United last lost at Villa Park in the Premier League in 1995 on the day of the gray shirts and Alan Hansen Match of the day Analysis. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined a year later and had the misfortune of starting United’s last loss to Villa in a forgettable 1999 League Cup third round match.
The undefeated 21-game run at Villa Park isn’t much in jeopardy, despite Solskjaer’s willingness to shoot on a grand scale. Villa is unrecognizable without Jack Grealish, United are undefeated in their last 24 away league games and two away from spending the entire league season without losing on the road.
Solskjaer’s threat to field a completely different XI in the next three fixtures is understandable given the Premier League’s absurd schedule, and he will have to roughly plan his rosters for the next three games ahead of the trip to Villa.
Dean Henderson, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford line up for recalls. Brandon Williams and Alex Telles have hurt their chances of starting next week at Rome and United are running out of winger at injured Daniel James and Anthony Martial.
Solskjaer’s replacements have been confused for much of the season and Rashford’s 2-2 introduction to Rome was perhaps his most unnecessary change. Rashford hadn’t played in a week and clearly there was concern that he was undercooked, but a full 10-day break would have been good for the race.
Rashford had just 17 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico and should be reasonably cool for Villa. He hasn’t completed 90 minutes since March 14.
The defenders reunited
One of the wonderful things about football is how quickly things change. During the New Year, Harry Maguire performed better alongside Eric Bailly. Thursday night, Maguire was worse next to Bailly.
Lindelof is expected to be back on his feet this weekend and Maguire will no doubt welcome his return after Bailly jeopardized United’s defensive stability midweek. Lindelof has had a few solid months and its partnership with Maguire is improving.