Premier League 2021/22: Aston Villa vs Man Utd ~ Sat 15th Jan 17.30 KO

jsp

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So the reverse of the cup game on Monday where Utd got a very fortunate victory to progress in the cup. We travel to Villa kind of knowing that 3 points are essential in our chase for 4th spot. For Villa season already probably feels over for them they've got a handy gap to the relegation zone they're 9 clear of Watford who currently sit 17th and 11 clear of Burnely in 18th so hard to see them being caught.

Villa will have their new signings Coutinho and Digne available not sure if either will go straight into the team I suspect Digne might with Coutinho on the bench although Gerrard may think stick the same team out again as they really gave us big problems on monday night.

As for Utd there's the long term injury absence of Pogba, Bailly is away at AFCoN and there's doubts over both Maguire and Ronaldo for this game so we will have to wait for the managers press conference for any news on them as far as I'm aware everyone else is available. I'd expect a few players to return to the start XI.

DDG

Dalot Lindelof Varane Shaw

Greenwood McT Fred Sancho

Cavani Bruno

Have to assume he's sticking with this 4-4-2 system we've used recently it certainly gives us big problems in midfield where we seem to be wide open and very easy to play through. I've assumed Ronaldo won't be fit and I think Bruno has to be played as a striker but dropping off a bit to help the midfield but with those two up top there's no real threat in behind. I'm not sure we can keep picking Rashford his heads clearly gone he shouldn't be on the pitch and even if he is fit I wouldn't be rushing Maguire back into the team.

Another full week of training maybe we might start seeing a bit more from them but they've not really looked like they're getting any better almost feels like the season is just drifting away now. Hopefully I'm wrong and Utd suddenly come to life the manager can come up with a plan to deal with the problems Villa gave us but who knows.
 

Mr C

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Judging by Monday night, we'll be lucky to get anything from this game. They were all over us.
 

jsp

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True but have they shown their hand now?

This is a problem with Rangnick losing both Carrick and McKenna who can actually tell him about the opposition as he won't know this league in great detail. That maybe is where Fletcher has come in and where Phelan needs to also help Rangnick so we can prepare better for these opponents as currently every team is having it way to easy against us. There's absolutely nothing to be afraid of when playing Utd for opponents and that's a big worry.
 

Justin Cider

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So the reverse of the cup game on Monday where Utd got a very fortunate victory to progress in the cup. We travel to Villa kind of knowing that 3 points are essential in our chase for 4th spot. For Villa season already probably feels over for them they've got a handy gap to the relegation zone they're 9 clear of Watford who currently sit 17th and 11 clear of Burnely in 18th so hard to see them being caught.

Villa will have their new signings Coutinho and Digne available not sure if either will go straight into the team I suspect Digne might with Coutinho on the bench although Gerrard may think stick the same team out again as they really gave us big problems on monday night.

As for Utd there's the long term injury absence of Pogba, Bailly is away at AFCoN and there's doubts over both Maguire and Ronaldo for this game so we will have to wait for the managers press conference for any news on them as far as I'm aware everyone else is available. I'd expect a few players to return to the start XI.

DDG

Dalot Lindelof Varane Shaw

Greenwood McT Fred Sancho

Cavani Bruno

Have to assume he's sticking with this 4-4-2 system we've used recently it certainly gives us big problems in midfield where we seem to be wide open and very easy to play through. I've assumed Ronaldo won't be fit and I think Bruno has to be played as a striker but dropping off a bit to help the midfield but with those two up top there's no real threat in behind. I'm not sure we can keep picking Rashford his heads clearly gone he shouldn't be on the pitch and even if he is fit I wouldn't be rushing Maguire back into the team.

Another full week of training maybe we might start seeing a bit more from them but they've not really looked like they're getting any better almost feels like the season is just drifting away now. Hopefully I'm wrong and Utd suddenly come to life the manager can come up with a plan to deal with the problems Villa gave us but who knows.

Shaw and McTom are suspended.
 

Cosmic Slop

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With Shaw and McT we weren't great, with their understudies this could go very badly. We need an extra body in midfield, and if Matic is coming in, we need 2 extra bodies. If Maguire is in, Varane will move over to the right side, and Maguire will be the one standing up Watkins and Ings. Varane did well against them but I don't think Maguire can sort his feet out fast enough and keep up with their twists and turns like Varane. Villa will target Telles as well, so that whole side will need some protection ahead of them. The problem with using Fred, Bruno, and VDB is they are all attack-minded players. We need a disciplined player to sit deep and sweep with Matic, which would mean 1 up top. Fred will likely partner Matic, which is not the best use of Fred but unless RR gets cheeky and deploys Jones, there's not a lot of options. VDB could play but he'd take Bruno's place, and Bruno has a creative side that VDB hasn't shown. Sancho through the middle is an option but RR hasn't used him that way yet.

