Manchester United are all set to go head-to-head with Aston Villa in the second game of the English Premier League 2015-2016 season at Villa Park on Friday.
The Red Devils were not convincing at all when they registered their first win over Tottenham Hotspur in the league opener last Saturday at the Old Trafford. An own goal from Spurs right-back Kyle Walker edged United over the visitors.
Many would have raised questions over Memphis Depay's position during the first match as he was seen playing alongside Wayne Rooney. United boss Louis Van Gaal later explained why he deployed Depay in the forward position instead of the wings.
"I prefer that position to be more a second striker than a third midfielder. I want to see Memphis in that role, of course. It is also, for him, maybe more difficult because he has to make the step to the Premier League, to Manchester United, a new club. Maybe I shall use him also at the left-wing position because he knows that much better," Van Gaal said in an exclusive interview to MUTV few days ago.
The team for tomorrow's is likely to be the same for United. Van Gaal has confirmed that David De Gea will be left out of the squad and Sergio Romero can keep his place ahead of the Spaniard. Romero was nervous in the first half of the first game but he bounced back with some good saves in the second half that helped United to maintain a clean sheet in their first game.
Marouane Fellaini is still serving the suspension after he was red carded in the match against Hull City the last season. Phil Jones will also sit out due to mild thrombosis. Otherwise there are hardly any injury concerns for the Red Devils.
"It's still the same, no injuries – only illness for Phil Jones. It's very sad, of course, but we'll have to wait and see how that shall recover. Rojo needs more time because he was the last one who came in. He is training double sessions sometimes. He is doing well but he needs more," Van Gaal told MUTV on Thursday.
On the other hand, Aston Villa began their campaign with a solitary goal victory over newly promoted club Bournemouth last week. Rudy Gestede headed the winner for Villa. Tim Sherwood would be hoping that his side emulates a similar performance against the Premier League giants.
What was noticable about Aston Villa in that victory against Bournemouth was their defense. Micah Richards and Jordan Amavi were absolutely brilliant in terms of holding that defense line firmly and not let any Bournemouth forwards sneak through it. They would be keeping a close watch on Juan Mata, Memphios Depay, Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney in Friday's game as well.
"They'll always be special games to me, coming up against United. I can't wait for the first one at Villa. I wish the game was right now. It will be a tough game. United will obviously be one of the favourites for the title and they have some world-class players. But we've recruited well. We have hungry and talented players in our dressing room and we'll be giving it everything to get the right result," Richards told the media on Thursday.
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Mata, Depay, Young; Rooney.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Bacuna, Richards, Clark, Amavi; Sanchez, Gueye, Veretout; Agbonlahor, Gestede, Ayew.
Manchester United vs Tottenham Schedule: Friday, 14 August (19.45 pm BST, 12.15 am IST, 2.45 pm ET) at Old Trafford.
Live TV coverage in India, UK and US will be on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4, BT Sport 1 and NBC Sports respectively.