Man Utd team news vs Aston Villa as Erik ten Hag sweats on three stars

Inside Man Utd's preparations for Real Sociedad away day

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Manchester United travel to Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon as they look to keep pace with the teams in the top four. Boss Erik ten Hag is sweating on the fitness of Jadon Sancho, Antony and Anthony Martial ahead of the showdown, which means Cristiano Ronaldo could be handed another start. And Express Sport takes a look at how United could line up.

Goalkeeper – De Gea

Spain international David de Gea has played every minute of every match this season and has helped his side keep nine clean sheets in all competitions. And the shot-stopper will be looking to command the penalty area once again during the trip to Villa Park.

Defence – Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw

United’s defence has enjoyed a precipitous upturn in fortunes this season and has looked far less leaky than it appeared last term. England star Harry Maguire started his first Premier League match since August last weekend against West Ham as the Red Devils beat the Hammers 1-0. But he returned to the bench for the midweek trip to Real Sociedad in the Europa League. And Ten Hag could keep faith with Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof at the heart of his defence against the Villans.

Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw, meanwhile, appear to have cemented the full-back slots under Ten Hag. And the duo could once again make the starting line-up.

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Midfield – Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes

United have won 12 of their last 16 matches since being humbled 4-0 by Brentford in August. And Casemiro has recently formed a formidable partnership in the middle of the pitch alongside Christian Eriksen.

The duo will be looking to control the match against Villa from midfield and turn defence into attack, with Portugal ace Bruno Fernandes given the freedom to roam forward and make things happen in front of goal.

Forwards – Sancho, Ronaldo, Rashford

Sancho has missed his side’s last two matches through illness, while Antony was absent with a leg injury. But the duo could both return to the fray against Unai Emery’s men. Sancho could be pushing for a starting place on the wing, while fellow England international Marcus Rashford will be hoping for a recall after dropping to the bench in midweek.

Martial has played just four matches this term after suffering with hamstring, Achilles and back problems. But the France international could be back in the matchday squad after returning to training this week. Ronaldo could keep his place up front, meanwhile, and will be aiming to score only his second Premier League goal of the campaign.

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