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Ratings: Fernandes, Greenwood and Cavani save the day for United at Villa; City’s title celebration delayed once again…

Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park in the Premier League. Bertrand Traore opened the scoring in the 24th minute of the match which meant that United had to come from behind again, winning 31 points from these situations in the league this season. Bruno Fernandes equalised form the penalty spot in the 52nd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood putting United ahead four minutes later. United scored a third through Edinson Cavani in the 87th minute just before Ollie Watkins got himself sent off for a dive, earning a second yellow card in the match. Three more points well deserved at the Villa.

It was a good start for United against Villa. Marcus Rashford had an attempt blocked in the fifth minute of the match which was played in by Paul Pogba. A minute later, Luke Shaw was on the attack for United, played in by Rashford but his shot was saved by Emiliano Martinez. Villa then had a chance through Anwar El Ghazi, whose shot was off target. Fred was then the next United player to have a chance, which forced another save from Martinez. United seemed determined to get something early on and were continuing to go for it. In the twelfth minute, both Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore had chances but both shots were blocked.

In the 16th minute, Bruno Fernandes had a chance to find his 27th goal of the season, playing in by Rashford and firing towards goal from the left of the six-yard box but it was off target. United were having plenty of chances in the early stages of the half but would need to do better. Villa took the lead in the 24th minute of the match, two minutes after Mason Greenwood’s effort, with Traore finding the back of the net with a stunning finish. United would need to battle back once again this season, which is something they have done time and time again to win matches both at home and on the road.

United were creating themselves many chances but Villa were also pressing forward. Fernandes had another shot on goal in the 35th minute of the match but it was too high to hit the target after Rashford played the ball into him. In the 40th minute of the match, Greenwood ran the ball towards the box and played it in to Pogba, who tried to find the back of the net with the Villa defence panicking and managing to clear the danger with Pogba still searching for a goal. United then started to press high up the pitch with Harry Maguire, who passed the ball to Pogba, who again lost possession with Villa then countering United’s attack.

United did not seem to get anything positive in the first half, having a fair few chances with nine shots one goal and four of those on target, also having the Lion’s share of possession but they needed to show more desire in the second half. At the end of the first half, Ollie Watkins was booked for a late challenge on Maguire with the United defender clearing the ball before the challenge came in. United needed to be wary of this Villa side, who did everything right in the first half. Perhaps Solskjaer would need to say something during the break to get his side fired up for the second half with Manchester City 45 minutes away from winning the league.

There were no changes from either side at the start of the second half but United would need to work much harder to get something from this match. United started to attack again, as they were doing in the first half and Pogba worked his way into the box, threatening on the ball. Douglas Luiz fouled the Frenchman and the referee awarded a penalty which Bruno Fernandes converted, scoring his 27th goal for the club in all competitions this season. City would need to wait before celebrating their title win. It was a great finish by Fernandes who made the goalkeeper dive in the wrong direction, hitting the back of the net at the near post.

Four minutes after equalising, United were ahead for the first time in this match. Aaron Wan-Bissaka played the ball into Greenwood, who then carried the ball before firing his left-footed shot from the right side of the box into the bottom corner of the net. It was Greenwood’s 11th goal of the season but also his 16th in the Premier League as a teenager, breaking Wayne Rooney’s record for the club which is great to see. In the 65th minute of the match, Greenwood was replaced by Edinson Cavani, with United seeking to see this match out and drive for the victory. Harry Maguire was booked in the 67th minute of the match with United still on top.

Maguire seemed to get a knock a few times and despite coming back on after some treatment, came back on but could not continue. Solskjaer replaced him with Eric Bailly, which was a shame as he was not able to play every minute in the Premier League, which he had done since he signed for the club. However, that was likely to end this week anyway. Hopefully the captain is fine to continue for the club later this week against Liverpool. It was expected that he would be rested against Leicester City anyway, as that was the impression the Solskjaer gave on Friday. In the 86th minute, Nemanja Matic replaced Fernandes with United looking to keep their lead.

Ollie Watkins tried to get one over Dean Henderson in the 89th minute but Henderson pulled his leg back as Watkins was diving. It was suggested that it was a penalty but the referee saw it the other way, as did VAR and the striker, already on a yellow from the first half was send off and will miss the next match for his club. There is no need to dive when you are losing. If a United player did this, every football supporter would be moaning about it. In this instance, many will say nothing. United deserved their win and will be looking ahead to the Leicester match now with one full day to recover before match day.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Unfortunate to concede the opening goal which saw Villa take the lead. Saw his side scored three in the second half, therefore winning 31 points from behind in the league this season. Also saw Watkins send off for a dive, aiming to win a penalty. Also prevented an own goal by Maguire.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Needs to offer more going forward. Got an assist for Greenwood's goal which put United ahead. His defensive ability cannot be questioned - that is the strong part of his game.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Should have stopped Traore ahead of his goal but acted weakly. Also gifted Watkins a chance to equalise, so he needs to brush up on his defence a bit more.

