Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are unbeaten in their last 24 away Premier League games (W15 D9), just three short of Arsenal’s all-time high between April 2003 and September 2004.
As for the first team news, Anthony Martial and Daniel James are still in doubt whether they missed the midweek clash with AS Roma despite Phil Jones being absent for a long time.
This is how the writers at MEN think United should line up at Villa Park.
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The ‘impossible’ fixture list means United will have to use their squad’s depth to their fullest over the next five days, but against Villa on Sunday there should at least be an opportunity to strengthen themselves.
Henderson and Lindelof are logical callbacks from the back line while Wan-Bissaka and Shaw remain irreplaceable depending on the dismal second half at Rome.
A Villa side without Jack Grealish would make Matic a logical selection alongside McTominay, but otherwise the options seem a bit limited. Pogba has to start on the left while Cavani has to rest. Elanga could make his debut on the bench against the team he played against in the preseason.
Of the next three games, the middle one against Leicester is the most important for United, so it would be a good idea to save some players for Tuesday.
Henderson, Lindelof, McTominay and Rashford all have to return. Naming Fernandes as a replacement would be wise, even if United’s attack runs out of stellar starting options for the regulars.
Juan Mata hasn’t started a league game since November and finished last in the XI in January, but he has to wait a few minutes in the run-in. Amad is also late for a first start and it needs to happen as soon as possible.
One of those could be Henderson in goal, of course, and ahead of him the strongest four full-backs could have a chance to compete regularly. This means starts for Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw, given that Lindelof was rested in Rome and the full-backs only played 45 minutes.
The midfielder’s base can also be turned to Villa Park, with McTominay and Matic coming in, so Fred can be saved for both Old Trafford games. Starting Fernandes in all three games would be a risk after playing 84 minutes for Rome so Van de Beek can start against Villa and Fernandes can come back for Leicester and Liverpool.
Greenwood has the youth advantage on his side to start over after playing 90 minutes, while Pogba can start having spent an hour in Rome. It makes sense to rest Cavani here and hope he can play twice at Old Trafford, which means a middle start for Rashford.