Solskjaer previews Man Utd's clash with Villarreal
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It’s been a strange start to the season for Manchester United. Sometimes good and sometimes bad, fans have certainly seen both sides to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team during the early embers of the new campaign. So Express Sport will now take a look at six players who have a point to prove in tonight’s clash with Villarreal, or face a difficult time ahead.
How good is Diogo Dalot?
That’s a question yet to be answered, with Solskjaer barely playing the Portugal international during his time in charge so far.
However, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka suspended and Dalot set to play on the biggest stage tonight, the Norwegian may soon discover what the former Porto star is all about.
Dalot has never come close to ousting Wan-Bissaka but, deliver a strong performance tonight, and he’ll give his manager a selection dilemma.
Certainly, the right-back must do more if he’s to live up to Jose Mourinho’s previous claims that he’s a player the club can have for a decade.
United know Victor Lindelof is a capable defender.
But while the Sweden international’s form so far this season has been good, when called upon, he’s since lost his place in Solskjaer’s starting XI.
Usually, the Norwegian prefers to go with Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.
But with Maguire injured, this will give Lindelof a chance to show he’s not ready to give up his place in the team without a serious, strong fight.
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When United beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in their Champions League clash a year ago, Alex Telles was one of the best players on the pitch.
However, since then, the Brazil international has found himself regularly on the bench – which wasn’t what he signed on for.
Luke Shaw has made the left-back position his own over the past year yet, with the England star crocked, it gives Telles a golden opportunity.
With Solskjaer refusing to rule out tactical tweaks, there’s certainly ways for the pair to perform in the same side. Perhaps with Shaw at centre-back and Telles out wide.
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Donny van de Beek
While Solskjaer has defended his midfield partnership of Fred and Scott McTominay, there’s still a chance Donny van de Beek could start tonight’s contest.
He was, after all, one of the highlights from the club’s dire 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham last week.
And after being sacrificed against Young Boys on gameweek one, Solskjaer may decide to give him a shot.
If so, Van de Beek simply has to take advantage of that. A year on from his arrival from Ajax, and fans are still waiting to see what he’s capable of.
Much-maligned at United, Fred can certainly be brilliant on his day.
The problem is, however, the Brazil international has been erratic so far this season – shining against Young Boys and West Ham but toiling in matches against the likes of Southampton and Wolves.
Part of the reason United signed Fred was because they felt he could be particularly influential in the Champions League.
So it’s nights like this where he really has to stand up and deliver.
When United signed Jadon Sancho back in the summer, it was seen a significant coup.
After all, the England international had blitzed the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund – establishing himself as one of the best young players on the planet in the process.
Yet Sancho is without a goal or assist from his time at United so far and has drawn criticism for trying to be too flashy.
He obviously has a bright career ahead but, with United sorely needing to win, turning up tonight at the peak of his powers is something that’s sorely-needed.
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