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5 Harry Maguire

Did well against Villa and seemed to be at the top of his game at times. Got forward when he could and led his side well. Seemed to get a knock in the second half and could not continue. Was replaced by Bailly in the 78th minute.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played well in attack and had a shot on goal, drawing a save. He should be proud of his performances this season. He is arguably the best left-back in the country right now.

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17 Fred

Despite his performances this season, this was not one of the better ones. Needs to buck his ideas up at the club or could find himself benched or sold in the summer if a better player comes along.

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39 Scott McTominay

Was not his best performance for United and I feel he should find a way to find his form as he has shown glimpses of that this season, especially if he wants to start in Gdansk in just over a fortnight.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Had some involvement in the match but does not seem to have benefited from more than a week with no football. Got an assist for Cavani's goal at the end of the match but needs to start scoring himself.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Performed towards the best of his ability and had a few shots on goal in the first half. Scored the penalty, which saw United level in the 52nd minute of the match and helped United find another which happened minutes later. He was replaced by Matic in the 86th minute of the match with United seeing out their lead, but they scored a minute after the substitution, securing their lead and win.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played well with Shaw just behind him and got into some good positions. Won the penalty which saw United go level. Lost the ball at times, but it happens.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played well as the striker against Villa. Was unlucky at times but got United ahead in the 56th minute of the match, scoring his 11th goal of the season and breaking Rooney's record of 15 Premier League goals as a teenager at the club. He was replaced by Cavani in the 65th minute.

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Substitutes

7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 65'. Unplayable. Perhaps should have started but fatigue from Thursday needs to be managed, so it was right for him not to. Scored his 15th goal of the season, scoring his eighth goal in seven matches.

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3 Eric Bailly

Replaced Maguire 78'. Needs a good defensive outing, which he might get on Tuesday. Made some last-ditch blocks and clearances.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fernandes 86'. Came on to sure up the defence and did what he needed to do, even if it was a cameo appearance.

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Goals: Bertrand Traore 24′; Bruno Fernandes 52′ penalty, Mason Greenwood 56′, Edinson Cavani 87′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 56′, Marcus Rashford 87′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (Bailly 78′), Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes (Matic 86′), Pogba; Greenwood (Cavani 65′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Van de Beek

Bookings: Ollie Watkins 45+1′, 89′ s/o, John McGinn 79′; Harry Maguire 67′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Rashford leads the attack against Villa; Greenwood, Fernandes and Pogba in support

Manchester United return to Premier League action this afternoon when they travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa. It will be the first Premier League match for the club since the clash with Liverpool was postponed and has since been rescheduled for the coming week when United will play three Premier League fixtures in five days. Earlier in the season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford and will be seeking the double over the Birmingham club – but Villa will be seeking to finish above Arsenal, which would be a good achievement for them, if it was possible. This will be a big match for United and a big week for the club.

United reached the UEFA Europa League final on Thursday evening with an 8-5 aggregate victory over AS Roma, despite losing 3-2 on the night at the Stadio Olimpico. Edinson Cavani has scored seven goals in his last six matches and the only match he did not score in was against Leeds United which ended as a 0-0 draw. It is a good stage of the season for the Uruguayan who has 14 goals to his name so far this season and he is the player that could drag United into a second-placed finish in the league the season and be the difference between United ending with a trophy this season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into his first final as manager.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

De Gea; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani

Aston Villa:

Martinez;

Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett;

Luiz, McGinn;

Traore, Barkley, El Ghazi;

Watkins

Substitutes:

Heaton; Elmohamady, Hause; Nakamba, Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace, Chukwuemeka; Wesley, Davis

United and Villa have played 51 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 36 times, drawing 12 times with Villa winning three times which really is not a good record against the Red Devils. United have scored 94 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Villa have scored just 30 goals, winning one penalty and coring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Villa keeping just six. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 74 yellow cards with three red cards being shown. Villa players have been shown 71 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown.

Earlier this season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford with Anthony Martial opening the scoring in the 40th minute of the match then Bertrand Traore equalising in the 58th minute and Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty in the 61st minute of the match which got the win for United. In this fixture last season, United won the match 3-0 with Fernandes scoring a 27th minute penalty, Mason Greenwood scoring United’s second five minutes into added time at the end of the first half and Paul Pogba securing the win in the 58th minute of the match. United did play Villa in pre-season at Villa Park, losing 1-0 which put United on a poor start to the season.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI against Aston Villa: [4-2-3-1] Greenwood, Rashford, Fernandes and Diallo to start; Cavani on the bench?

