Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof was calm, composed and assured against Villarreal, but he will face a completely different proposition away to Chelsea.
The Iceman looked in control throughout proceedings at the El Madrigal and he didn’t put a foot wrong.
He finished the game with 65 touches and completed 46 of his attempted 50 passes (92%).
The Swedish national captain also made two tackles, blocked two shots and won five duels.
The 27-year-old made eight clearances and no player made more in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Alongside David de Gea, he was United’s top ranked player according to SofaScore, with a rating of 7.7.
It was clear that caretaker manager Michael Carrick wanted his side to be resolute defensively, but we became more expansive in the final third of the game, following the introduction of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.
If it wasn’t for de Gea then United’s wait for another clean sheet would have been prolonged.
But as much as United were more compact, Villarreal lacked a cutting edge and struggled to inject a tempo to their play.
Unai Emery’s side rarely threatened to get in behind the United side, despite having the majority of the possession.
United need big performance from Lindelof
With Raphael Varane injured and Harry Maguire suspended, Eric Bailly will come back into the side for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are flying and after beating Juventus 4-0 and sitting top of the Premier League, confidence will be oozing through the Blues.
For all of Villarreal’s technicians, facing the Champions League holders will be like chalk and cheese.
The Europa League holders were once again missing their star man Gerard Moreno, who scored the goal against us in the final in May.
Without the Spanish international, the La Liga side didn’t carry the same threat.
Although Chelsea are likely to be without Kai Havertz for Sunday’s clash, Tuchel had Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku back on the bench against Juventus.
Werner came on and scored, but the Belgian was an unused substitute.
Lukaku will be itching to prove his fitness ahead of potentially facing United for the first time, since leaving the club.
Away from Lukaku, Werner and Havertz, Tuchel started Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.
Chelsea have an embarrassment of attacking riches, to go with their marauding wing-backs, who are scoring goals for fun.
Whether it’s the pace of Werner, power of Lukaku, or the interchanging of positions from a false number nine, Lindelof is going to have to stand up to the mantle and lead United’s backline.
If he doesn’t rise to the occasion then we could be on the receiving end of yet another Premier League hammering.
However, if he produces a commanding and assertive performance, which inspire his teammates, then United could come away from the bridge with a confidence-boosting result.
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