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Champions League Preview: Manchester United vs Villarreal

Manchester United vs Villarreal | Champions League Group Stage | Old Trafford | KO 20:00 GMT | BT Sport

Manchester United find themselves in a compromising situation; they have lost three out of their last four matches and have failed to score in their last two.

They now face a Villarreal side at Old Trafford on Wednesday, who are unbeaten in seven competitive matches and defeated The Reds in the Europa League final back in May.

United must win this match, following their embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League opener, and to make matters worse, they could be without three key players.

How do Manchester United look?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men picked up a couple of unfortunate injuries in the weekend’s defeat to Aston Villa.

Left back Luke Shaw was forced off with a first half injury, and did not train with the squad on Tuesday, making him a doubt for the clash with Villareal, whilst captain Harry Maguire, who picked up a knock in the second half, was also absent from training.

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Speaking on the pair, Solskjaer said “It looks like Harry is definitely out. Luke, we might give a chance to, but he didn’t train this morning. So maybe the best-case scenario is he will join us on the bench”.

The obvious replacement for Shaw would be Alex Telles, however his poor performance against West Ham United in last week’s Carabao Cup defeat will not install confidence in the makeshift defence.

Victor Lindelöf is in line to replace Maguire, although Eric Bailly may also feel like he deserves to be the one to partner Raphael Varane.

The third United defender definitely out is Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has received a suspension following his nasty challenge away in Switzerland last time out.

Diogo Dalot, who has recently returned from a loan spell at AC Milan, is all but guaranteed to take the right full-back spot.

Solskjaer can not afford to rotate his team much more than the three enforced changes, as he will know that a win is vital in his side’s chances of progressing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo are both still out but are stepping up their recoveries in individual training sessions.

Opposition: Villarreal

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The ‘draw specialists’, Villarreal have tied five out of their six La Liga matches this season, winning the other, meaning they are unbeaten in the league.

Unai Emery’s side defend well as a team, having the second-best defensive record in the Spanish top division, with only Sevilla being less penetrable than them this campaign.

United fans will have bad memories of the last time the two sides faced, when the away side beat The Reds in the Europa League final on penalties last season.

Gerard Moreno, who scored Villarreal’s goal in last season’s final, is out with an injury, a huge blow for the Spanish side.

Key Stats

Manchester United and Villarreal have faced each other five times, each of them ending in a draw after 90 minutes, including the final in Gdansk, meaning a cagey affair may be on the cards.

Prediction

Manchester United 1-0 Villarreal.

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