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa. It will be the first Premier League match for the club since the clash with Liverpool was postponed and has since been rescheduled for the coming week when United will play three Premier League fixtures in five days. Earlier in the season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford and will be seeking the double over the Birmingham club – but Villa will be seeking to finish above Arsenal, which would be a good achievement for them, if it was possible. This will be a big match for United and a big week for the club.

United reached the UEFA Europa League final on Thursday evening with an 8-5 aggregate victory over AS Roma, despite losing 3-2 on the night at the Stadio Olimpico. Edinson Cavani has scored seven goals in his last six matches and the only match he did not score in was against Leeds United which ended as a 0-0 draw. It is a good stage of the season for the Uruguayan who has 14 goals to his name so far this season and he is the player that could drag United into a second-placed finish in the league the season and be the difference between United ending with a trophy this season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into his first final as manager.

How United have faired against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

United and Villa have played 51 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 36 times, drawing 12 times with Villa winning three times which really is not a good record against the Red Devils. United have scored 94 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Villa have scored just 30 goals, winning one penalty and coring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Villa keeping just six. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 74 yellow cards with three red cards being shown. Villa players have been shown 71 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown.

Earlier this season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford with Anthony Martial opening the scoring in the 40th minute of the match then Bertrand Traore equalising in the 58th minute and Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty in the 61st minute of the match which got the win for United. In this fixture last season, United won the match 3-0 with Fernandes scoring a 27th minute penalty, Mason Greenwood scoring United’s second five minutes into added time at the end of the first half and Paul Pogba securing the win in the 58th minute of the match. United did play Villa in pre-season at Villa Park, losing 1-0 which put United on a poor start to the season.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Aston Villa in the Premier League at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson was rested against AS Roma on Thursday evening and has not played since the 0-0 draw with Leeds United almost a fortnight ago, so he will be raring to go against Aston Villa this weekend. So far this season, Henderson has made 23 appearances for United, conceding 16 goals and keeping 13 clean sheets. His commanding of his area is top class but he has some way to go before he’s considered as a world class goalkeeper. That said, there are supporters out there that would rather United broke a record to sign a new goalkeeper for the club – these people have no patience and don’t seem to want anything special. Imagine if these people were alive when the Class of 1992 emerged from the academy.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence did not look all that great against Roma on Thursday evening, conceding three goals altogether but two of them just three minutes apart. Eric Bailly played after not featuring for United before the last international break. Against Villa, who are safe in the Premier League, United could be faced with a few problems. Harry Maguire could break records this season playing every minute of Premier League football since he signed but these next three matches could put an end to that. Victor Lindelof needs to play alongside the captain with both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw playing in the fullback positions. United have done well this season but at this stage, they should be getting the results that need to end the season positively.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

The midfield is a problem area for United. There are players at the club that do not suit the formation and others that need to play more football in order to settle in at the club. The pivot may not be the best formation to use but it is a formation that Solskjaer has utilised for much of his time at the club. Against Villa, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba should be starting. McTominay was rested against Roma on Thursday and is one of a small number of players who have been rested recently and will be able to cope with the week that lies ahead for United with three Premier League matches between Sunday and Thursday. United have the players, in varying abilities and hopefully there will be some sort of plan in rotation.

Attacking Midfield: Amad Diallo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

With three Premier League matches in the next five days form the Villa clash, United will need to rotate their players. Amad Diallo should be given more time on the pitch, having played just 96 minutes of first team action this season, scoring one goal. At U23 level, he has played 270 minutes of football, scoring four goals and three assists, so there is some ability in there. Playing him now would be good for him and the team. Bruno Fernandes will start too with United needing another win in the league with him scoring 26 goals and 17 assists so far this season. Marcus Rashford should play in the left-wing role he has played in this season, where he has scored 20 goals and 13 assists. This could work for United against Villa.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood has ten goals and six assists to his name this season with half of his goals in the Premier League alone. Last season, Greenwood scored 17 goals and four assists, with ten goals coming in the Premier League alone, so if he plays his part in the remaining five matches of the season, he could match his goal tally from last season (in the league) and possibly seek to better it. United have six more matches until the end of the season with the UEFA Europa League final also added to their fixture list. Edinson Cavani is the best striker at the club this season, but having played on Thursday evening, I think he will be on the bench for this match. I reckon Marcus Rashford will be starting as the lone striker though.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Edinson Cavani

