Villarreal vs Manchester United Preview

Must-win game for under pressure United

Manchester United undertake their second away game in a row in a Champions League trip to Villarreal tomorrow. United are in tragic form, winning just one game in their last seven. Now without manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it is up to Michael Carrick to steer United to a crucial win before big games against Chelsea and Arsenal. Villarreal are not in great form either but are top of the Champions League group on goal difference with United just behind. A win for the away side should all but guarantee a place in the knockout round of the Champions League but it’s easier said than done. Villarreal can pose a tough opposition. Not to mention United’s torrid away record in Spain. Here’s all you need to know:

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Match Information:

Teams: Villarreal and Manchester United
Date: Tuesday 23rd November 2021
KO Time: 17:45 GMT
Stadium: Estadio de la Cerámica
Managers: Unai Emery and Michael Carrick
Referee: Felix Brych

Team News:

Manchester United will remain without the French duo of Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane who will remain out for a while. Edinson Cavani is also a major doubt with the injury he sustained after the Spurs game. Luke Shaw suffered another concussion against Watford and is also a doubt and Mason Greenwood will be absent after testing positive for COVID-19.

As for Villarreal, Gerard Moreno remains out with a torn hamstring and Serge Aurier is unable to feature in the Champions League until after the group stages.

Interesting Facts:

  • Manchester United have a torrid record in Spain. They have only won two of their last eight matches in Spain with the most recent win coming in the 2016/17 match against Celta Vigo.
  • However, United have only lost once to Spanish opposition in their last six appearances (W4 D1 L1).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 5 out of United’s 8 UCL goals this season. A whopping 62.5%!
  • United have not kept a European clean sheet since their 2-0 win over Granada in April 2021.

Manchester United Predicted XI

Manchester United will change things up be it due to form or injury but changes will be made. I think Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof and Maguire will stay in the defence as Maguire is now suspended for the League game against Chelsea. Telles should come in for Shaw and I could see Henderson swap in for De Gea for rotation. In midfield, Matic was sloppy and gave the ball away so many times against Watford but also got the game moving. I would still put in Fred as he is so much better in the Champions League than the league and would play Van de Beek along side him who impressed off the bench against Watford. Fernandes should remain at number 10 with Sancho and Rashford on the wings with Ronaldo up top.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles, Fred, Van de Beek, Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford, Ronaldo

Predicted Score:

United can beat a vulnerable and toothless Villarreal. They have the ability and quality to create dangerous chances and take them too. It’s whether we have a different United to what we’ve seen this season or the same woeful and amateur side that has been battered left and right. I still think they can win this but mentally, it’s still a huge question mark. I don’t expect anything but a frantic and tight game.

Predicted Score: United to win 2-1.

Author: Arjun Handa

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