Manchester United will face Villarreal tomorrow at Old Trafford in the Champions League. Man Utd will hope to bounce back in the competition after a surprise defeat in their last group game in Switzerland.
Villarreal and Atalanta drew 2-2 in their first group game. It had been 10 years since Villarreal played in the Champions League and they almost started with a win and three points, but were denied late by Atalanta.
A decent result for both. Atalanta and Villarreal could distance themselves from Man Utd if they were both to pick up wins. They would sit at the top of the table with 4 points. They Yellow Submarine would not mind a draw at Old Trafford before playing Young Boys, 5 points from 3 games would be solid for the Spanish side.
Villarreal have an awkward undefeated start to their season in La Liga and Champions League. They are undefeated, but only have one win in all competitions. Four of their draws in La Liga were scoreless draws.
Two of those draws were against great competition, earlier in the season they drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid and in their last match they drew goalless against Real Madrid. Real’s attack is getting better and better led by Karim Benzema who is in great form lately. An impressive draw for Villarreal.
Their lone win comes at the expense of Elche, 4-1. Other than that anomaly, the goals have been tough to come by for the 11th placed side. Only six goals, but they have only given up three. An indifferent start of the season for Villarreal.
Villarreal’s Team News
Villarreal are basically the same team that beat Man Utd in the Europa League Final. Pau Torres and Raul Albiol were the center back pairing against Real. Juan Foyth and Alberto Moreno were the full backs. Francis Coquelin will miss out because of a red card against Atalanta.
Etienne Capoue, the former Spurs and Watford player will be in the middle with Dani Parejo. Former Leicester City defensive midfielder Vicente Iborra could start with Coquelin out.
Villarreal will be without their star striker Gerard Moreno, out with a hamstring injury. Paco Alcacer led the line against Real and was flanked out wide by former Bournemouth and Dutch international Arnaut Danjuma and the exciting 18-year-old Yeremi Pino, who has recently been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Unai Emery operates out of the 4-3-3 and usually has a couple of more defensive minded midfielders. Capoue can get forward, but also is really good defensively, a solid box-to-box midfielder. Dani Parejo is a really good passer and knows when to get in the box. Coquelin usually sits behind them.
Emery did come out in a 4-4-2 against Atletico Madrid. If they do that they will likely bring in forward Boulay Dia, a Senegalese international. With Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka out and Luke Shaw probably out, Emery could add another quick forward to press.
Maguire was not available for the final against Villarreal and with the addition of Raphael Varane, Man Utd should be fine against a hard press with Alex Telles, Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof in the side.
Emery could go either way the 4-3-3 or the 4-4-2. The draw might be tempting against a somewhat wounded Man Utd side, so Emery could keep it tight. Either way, the better Villarreal play, the more frustrated Old Trafford could get. If Villarreal play tight and hold Man Utd, the fans will get frustrated.
They could still play the 4-4-2 and be defensive. Capoue and Parejo will take less attacking runs and leave it up to the four attack minded players.
Emery has options to make it a messy and frustrating game for Man Utd and maybe steal some points at Old Trafford despite a couple of key injuries.