Solskjaer will have just three substitutions in the Premier League for the remainder of the season and with three three matches over a five-day period, rotation will be key. David De Gea should be back on the bench after his heroics against Roma. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could be available. In midfield, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could be called upon if they are needed (as they will at times over this five-day period). In attack, United will have the services of Edinson Cavani, whose 14 goals and four assists have helped a lot this season and with him being in form, also needing rest, his appearances this week could be largely from the bench, which will be good for United.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Aston Villa v Manchester United – Premier League; the start of a busy five days

Aston Villa -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Villa Park, Birmingham

Sunday 9 May 2021, KO 14:05 BST

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Sian Massey-Ellis

Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson

VAR: Jarred Gillett Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa. It will be the first Premier League match for the club since the clash with Liverpool was postponed and has since been rescheduled for the coming week when United will play three Premier League fixtures in five days. Earlier in the season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford and will be seeking the double over the Birmingham club – but Villa will be seeking to finish above Arsenal, which would be a good achievement for them, if it was possible. This will be a big match for United and a big week for the club.

United reached the UEFA Europa League final on Thursday evening with an 8-5 aggregate victory over AS Roma, despite losing 3-2 on the night at the Stadio Olimpico. Edinson Cavani has scored seven goals in his last six matches and the only match he did not score in was against Leeds United which ended as a 0-0 draw. It is a good stage of the season for the Uruguayan who has 14 goals to his name so far this season and he is the player that could drag United into a second-placed finish in the league the season and be the difference between United ending with a trophy this season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into his first final as manager.

Manchester United: LWDWWW

AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D, Burnley 3-1 W, Granada 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W

Aston Villa: WDLLWL

Everton 2-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 2-2 D, Manchester City 2-1 L, Liverpool 2-1 L, Fulham 3-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L

Top Scorers: Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani and Greenwood have scored 70 goals between them this season. Aston Villa have scored just 55 goals so far this season.

Manchester United Goals: 26 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 14 – Edinson Cavani, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United were defeated for the first time in the Europa League on Thursday evening, losing 3-2 to AS Roma but winning 8-5 on aggregate, reaching the final of the competition this season where they will face Villarreal. United have won four, drawn one and lost one of their last six matches. United have scored 16 goals, conceded seven – keeping two clean sheets. Edinson Cavani is starting to catch up to Marcus Rashford, with 14 goals scored this season (Rashford is on 20). He has scored seven goals in the last six matches, which is great form. United will be seeking another win against Villa this weekend, heading into another busy week.

Aston Villa Goals: 15 – Ollie Watkins, 9 – Anwar El Ghazi, 7 – Jack Grealish, 6 – Bertrand Traoré, 3 – Ross Barkley, 2 – Keinan Davis, Own Goal, Ezri Konsa, John McGinn, Tyrone Mings, Trézéguet, 1 – Louie Barry, Kortney Hause, Conor Hourihane

Villa have had a mixed season and a lot of their recent results could have been better if Jack Grealish was fit to play for the club. In their last six matches, they have won twice, drawn once and lost three times. They have scored nine goals, conceded ten goals and kept no clean sheets. That is not good form when having to face United, even if they are playing at home. Villa have beaten United three times in the Premier League, twice at Villa Park but the last time was on the 19 August 1995 with Ian Taylor, Mark Draper and Dwight Yorke scoring the goals for Villa and David Beckham scoring a consolation for United.

Team News: Three players likely to be out for United with three also expected to be out for Villa – this match will be tough for both teams but United should have the edge over Villa.

Phil Jones (knee), Anthony Martial (knee) and Daniel James (other) have all been ruled out of the clash with Villa this weekend in the Premier League. United have not been hit with any other injuries ahead of the three Premier League matches in the next week (Aston Villa, Leicester City and Liverpool) and there will have to be rotation during this week as not every player will have 90 minutes in them. Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Amad Diallo and Scott McTominay were all rested against Roma with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw both coming off at half time – so Solskjaer has options for this match.

Mahmoud Ibrahim Hassan (knee) has been ruled out of the clash with United at Villa Park on Sunday. Morgan Sanson (knee) has a 50% chance and Jack Grealish (calf/shin) has a 25% chance of being available for the visit of United, which does not look all that good, unless Dean Smith has something up his sleeve. Villa have been missing Grealish over the past few months and if he can be fit for the clash with United, it would be a big boost for both the player and the club at this stage of the season. Villa sit in tenth place in the league, at the time of writing and they could finish above Arsenal if they play their cards right.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line against Aston Villa? Edinson Cavani on the bench after Thursday’s brace which saw him score seven goals in six matches.

