United team news for Villa trip
Manchester United’s squad will be stretched to the limit over the next week, with three key Premier League fixtures on the horizon.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already expressed his displeasure that we have to play Aston Villa, Leicester and Liverpool within the space of five days, suggesting that no individual player will be able to cope with a full 90 minutes across all of those games, especially when Thursday’s Europa League tie in Rome is thrown into the reckoning.
That means the ever-present league record of Harry Maguire is under threat, although it remains to be seen in which of the games Solskjaer will opt to stray away from his first-choice line-up, with his captain at the heart of it.
“Harry Maguire, he’s played every minute for us in the Premier League since he came,” said the manager.
“I don’t think that’s possible now. That’s another stat that he could have been very, very proud of but I can’t really see that happening now.”
As far as Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa is concerned, Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay could be prime candidates to come back into the side, as they were unused substitutes at the Stadio Olimpico.
Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were also afforded the second half off, perhaps with the Villa Park fixture in mind, but the boss suggested post-match that there were no ill effects from the second leg generally.
What we do know is that Anthony Martial and Phil Jones will miss the game against the Premier League’s 10th-placed side, although the former is making good progress on his recovery from a knee injury.
There are also some doubts about Daniel James, who was absent in Rome with an issue Solskjaer has previously suggested will keep him out ‘for a little while’.
“You’ve just got to go game by game, one step at a time. We’ve been handed a very bad hand,” Ole told club media. “The cards are not very good because the intensity of the Premier League is so, so high and the quality is so high.
“We’ve just got to make sure we tick one off at a time. But the players are ready for it, I’m ready for it, the coaches are ready for it. It’s a challenge we’ll take head on.
“It’s not like we’ll just throw the toys out of the pram and feel sorry for ourselves. That’s not the way we are.
“But I had to express how unhappy I am with how they can risk injuries for the players. That’s what I’ve got to look after. I’ve got to look after them.”
ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS
Talismanic skipper Jack Grealish will miss a 12th consecutive league game for the home side. The England international hasn’t featured since mid-February due to a shin problem and manager Dean Smith ruled him out of contention on Friday morning.
“He’s out on the grass loading the injury, so he’s on his way back,” said Smith. “This game is too soon for him. He starts training with the group tomorrow, so it’s too soon to put him in against Manchester United. As I’ve said many times, we want him back as soon as possible, but we’ve got to do it right.”
Trezeguet is out for the season after damaging knee ligaments in a recent defeat to Liverpool, while midfielder Morgan Sanson is yet to return to training as he recovers from his own knee issue.