Manchester United will return to Champions League action this week as they take on Villarreal in a bid to put right their poor performance against Swiss champions BSC Young Boys.
Having now suffered three defeats in the past four games, a win is crucial, not only to boost confidence but to also ensure that they still have a clear path for qualification to the knockout stages.
The performance and result against Aston Villa at the weekend were not what’s expected from a side wanting to challenge for the Premier League title, so Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his team will be hoping to improve by beating Villarreal in a game the United faithful see as a must-win.
The visitors drew 2-2 at home to Italian side Atalanta in their opening game of the competition. Since then, they have stretched their unbeaten record in the league to seven games, most recently drawing away to giants Real Madrid.
Matchday one against Young Boys saw a sending off for United right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka who will now be unavailable for the game tomorrow. It’s likely that Diogo Dalot will take his place.
There were injury concerns at the weekend as both Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire were substituted.
Solskjaer confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the skipper had suffered a calf injury that will see him sidelined for a few weeks.
As for Shaw, the left-back hasn’t trained with the team since Saturday so is still a huge doubt.
This will leave the Red Devils weak at the back, and as happened with Aston Villa on Saturday, Villarreal could capitalise on that.
As for the team going forward, United aren't short of options.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a midfield partnership of Fred and Scott Mctominay again, which would help protect the fragile defence.
However, Nemanja Matic and Donny Van de Beek, who featured in the first game will be hoping to force their way into the starting eleven.
It’s also likely that Cristiano Ronaldo will start and as a result break Iker Casillas’ record for the most Champions League appearances in the competition's history with 178.
His Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes is also expected to feature.
Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo remain injured, but hope was offered, with Ole saying he expects them to be available after the international break.
The team is likely to be completed with Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood on the left- and right-hand side of midfield respectively, this would confine Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to the bench once again.
As for the visitors, former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin is suspended after being shown red against Atalanta. There is also an injury doubt for Juan Foyth who was substituted towards the end of their game against Los Blancos at the weekend.
Dani Raba and Samuel Chukwueze recently made a return to training but still remain doubts. Gerard Moreno, who is the top scorer for the Yellow Submarine is also out injured.
Manchester United: De Gea, Telles, Lindelof, Varane, Dalot, McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Ronaldo
Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, A. Moreno, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros, Danjuma, Alcacer, Pino
With the last five meetings between the two sides ending in a draw, history suggests that this isn’t usually a high scoring fixture. However, United need to win so will be looking for goals.
The Red Devils are seeking revenge following last seasons Europa League final penalty shootout defeat.
But with a back four that isn’t used to playing together, Villarreal should get chances, and it will be difficult for the home side to keep a clean sheet.
With the Old Trafford crowd behind them though, United should edge this one.
Manchester United 2 – 1 Villarreal
How to watch
The match kicks off at 8pm and will be broadcast live in the UK on BT Sport 3. Coverage starts from 7.15pm.
Highlights of the action will be available for free after the final whistle on the BT Sport YouTube channel.