Solskjaer will need to rotate his side from Thursday evening, also keeping in mind that the club will face Leicester City at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, then Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams on Thursday evening. It is a possibility that Harry Maguire may not play in all Premier League matches since he signed for the club, which could see the record remain with Gary Pallister. Mason Greenwood could lead the line in the match with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Amad Diallo supporting him. Diallo will need to play at some point and there is no time like the present. Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Diallo will be rested after not featuring for the club on Thursday evening. Tuesday might be a different problem though.

Match Prediction: United and Villa have played 51 Premier League matches with United winning 36, drawing 12 and losing just three times.

United and Villa have played 51 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 36 times, drawing 12 times with Villa winning three times which really is not a good record against the Red Devils. United have scored 94 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Villa have scored just 30 goals, winning one penalty and coring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Villa keeping just six. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 74 yellow cards with three red cards being shown. Villa players have been shown 71 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown.

Earlier this season, United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford with Anthony Martial opening the scoring in the 40th minute of the match then Bertrand Traore equalising in the 58th minute and Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty in the 61st minute of the match which got the win for United. In this fixture last season, United won the match 3-0 with Fernandes scoring a 27th minute penalty, Mason Greenwood scoring United’s second five minutes into added time at the end of the first half and Paul Pogba securing the win in the 58th minute of the match. United did play Villa in pre-season at Villa Park, losing 1-0 which put United on a poor start to the season.

Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Manchester United prepared to wait until the end of the transfer window to sign Jack Grealish

Manchester United are reportedly willing to wait late in the summer transfer window before making a move for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. The Sun has reported that the 24-year-old still seems to be on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s radar this summer and it would make sense leaving a possible deal for the attacking midfielder until later in the transfer window, being that it will not close util the 5 October this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Birmingham club will be seeking £80 million for the 24-year-old which is a pretty high price to pay for a player who has yet to see a trophy up close and personal after winning it. It may sound harsh but that is the case with Grealish. It is nothing against him, more against his club who value him too highly. At the end of the day, Villa would fall apart if he left the club so trying to deter a club from purchasing him is probably why they value him as highly as they do.

As United seem to be making a move for Jadon Sancho, not matter what the latest reports say – everything always turns into a goal opera with United, possibly so the media can make as much money as possible by making it seem that a transfer is happening, then isn’t, then is happening again, which gets boring when you see it happen all of the time. Obviously, when strengthening the club, signing the higher profile players first of all would be a better plan.

Then, once the higher profile players have been brought into the club, and Solskjaer has gotten rid of the players that he wants to sell, loan or whatever, from the first team, the space will be there to bring in other players to replace those that have left, such as Grealish, if there is still a need to add players like him at the time. I think he would do a job at United, possibly better to have him than the likes of Jesse Lingard, who has been poor for well over 18 months now.

Grealish will need to understand that there is no guarantee that he would start regularly for United. I am sure he probably will understand as that seems to be the case with players who make the step up to bigger clubs. With United back in the UEFA Champions League next season, even though they were playing in the UEFA Europa League this season, the squad will need to be able to compete in that and the two domestic cup competitions; the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup.

The Daily Mail suggest that any interest in Grealish this summer will start at £80 million, so that being said in that way would suggest that the figure is just the starting point and that Villa would require more in order to let the player leave. The the likes of Donny van de Beek are available for around half that amount, I am sure that United will be looking around to see what types of players they could bring into the Old Trafford club this summer. I don’t think Grealish is worth £80 million to be honest.

Written by John Walker

Aston Villa co-owner to demand massive transfer fee for Jack Grealish this summer

Aston Villa co-owner Nassef Sawiris will demand what seems like an extortionate transfer fee for Jack Grealish this summer. Manchester United have been linked with the player since last summer with suggestions that the club would make a move for the attacking midfielder this summer, whether Villa were relegated from the Premier League or not. They managed to survive on the final day fo the season with Watford and Bournemouth joining Norwich City back in the Championship.

It has been stated by The Mirror that the stubborn co-owner of the club will demand United pay £80 million for the 24-year-old, which is a massive fee and one which might not be worth it. However, United being United, if they are still interested in signing the Villa captain, they could try and broker a deal and end up paying the demanded fee months after it was first stated. Unless things have changed at the club, of which I am hopeful for.

Grealish is considering his future after scoring against West Ham United on the final day of the season, only for the home side to equalise minutes later, with the match ending with Villa fraught and not knowing whether their position in the Premier League was safe or not, finding out that Watford were beaten by Arsenal and Bournemouth beat Everton but it was not a big enough victory to force Villa into the bottom three of the table. They celebrated the result, which seemed strange to see.

Grealish is contracted at Villa until the summer of 2023, meaning the club hold the upper hand over a possible transfer this summer. The player will ultimately make up his mind regarding his future, which could mean he continues at the club for another season, seeing if they can change their fortunes or compete in another season-long relegation battle, which could well be the case after this season. Grealish loyally stood by Villa the last time they were relegated and was the stand out player in their promotion back to the Premier League last season.

