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It’s been a rocky week at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s expensively put-together outfit come into this Champions League tie on the back of two shock home defeats in a row. When you add in that they surprisingly lost their opening Group F tie away to Young Boys a couple of weeks ago, there can be no doubt that the heat is on Man United this Wednesday night.
They square off against a Villarreal side who gained a very credible point at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium last Saturday. The reigning Europa League champions may sit in 11th place in La Liga, but they are unbeaten in their last seven games (eight, if you include their defeat on penalties to Chelsea in the Super Cup final) ahead of their midweek trip to Manchester.
Wednesday 8pm: Man United v Villarreal
BT Sport 3
Wednesday’s match looks set to be a fiery one and we’ve got Paddy Power football ambassador and European football legend Phil Thompson to give us his best bets for the game. For a little added spice, our trader Brian McDonnell has a tip for you too!
I believe Manchester United have been hurt – not just once, but twice – over what has gone on this past week. Things are not looking good, and I reckon they need to come out fighting for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (and themselves) on Wednesday night. The Reds have to show everyone what they are made of in this game.
As they showed against Real Madrid on Saturday, Villarreal are well capable of keeping a clean sheet. However, I always say, ‘don’t poke the bear because it will get very angry’ and that might be the case on Wednesday night. I’m going for a comfortable Man United win in this one.
United have to get a result this after losing their opening group game to Young Boys, Solskjaer can’t afford to rest anyone for this match. I believe we are going to see his big guns, including Cristiano Ronaldo, out on the pitch as they look to get a much-needed win. That’s why I see them landing an easy 3-0 victory.
When Man United got that last-minute penalty against Aston Villa on Saturday, you would have been forgiven for thinking Ronaldo would take over from Bruno Fernandes as the spot-kick kingpin at Old Trafford. But, Fernandes reminded in charge of the penalties and what a mess he made of that one! My goodness, I caught that on here in my backyard on Merseyside!
However, I believe Solskjaer will keep his faith in Fernandes from the penalty spot for now and don’t be surprised if he gets another chance to net one on Wednesday.
The pressure is on for Man United now after a terrible week. This game with Villarreal is a must-win for The Reds after losing to Young Boys on matchday one of the Champions League. This was swiftly followed by defeats at Old Trafford to West Ham and Aston Villa in the last seven days, so we could be in for a nervy night in Manchester.
At the prices currently available, I wouldn’t like to back Man United to win this and Villarreal have made themselves very difficult to beat this season. The Spanish side play dull football, but they are undefeated in La Liga so far this term. They’ve won one and drawn five in the league, however, two of those stalemates were against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid away from home. Those were two very credible points gained.
Villarreal also drew with Atalanta in the first match in the Champions League group stages and they also ended the game level against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup final, before losing out in a penalty shootout. The pattern of their results is clear and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Backing the draw to come up here, seems to be the way to go.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side don’t secure an early goal and the longer the game goes on, the more frustrated the Old Trafford crowd might get. Having watched the Man United’s showings against West Ham and Aston Villa last week, I just couldn’t be confident in backing them to win this.
Man United v Villarreal
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