Manchester United welcome Villarreal to Old Trafford for their Champions League clash on Wednesday night.
The game is a repeat of last season’s Europa League final. Villarreal won that night on penalties, so United will be out for revenge here.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men come into this group game on the back of two consecutive defeats. They’ve also only won two of their last five games in all competitions.
Things have hardly been rosy for Villarreal, either. The Spaniards have found wins hard to come by of late, with just one victory in their last five.
An alarming stat for United supporters is that their side has conceded in each of their last five games. They’ve also failed to find the net in their last two matches.
It’s far too early in the season to be talking about a crisis at Manchester United. However, the pressure will be on Solskjaer if his side don’t start winning games again soon.
United were also on the wrong end of shock defeat in the first round of games in this group. An early Cristiano Ronaldo strike put the Red Devils ahead against Young Boys and they looked likely to win.
A red card for Aaron Wan-Bissaka turned the game on its head, however. The Swiss champions equalised just after the hour mark and snatched a winner in the last minute of injury time.
Villarreal played out a four goal thriller against Atalanta last time out. In an action-packed encounter, the game ended 2-2 to leave the group finely poised.
Below, we’ll preview this Champions League fixture and provide our predictions, the team news, our recommended bets and more…
Manchester United v Villarreal Predictions
One thing that Unai Emery’s side do well is make themselves hard to beat. In their eight competitive matches so far this season, the Spaniards have only lost once.
Of those eight games however, six have ended in a draw. It was this defensive style of football that saw Emery’s time at Arsenal turn sour.
Four of the six draws Villarreal have played this season have also been goalless. Given United can’t stop conceding of late, that will come as good news.
It will concern Solskjaer that his side haven’t been able to score in each of their last two games. That could have been a different case though, and United can consider themselves unlucky.
Bruno Fernandes’ missed penalty against Aston Villa on the weekend was a surprise to many. They also found West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in fine form in the EFL Cup last week to deny them.
There’s a feeling that this dip in form is temporary and that sooner rather than later, things will click back into place. That could all begin with this game here.
Emery’s side have struggled on the road so far this season. They’ve also only scored two goals in those four games.
This is going to be a tight game of football but, in reality, there only looks like one winner. That will depend on what Manchester United turn up, but being at Old Trafford should help massively.
Solskjaer is expected to name an attacking side here. Cristiano Ronaldo could add more goals to his unbelievable Champions League tally.
Read on for our Manchester United v Villarreal predictions and best bets.
Manchester United v Villarreal Head to Head
These two clubs have met on five previous occasions. After 90 minutes of football, all five of the games have ended in a draw.
The only time the sides could be separated was the most recent meeting in the Europa League final in May.
Gerard Moreno put Villarreal ahead in the 29th minute of the game. Edinson Cavani scored the equaliser in the second half and the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
The sides couldn’t be separated in extra time, either. After a whopping 22 penalties, Villarreal eventually won after David de Gea missed his spot kick.
The previous four meetings before that eventful final all ended in 0-0 draws. That doesn’t set a particularly encouraging precedent, but something’s got to give sooner or later.
Manchester United Team News – L L W L W
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without Aaron Wan-Bissaka due to suspension. Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo remain on the treatment table and are unavailable for this game.
Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire both limped off in the weekend defeat to Aston Villa. They’ll both be doubtful for this, but will face late fitness tests.
Raphael Varane is expected to start in the centre of defence. If Maguire isn’t fit in time for this, he could be partnered by Victor Lindelof. Diogo Dalot is expected to fill in at right back, with Alex Telles possibly coming in at right back.
Paul Pogba is likely to start in midfield for United. He could be partnered by Fred in the centre. An attacking midfield trio of Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho is also expected to start.
Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to lead the attack for the Red Devils. Given Fernandes’ miss on the weekend, it will be interesting to see who takes a penalty, should United get one.
Villarreal Team News – D W D D L
The visitors have some selection headaches of their own to worry about in this game. Long term absentee Samuel Chukwueze remains out with injury.
He’s joined by Gerard Moreno on the injury list. The Spaniard, who scored in the Europa League final back in May, will be a massive miss for Villarreal.
Former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin is out due to suspension. The Frenchman was sent off in the opening game against Atalanta.
Our Manchester v Villarreal predictions expect Geronimo Rulli to start in goal. Raul Albiol and Pau Torres are expected to start in front of him in defence.
Etienne Capoue is also expected to start the game. He will be joined by Daniel Parejo and possibly Moi Gomez in place of Coquelin.
Paco Alcacer is expected to lead the attacking line for the visitors. The 28 year old has scored one goal in the three games he’s played so far.
Manchester United v Villarreal Betting Tips
The home side are favourites to win this one. They’re priced up at 8/17 in our Manchester United v Villarreal match bets.
The draw, which is a very popular result in this fixture, is priced at 18/5. If this does end all square, that will be six straight head to heads that have seen a draw.
Given that they’ve not won a single away game so far, it’s no surprise that Villarreal are 5/1. That shows just how difficult getting a win would be, especially without Gerard Moreno.
Given the head to heads and recent form of these two, the draw looks like the obvious result. We’ll see if we can find value in other markets.
Manchester United v Villarreal Recommended Bets