The player has high hopes for his career – winning silverware, playing in the UEFA Champions League and playing for England. It would seem that the first two were unlikely at Villa and with United seemingly interested in the player this summer, there are no guarantees that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will wait for another season before signing him, needing some strengthening in the squad this summer. If Grealish is a player that is priced out of a move to United, the Old Trafford club will look elsewhere with other players on the market this summer.

That is the risk that both Grealish and Villa will need to take. Personally, I feel an £80 million fee is a bit much for the player, especially in the fact that the coronavirus pandemic will have reduced player’s selling prices this summer and there is no way Grealish is a £100 million plus player. It has been suggested this season that the asking price would still be that high if Villa were relegated, which is laughable. This season, the 24-year-old made a total of 41 appearances, playing in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, scoring 10 goals and eight assists. This will be up to the player and his club to sort out in the coming weeks. United will decide what to do from there, I guess.

Written by John Walker

Review & Ratings: Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba destroyed Aston Villa in 3-0 romp at Villa Park; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be thrilled, Dean Smith won’t be

Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 at Villa Park in the Premier League on Thursday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased that his team has stretched their unbeaten run to 17 matches now, onto a flier for the remainder of the season. Bruno Fernandes scored his eighth goal fo the season with Mason Greenwood scored his 16th and Paul Pogba scoring his first of the season in a cracking victory.

It was a slow start for United with some frustration showing with Villa getting stuck in on occasion. United won a penalty in the 26th minute of the match after Ezri Konsa took Bruno Fernandes out just inside the box. The penalty was given and checked by VAR. The Portuguese magnifico took the spot kick, firing United into the leas with his eight goal of the season so far. 1-0 to United and Villa looked out of it.

United doubled their lead in the fifth minute of added time at the end of the first half with Mason Greenwood scoring is 16th goal of the season. The 18-year-old hot them on the counter. Anthony Martial did well to win possession, releasing Greenwood, exchanging passes with the Frenchman before beating Pepe Reina at his near post. 2-0 to United and surely Villa were now out of the game and on their way out of the Premier League.

The first half ended with United 2-0 up and Villa needing to find a way back into the match, which seemed unlikely. In there 58th minute of the match, United scored their third goal of the game with Paul Pogba scoring his first goal of the season. Fernandes took the corner, finding Pogba on the edge of the box, him having all the time in the world to pick out the bottom corner with Reina looking useless. 3-0 to United.

Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 66th minute of the match with Brandon Williams and Scott McTominay replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Nemanja Matic. Five minutes later, another substitution was made with Fred replacing Fernandes, who had a goal and an assist in the game. A double change then followed in the 79th minute with Odion Ighalo and Daniel James replacing Martial and Greenwood.

United will not have a three day rest before facing Southampton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Monday evening, chasing down Leicester City in the race to break into the top four this season. Leicester will need to keep winning to keep United at bay, otherwise it could be a costly finish for them this season with them potentially missing out on a UEFA Champions League place next season.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Another clean sheet for the Spanish goalkeeper, which will help build his confidence for the rest of the season which lies ahead. Its was a big appearance figure for him tonight, 399 appearances, surpassing Peter Schmeichel's record at the club with only Alex Stepney ahead of him with 539 appearances.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The fullback had a good game against Villa and could have opened up his account with a goal of his own, but it was not to be. He is a great addition to this United team, providing a lot of what the team needs to kick on. He was replaced by Brandon Williams in the 66th minute of the match.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman recovered from a back injury to start against Villa, keeping a clean sheet and not really having a lot to do at the back. He will be happy with his sides performance.

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5 Harry Maguire

It was a quiet night for the captain, seeing his team win 3-0 against Villa, the fourth game in a row with United scoring three goals of more and more importantly another clean sheet, which is even better.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back played well but I am sure some will criticise him for something that he did wrong somewhere. 17 matches unbeaten for United, which is a great result and something this team should be proud of.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian provided what United needed from the start of the game, continuing his run of good form. It might have been frustrating for United for the first 20-odd minutes of the match, but they got the first goal, scoring twice more. He was replaced in the 66th minute by Scott McTominay.

