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Preview: Manchester United v Villarreal – Premier League International Cup 2016/17

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, Greater Manchester

Premier League International Cup

Tuesday 13th September 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s play their first match in the Premier League International Cup this evening against Villarreal at Leigh Sports Village. The Spanish side is currently the holders of the cup and based on that could well be a challenge for Warren Joyce’s side. United have played four matches in the Premier League this season, winning once, losing once and drawing their last two matches against Chelsea and Manchester City. Joyce’s side has lost many players this summer with some being sold and others being loaned out for the whole season, or part of. A striker is the main thing that this United side is missing, with means that Joyce will have to look at the U18 squad, who have won their last three matches by scoring five goals in each, which after last season would be something that many could have only dreamed of. Joyce will have seen many players who are currently performing well, which may suggest they are finding that age level easy and need a challenge. Against City last Friday, Joyce promoted DJ Buffonge to his squad, also utilised Ethan Hamilton, who played from the bench against Chelsea.

Villarreal have a strong side at this level, winning the Premier League International Cup last season and will be looking to retain the cup this season. United will be up for the challenge too, not entering the cup before and it allowing their players to face some of the best invited teams to play in the competition from the continent. Joyce is a winner and strives to get the best from his players and playing some of the better youth teams in Europe this season could bring out something new in his players. Normally United’s player’s would not play in a competition like this and may only get the benefit of seeing how foreign teams play by being sent out on loan to one of them. Speaking to the official Manchester United website about the Premier League International Cup and holders Villarreal, Joyce said:

“It’ll be an interesting game. It will be a good test for us.

“Villarreal won it last year and, judging from the bits I’ve watched, the teams were quite old in their make-up and they all treated it like a proper competition really. This was particularly true of the foreign sides who often played almost their B teams, as they are called.

“I expect a tough game but a clever game, tactically, and we will have problems to solve. I anticipate them being older than us as well so it will be a proper test and should tick all the boxes you want for it to be a really good challenge for the boys as part of their education.”

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Warren Joyce

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Kieran O’Hara, Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui

Defenders: Matthew Olosunde, Axel Tuanzebe, Ro-Shaun Williams, Regan Poole, Charlie Scott, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Tosin Kehinde, Josh Harrop, Sean Goss, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock, DJ Buffonge, Ethan Hamilton

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Villarreal U23 Squad:

Manager: Paco López

Goalkeepers: Ander Cantero, Joan Femenías

Defenders: Edgar Ié, Felipe Alfonso, Maldo, José Peris, Juan Ibiza, Marcos Mauro, Miguelón, Pau Torres, Ramón Bueno

Midfielders: Agustín Doffo, Aitor Cantalapiedra, Anton Shvets, Daniel Raba, Javi García, Leo Suárez, Manu Morlanes, Pablo Larrea, Ramiro Guerra, Chuca

Forwards: Carlos López, Carlitos, Franco Acosta, Mario González

Manchester United U23 Form:- DDLWLL

Manchester City 1-1 D, Chelsea 1-1 D, Southampton 1-0 L, Leicester City 1-0 W, Oldham Athletic 1-1 (3-4 penalties) L [F], Port Vale 4-2 L [F]

Villarreal U23 Form:- WLDLWW

Sabadell 3-1 W, Barcelona II 3-2 L, Gavà 1-1 D, Cornellà 1-0 L, Olímpic de Xàtiva 5-1 W [F], Al Rayyan 3-0 W [F]

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 Villarreal

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