Solskjaer previews Man Utd's clash with Villarreal
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Manchester United lock horns with Villarreal tonight looking depleted. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are poised to miss out, with both players limping out of their defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday. So Express Sport will now take a look at two double acts who have a chance to shine as a result.
Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles
United have only played Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles together once.
That was in the Carabao Cup last week, where they slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat under the lights at Old Trafford.
Yet this is a different kettle of fish. This is the Champions League and Villarreal, certainly, won’t be easy.
At right-back, United normally select Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
But with the former Crystal Palace star suspended, this now gives Dalot a chance to shine.
One area where he may have the edge on his team-mate is in attack, with the Portugal international more than capable of sublime crosses and mazy runs.
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Wan-Bissaka is a good player but, on too many occasions, his final ball lets him down.
For Telles, it’s tricker.
Shaw has been so good over the past 12 months the Brazil international has failed to get a look in, often having to play second fiddle to the England left-back.
But if he can show his attacking prowess, it gives Solskjaer another option to consider.
He’s even used Telles and Shaw in the same team over the past year, too, to mixed results against the likes of PSG and RB Leipzig.
So this United full-back double act will have to make the chance of a rare opportunity to show their worth.
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Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane
So far at United this season, Solskjaer has chosen to pair Maguire and Raphael Varane together.
And that’s meant Victor Lindelof having to accept a reduced role, despite starting the season in fine form.
But this is a big night for the Sweden international who, in the absence of Maguire, is set to be given the nod at the back.
When Jose Mourinho signed him, he did so because he felt he could be one of the best centre-backs on the planet.
And while Lindelof has his weak spots, he’s still shown he’s a class act throughout his time at the club.
Often, he and Maguire have been accused of being too similar. Stylish, slick, but not enough speed.
Yet alongside Varane, the Swede could truly flourish.
The France international’s pace will offer him protection, a license to go forward with the ball rather than just sitting back and going for the safe option.
And Lindelof’s astute assist for Bruno Fernandes against Leeds earlier in the campaign suggests he’s got what it takes to make things happen with a single, neat pass.
If he impresses, who knows? Maguire is a good asset but if United can turn on the style without their skipper, it’ll give Solskjaer something to think on.
Solskjaer previews Villarreal clash
Speaking before tonight’s contest, Solskjaer admitted he was expecting a tough test.
“They’re a very well organised team, very hard to beat,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve played them five times as a club and every game’s ended up a draw after full-time or extra time.
“Of course it was disappointing to lose the penalty shootout.
“It’s indicative of them and the results they’ve had since the final as well.
“There have been so many tight games and I don’t think they’ve lost since they played us.
“They beat Elche but apart from that, it’s just been draws, with Atletico Madrid, with Atalanta, with Chelsea in the Super Cup final. It’s always tight games against them.”
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