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6 Paul Pogba

The Frenchman played well against Villa and got himself on the scoresheet for the first time this season, which was a great feeling for him, assisted by Bruno Fernandes from the corner. It is good to see this Pogba back and hopefully kicking on to achieve something in this exciting new era.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old scored his 16th goal of the season against Villa, putting his club 2-0 up in added time at the end of the first half. It has been a great season for the teenager. He was replaced in the 78th minute by Daniel James.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder opened the scoring for United after winning a penalty, scoring it to put United 1-0 up in the game. He then assisted for Paul Pogba's goal, which saw `United go 3-0 up against Villa. It was a MOTM performance for me, again. He was replaced in the 71st minute by Fred.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward scored but was offside. It was unfortunate for him. He did not need to be the star of the show with the goals coming from elsewhere in the game, which takes the pressure off of him.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman could have scored in the game, hitting the bar instead, which will have frustrated him - actually it did, which was good to see as he is showing his passion and upset for not getting on the scoresheet. He was replaced by Odion Ighalo in the 79th minute of the match and did not look happy, which might inspire him for Monday's match against Southampton.

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Substitutes

33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 66'. Played at right-back once again and did not do to badly. It is clear that Williams has something to offer at both right and left-back, which is great for Solskjaer and creates more depth in the squad. He's a passionate player and fits into this team superbly.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Matic 66'. Came on to give Nemanja Matic a break after playing a lot of football since the restart. Played well and got involved in the game, despite no further goals scored after the 58th minute.

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17 Fred

Replaced Fernandes 71'. I feel the Brazilian needs to do a lot more to get into the team now with the quality in the squad. He's a squad player now, nothing more unless he produces something magnificent.

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25 Odion Ighalo

Replaced Martial 79'. Came on late in the game with United 3-0 up. They kept attacking Villa and pushing them for the remainder of the match.

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21 Daniel James

Replaced Greenwood 79'. The Welsh winger came on and played a part in the teams victory despite no goals being scored after his introduction. It is good to see him get more minutes on the pitch this season.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 27′ penalty, Mason Greenwood 45+5′, Paul Pogba 58′

Assists: Anthony Martial 45+5′, Bruno Fernandes 58′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Williams 66′), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (McTominay 66′), Pogba; Greenwood (James 79′), Fernandes (Fred 71′), Rashford; Martial (Ighalo 79′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly; Mata, Pereira

Bookings: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 40′, Nemanja Matic 45+5′, Fred 87′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Greenwood to test Aston Villa’s resolve; Pogba and Matic in midfield

Manchester United will be back on the road on Thursday evening when the face relegation candidates Aston Villa at Villa Park. United have been in pretty good form since the restart of the season and have recently beaten Bournemouth 5-2 and Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0. Villa find themselves 19th in the Premier League, closer to safety than Norwich City but still likely to be relegated this season, which would be a shame.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Villa Park, after nearly five years since their last match in the iconic traditional stadium. United have not been beaten by Villa since a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford on the 12 December 2009 with Gabby Agbonlahor scoring the only goal of that match. Villa should fear United, which could contribute to their demise.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Williams; Mata, Pereira, Fred, James, McTominay; Ighalo

Aston Villa:

Reina;

Ngoyo, Hause, Mings, Taylor;

El Ghazi, Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet;

Grealish, Samatta

Substitutes:

Nyland; Lansbury, Makamba, Hourihane, Jota, Guilbert, Elmohamady, Vassilev, Davis

United and Villa have played 49 times in the Premier League with United winning 34, drawing 12 and losing three times. In total, United have scored 89 goals conceding 29. Both United have kept 26 clean sheets with Villa keeping six. United have been awarded three penalties, scoring two, with Villa awarded one and scoring it. In total, United have received 67 yellow cards to Villa’s 67 with both teams having three red cards.

Back in December, it was a 2-2 draw between the two sides at the Theatre of Dreams with Jack Grealish opening the scoring in the 11th minute, Tom Heaton scoring an own goal to equalise in the 42nd minute, then United taking the lead in the 64th minute through Victor Lindelof with Villa equalising through Tyrone Mings in the 66th minute of the match. It was an unfortunate draw for United but a good result for Villa.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer worried about Jack Grealish’s quality ahead of Aston Villa clash

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is wary of the threat that Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish can pose against them in the Premier League clash at Villa Park on Thursday evening. Villa are currently fighting relegation with United aiming to break into the top four of the Premier League to achieve a UEFA Champions League place.

Back in December, United drew 2-2 with Villa at Old Trafford, which was seen as a poor result for United at the time and something that cast doubts on Solskjaer’s position as the manager, not with me but a certain person on fan cams, which many people seem to hate, for good reasons I must add. That said, it was a poor match for the club.

Despote Villa sitting in the relegation places, they should be capable of putting up a fight, which is something Norwich City recently did in the Emirates FA Cup clash, which took United two hours to get the result, just before the penalty shootout became a possibility – Harry Maguire scoring the winner in the 118th minute of the match.

