Confirmed XI: Ronaldo to inspire United against Villarreal? Varane, Pogba and Sancho also start; Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action this evening as they welcome Villarreal to Old Trafford in the second group stage match of the competition. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in poor form, losing three times in the last four matches and are so far winless in this competition. Villarreal are not in great form either, winning just once in their last six matches. Their only win before their recent one was against United in the final of the UEFA Europa League back in May. That said, it does not mean United will get back to winning ways through – but that needs to be the case to nip this awful form in the bud as quickly as possible.

United started the season well, beating Leeds United 5-1, drawing 1-1 with Southampton, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0, beating Newcastle United 4-1 but then falling to a 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in the first Champions League group stage match, before beating West Ham United 2-1, then losing 1-0 against them in the Carabao Cup. The 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday saw United fall from grace with three defeats in the last four matches, two of which were at Old Trafford. United play two matches at Old Trafford before the second international break of the season and will need to win both of them to stop the negativity.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Lindelof, Telles;

McTominay, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho;



Heaton, Henderson; Bailly; Mata, Lingard, Fred, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Martial, Elanga



United and Villarreal have met a total of five times in the history of both clubs and United have failed to win a single match. There have been four draws and one defeat with the first four matches played in the Champions League group stages with the last match played in the Europa League final. In the Champions League match, there were no goals in four matches with the only goals being scored in the Europa League final with Edinson Cavani scoring in the 55th minute of the match – however, that match went to penalties with United losing 11-10 with David De Gea not making a single save and missing his spot kick.

There is not much history between United and Villarreal as far as players are concerned. Eric Bailly is the only current United player who came to the club from the Spanish club in the summer of 2016 for €30 million. Since the transfer, Bailly has made a total of 107 appearances, scoring one goal and one assist. United were apparently interested in signing Pau Torres during the summer. Guiseppe Rossi was sold to Villarreal in the 2007/08 season and Diego Forlan arrived at the Spanish club in the 2004/05 season. Both players did well in Spain with Rossi scoring 82 goals in 181 appearances and Forlan scoring 58 goals in 121 appearances.

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.