-------------DDG-------------
Dalot Varane Maguire Telles
----------VDB---Matic--------
Sancho-----Bruno---Greenwood
-----------Ronaldo-------------

(effectively 4411)

OR
-------------DDG-------------
Dalot Varane Maguire Telles
------VDB---Matic---Fred-----
-------Bruno---Greenwood---
-----------Ronaldo-------------

(effectively 433)

I like the idea of VDB holding more than Fred holding, as I think we need to be defensive minded first. Our left side (Maguire, Telles, Matic) are going to get targeted. I'd keep Sancho out of the side for now, Greenwood on the outside will do more tracking back. I'd put VDB in to replace McT, someone whose job is not to create foremost but to destroy and keep the ball moving. No matter how I move the players around it looks like we just don't have a balanced team, we don't have the players we need to accommodate a CF like Ronaldo.
 

jsp

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Id like to see us give 4-3-3 a go but I don’t think we have a centre mid good enough to play that central role and Rangnick doesn’t seem interested in trying it.
 

Justin Cider

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Think we'll go diamond in midfield and hope AWB and Telles are in the wide-awake club.

De Gea
AWB Lindelof Varane Telles
Matic
vd Beek Fred
Bruno
Greenwood Rashford
Hopefully Ronaldo is fit enough for a place on the bench alongside Cavani, Lingard and Elanga as they'll be needed in the 2nd half if Greenwood and Rashford put the shift in they'll need to.

Expect us to win, just, and if we deserve to or not I don't care.
 

jsp

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I think that little spell out the team gave Shaw the boot up the backside he needed he's been much closer to the player we saw last season since he came back into the team.

I'm praying the little break does the same for Maguire need him back at his best as well if we're going to get this top 4 spot.

What I want to see is a much better prepared plan we've played this lot then had a week to prepare a plan if we turn up doing the exact same as we did on Monday night and get smashed all over the pitch again I'll be fuming. Rangnick has got to get these lot playing in a way that means we are competitive in every game not just hoping for De Gea wonder saves and taking 1 chance.
 

SuperRash

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That line up is not inspiring confidence. We were run rings around the other night in the midfield and now we have a less mobile midfielder in there in Matic.

Rashford maybe has picked up an injury.

Hope Elanga can have a stormer!
 

Sideshow Bob

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Decent first half, better than recent performances. End of the first half came at a good time, you feel. Obvious to say but need that second goal.
 

SuperRash

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Collectively that was one of our best halves of football so far this season.

Elanga very bright and he is keeping things simple. I feel at times Rashford seems to think he needs to do a trick to make a contribution.

Villa started to come into it and we definitely need that second goal.
 

IDFD

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Can we drop the whole idea this defence works without Maguire now?
 

IDFD

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Embarrassingly bad from Varane and Lindelof for their goals. No one managing the side.
 

SuperRash

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We are so so fragile defensively. We are so easy to cut through once a team has some sustained pressure.

The better teams absolutely shut that game down at 2-0. So disappointing.
 

IDFD

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A United side with Maguire shuts that down. It's embarrassing people think he doesn't make our best 11 after the past week
 

RVN

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Same old story, we never seem to have a period in a game where we are in control of the situation. We got lucky with the second goal and again Villa were the better team. We seem unable to make simple passes. This has to be Matic's last game, simply too slow for what we need right now. I also think Mason needs to learn when to go for goal and when to square it across goal. I was fully expecting a Villa third goal.
 

SuperRash

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A United side with Maguire shuts that down. It's embarrassing people think he doesn't make our best 11 after the past week
I think he should be in the starting 11 without doubt but he’s had some shockers this season, so no guarantee the result would have been any different with him in there.
 

Mr C

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Poor management of the Ole situation by the board. Waste of a season.
And probably killing next season too. Interim manager, crazy.
 

Mr C

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Dread to think what's going to happen when we play a decent side.
Elanga had a good first half, made some naive decisions and second half struggled when villa were more on the front foot. But he is young. How bad must Sancho be in training. And Donny to not be picked
 

O-Dog

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Elanga looked promising. Greenwood had a decent game, but he needs to look up more when coming into the box.

Fred did ok, but we still seem to have no middle, no easy transition from defence to attack and no real cover in front of the back four.

Both fullbacks were anonymous.

Cavani looked well off the pace.

An annoying result, but at least not a backward step.
 

Sideshow Bob

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So much for Solskjaer leaving United in a better state than he did when he was appointed manager. He is still largely to blame for the issues with the squad.
 

Cosmic Slop

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A United side with Maguire shuts that down. It's embarrassing people think he doesn't make our best 11 after the past week
it's embarrassing that the manager doesn't think Maguire is in our best 11, or the majority of fans, or just people here? Varane was at fault today, not your whipping boy Lindelof. I would persist with Lindelof & Varane as the first choice CB pairing. If you think Maguire could have stood up any of Watkins, Ings, or Coutinho when they dribbled at him, you are simply smoking some heavy stuff.

Neither CB was helped by both fullbacks being well out of position for the goals, which is an effect of having the press high up the pitch and not having our midfield magic duo of Matic & Fred do anything of note to slow down or stop the attack.

Our first 35 minutes were entertaining and we looked like a different team. Then Villa got back into it and it was a steady decline from that moment forward. Subs way, way too late, and wrong subs (Greenwood and Bruno should have stayed on), even if it meant changing shape.

Elanga keeps both Rashford and Sancho out of the side for the foreseeable future. You'd think he was the 100 million import and Sancho the youth team player getting a chance.
 

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