Solskjaer, speaking in his manager’s press conference ahead of the clash with Villa on Thursday evening, talked about the threat of Grealish and his teammates, especially with a few matches left before relegation could be a certainty, not just a threat. Grealish has the talent to succeed and you can see why he has been linked with a move to United. Solskjaer said:

“The last game they caused us some problems, Grealish off the left and El Ghazi on right.

“Grealish scored a fantastic goal, there’s been loads said about him and we need to be aware of him.

“If he’s off the left, middle or right, he attracts players to him but there’s not just one player in that Villa team, there are a lot of them.”

United will need to close a four-point gap with Leicester City to take advantage of a recent slip in form, especially with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Tuesday evening. Chelsea seem uncatchable at this present time with Leicester likely to be the team to drop out of the top four, on current form at least. Solskjaer will hope his team can succeed to close the gap, ready for another match on Monday against Southampton.

How Manchester United could look against Aston Villa; Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Fernandes pushing Villa back towards the Championship?

Manchester United will be back on the road on Thursday evening when the face relegation candidates Aston Villa at Villa Park. United have been in pretty good form since the restart of the season and have recently beaten Bournemouth 5-2 and Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0. Villa find themselves 19th in the Premier League, closer to safety than Norwich City but still likely to be relegated this season, which would be a shame.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Villa Park, after nearly five years since their last match in the iconic traditional stadium. United have not been beaten by Villa since a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford on the 12 December 2009 with Gabby Agbonlahor scoring the only goal of that match. Villa should fear United, which could contribute to their demise.

How United have faired against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

United and Villa have played 49 times in the Premier League with United winning 34, drawing 12 and losing three times. In total, United have scored 89 goals conceding 29. Both United have kept 26 clean sheets with Villa keeping six. United have been awarded three penalties, scoring two, with Villa awarded one and scoring it. In total, United have received 67 yellow cards to Villa’s 67 with both teams having three red cards.

Back in December, it was a 2-2 draw between the two sides at the Theatre of Dreams with Jack Grealish opening the scoring in the 11th minute, Tom Heaton scoring an own goal to equalise in the 42nd minute, then United taking the lead in the 64th minute through Victor Lindelof with Villa equalising through Tyrone Mings in the 66th minute of the match. It was an unfortunate draw for United but a good result for Villa.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Aston Villa in the Premier League at Villa Park on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one may have made another mistake against Bournemouth, unable to save a shot after Harry Maguire was nutmegged close to the near post, also conceding a penalty, United reigned supreme in that match winning 5-2 taking all three points which were up for grabs. This match could be problematic for David De Gea too with Villa seeking to get a win which might cushion their fall from grace this season, after arriving last season. A good performance is needed in this match with a clean sheet possible, considering Villa’s form but that 2-2 draw in December could come back to haunt United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

The defence is an area which is seeming a problem for United this season, especially at this time with both Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones out of action, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo both on loan. Victor Lindelof came off at half time against Bournemouth, creating a doubt for his involvement in this match. Suggesting that he’s out of action could see Eric Bailly parner Harry Maguire. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams could feature in the full back positions.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

After Nemanja Matic signed a new contract at the club this week and the fact he was given three days off by Solskjaer, to save his legs for later matches, I think he will start on the bench, keeping his fitness for the upcoming matches against Southampton and Chelsea, resting him against Crystal Palace once again. In this instance, Scott McTominay could partner Paul Pogba in the centre of midfield, which could work against Villa, grabbing United three more points and keeping chase on a good finish in the Premier League this season.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood

The attack is United’s best area on the pitch at present with Bruno Fernandes adding some much needed creativity, urgency and inspiration to get things going against the clubs opposition. Marcus Rashford has scored 20 goals for United this season with Mason Greenwood adding 15 and with Fernandes’ seven goals, that adds a lot of attacking experience and ability to support Martial and drive United to the victory, which is what they need to be doing in each and every match this season now.

Striker: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman scored his 20th goal of the season on Saturday against Bournemouth, becoming his best season at United in the five years he has been at the club, well almost. Scoring his first hat-trick against Sheffield United had made the difference with United seemingly attacking from all angles, which will worry their opposition, especially the teams who have Premier League football to lose this season, or even at risk of losing it. I think Anthony Martial could score five more goals this season, in all competitions, which would be good to see.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Ethan Laird, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic; Odion Ighalo

With five substitutes for the remainder of the season, Solskjaer should be able to get more use out of some of the younger and fringe players in the squad, keeping his first choice players fitter than they could be. Sergio Romero will keep his place on the bench with Ethan Laird and Luke Shaw the other defensive additions, presuming Victor Lindelof will miss this match through injury. In midfield, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James and Nemanja Matic could be called upon with Odion Ighalo the only forward, should he be required.

copyright: JW