Manchester United v Aston Villa: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preview
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Manchester United have been dealt an injury nightmare after Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire were forced off in their Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday. Shaw was replaced by Diogo Dalot just after the half-hour mark, while Maguire made way for Victor Lindelof in the second period.
Shaw went down after 26 minutes but continued for another six minutes before being replaced. He had struggled in the early part of the game and looked off the pace as he was exposed by Villa right-back Matty Cash.
The United defender had been caught high up the pitch as Matt Targett should have given the visitors the lead in the 17th minute but blazed over from close range.
And Shaw was then booked for a challenge on Cash as he continued to be given the runaround.
Maguire, meanwhile, received treatment from the United physio 10 minutes into the second half as his side looked for a breakthrough with the match evenly-balanced at 0-0.
The captain carried on and was denied a penalty as he was felled in the box. He was eventually replaced after 66 minutes.
United looked shaky at the back in the first period and could have gone behind when David De Gea failed to deal with a heavy back pass from Harry Maguire.
The Spanish keeper panicked and cleared the ball straight to Ollie Watkins but instantly redeemed himself with a fine save.
Man Utd have struggled at the back in recent seasons and their defensive problems don’t appear to be getting any better this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have staggeringly kept just one clean sheet in their last 15 games.
And they may now be forced to line-up without Shaw and Maguire if their injuries keep them on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
The defenders have both been in decent form this season and hadn’t missed a minute of Premier League action before being taken off against Villa.
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The duo also starred for England during the Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 final, with Shaw scoring in the showpiece event before the side went down to Italy in a penalty shootout.
Shaw has enjoyed a remarkable return to the top of the game after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho and has gone on to become a regular for club and country.
And his form last season even led former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara to label him as one of the best left-backs in the world.
“He had a great season at Manchester United and he looks fit,” O’Hara said.
“He came back from a terrible injury – it’s not easy to come back from that.
“He put on a little bit of weight. Jose Mourinho didn’t play him and wasn’t really having him.
“He’s been outstanding and he’s stayed fit. But his performances, you’ve got to have a look at it and go ‘at the moment and based on form he’s one of the best left-backs in the world’.”
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