By Tommy Gorman
- Herrera a doubt after suffering late injury against West Ham
- Rooney set to be involved after return as late substitute on Wednesday night
- Aston Villa relegation could be confirmed before kick-off
Manchester United face a managerless Aston Villa side destined for relegation at Old Trafford this Sunday. United head into the fixture after an excellent victory against West Ham United in The FA Cup in midweek.
On the other hand, last time out Villa were thoroughly outclassed by a plucky Bournemouth side who were relatively unlucky to only win 2-1 at Villa Park.
Last time United faced Villa, Adnan Januzaj scored a well-worked first half goal which deflected off Villa captain Micah Richards and clipped the far post before going in and giving United their second 1-0 win in the first two fixtures. The result left Villa in mid table after their opening day triumph at newly promoted AFC Bournemouth.
United would go one point behind neighbours Manchester City with a win, before the Blues face a tricky test at Stamford Bridge against a revitalised Chelsea after the departure of Jose Mourinho.
The visitors could be relegated before a ball is kicked at The Theatre of Dreams – if Norwich avoid defeat in their 12:45 test away at Sunderland. Currently, The Villains sit 15 points adrift of safety, needing a miracle from the footballing gods to keep them afloat.
Wayne Rooney may return to the starting line up following his brief cameo appearance at the Boleyn Ground. Also, Phil Jones will most likely start on the bench following another long injury layoff.
Ander Herrera is a doubt for the game after limping off on Wednesday against West Ham and Van Gaal today confirmed that Schweinsteiger isn’t likely to play again this season. Other than that Shaw is only first-team regular unavailable for this game.
Antonio Valencia continued his return from injury, replacing Rojo as a second-half substitute against West Ham and is likely to be pushing for a start in this one.
A third game in a week for United means we are likely to see some changes to the starting line-up for this one. We predict that there will be one change in defence with Valencia replacing Rojo and Fosu-Mensah switching to left-back as he did on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile in midfield, we think that Carrick will be replaced by Schneiderlin at the base of the midfield. While Mata will return in place of Herrera.
The front three of Lingard, Martial and Rashford are likely to keep their places, with Rooney having to settle for a place on bench and maybe get half an hour in the second-half.
After the lucrative £32.5m sale of Christian Benteke, 30 miles down the road to Liverpool, Villa turned to summer signing Jordan Ayew for their main source of goals. The young Frenchman has not quite filled Benteke size-able boots, but still remains a shining light in an otherwise sinking team.
Now fit again Jack Grealish is also a rare source of excitement for the Villa faithful, however he evidently has off the pitch problems so he barely featured in Remi Garde’s brief tenure in the Midlands.
At the back Villa have been held together (at times) by captain Micah Richards who has had a variety of personnel around him whilst skippering the side in a bad period for Aston Villa Football Club.