Manchester United are hoping for good news regarding the injuries Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend.

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka unavailable due to suspension, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces the possibility of going into the Villarreal clash without three of his first choice back four defenders.

Diogo Dalot will come in for Wan-Bissaka, but if Shaw is ruled out, Telles, who made his first start of the season in the Carabao Cup defeat against West Ham could earn a recall.

In Dalot and Telles, Solskjaer has two full-backs who naturally enjoy the attacking side of their roles more than their defensive duties.

Dalot has improved defensively, but on his first appearance of the season, Telles’ defensive deficiencies were exposed.

With a much-changed backline who will be playing together for the first time, could Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be considering playing three at the back?

The last time we played three at the back was the infamous loss away to Leipzig last December which saw us crash out of the Champions League.

Could 3-5-2 be the way Solskjaer goes?

Manchester United Training Session
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To give Dalot and Telles more protection, Solskjaer could well bring in Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly to play either side of Raphael Varane, who will be making his first Champions League start for United.

Playing with three centre backs would allow the adventurous Telles and Dalot to play as wing-backs and have the licence to get forward as often as they liked.

Nemanja Matic’s experience and ability to cover both Dalot and Telles could see him earn a recall in midfield.

 

But then Solskjaer has the predicament of fitting in as many of his matchwinners as he possibly can into a changed system.

If the Norwegian opts to go with a 3-5-2 formation, Paul Pogba could drop back into midfield alongside the naturally defensively-minded Matic.

Bruno Fernandes, who will be determined to atone for his penalty miss at the weekend, will retain the number 10 role.

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The big question then would be who plays upfront, Mason Greenwood has been electric this season and was at the heart of every United attack against Villa.

However, Solskjaer could well start both Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani together at the expense of Greenwood, who could be used from the bench.

In a game which is expected to be tight and with space being offered by the Spanish side likely to be at a premium, Solskjaer may opt to go with two of the deadliest penalty area finishers of the past decade.

If Dalot and Telles are going to be whipping in crosses, then there is no better duo to have on the end of them then Cavani and Ronaldo.

Their explosive movements will unnerve the Villarreal backline and with Fernandes arriving late, we should fancy our chances of breaking down the Spanish side.

It would be a bold move by Solskjaer to go with three at the back, but with the defensive issues he has, it could prove to be either a disaster or a masterstroke.

Let’s hope it’s the latter and our Champions League campaign is then back on track.

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