Manchester United will be looking to extend their incredible domestic away run when they travel to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are unbeaten in their last 24 Premier League away games (W15 D9), just three short of Arsenal’s all-time top-flight record between April 2003 and September 2004.
In terms of early team news Anthony Martial and Daniel James are still both doubts having missed the midweek clash with AS Roma while Phil Jones is a long-term absentee.
This how MEN writers think United should line up at Villa Park.
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A Villa side without Jack Grealish would make Matic a logical selection alongside McTominay, but otherwise the options do seem a bit limited. Pogba has to start on the left while Cavani should be rested. Elanga could make his debut from the bench against the side he played against in pre-season.
Of the next three games, the middle one against Leicester is United’s most important, so it would be sensible to save certain players for Tuesday.
Henderson, Lindelof, McTominay, and Rashford all have to come back in. Naming Fernandes as a substitute would be wise, even though United’s attack is short of stellar starting options to come in for the regulars.
Juan Mata has not started a league game since November and was last in the XI in January but is due minutes in the run-in. Amad is also overdue a maiden start and it has to happen sooner rather than later.
Guessing Solskjaer’s starting XI for these three games in six days is going to be incredibly difficult and I don’t see we’ll see more than three or four players, at most, starting every game.
One of those could be Henderson in goal, of course, and in front of him the strongest back four might stand a chance of competing regularly. That means starts for Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw, given Lindelof was rested in Rome and the full-backs only played 45 minutes.
The base of midfield can also be rotated at Villa Park, with McTominay and Matic coming on, so Fred can be saved for the two Old Trafford games. Starting Fernandes in all three games would be a risk after he played 84 minutes in Rome, so Van de Beek can start against Villa and Fernandes can return for Leicester and Liverpool.
Greenwood has the benefit of youth on his side to start again after playing 90 minutes, while Pogba can start having had an hour in Rome. It makes sense to rest Cavani here and hope he can play twice at Old Trafford, which means a start through the middle for Rashford.