Gea, Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani to the starting line-up against Leicester.
There could be further rotation too, with Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles getting chances.
United have to get these selections right, and a win over Villa would make life a little easier for the following matches, with the team in a stronger league position, closer to wrapping up Champions League qualification.
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