The Manchester United XI That Should Start Against Aston Villa

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mason Greenwood
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a big admirer of Mason Greenwood | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United are looking to make it 17 games in all competitions unbeaten when they make the trip to Birmingham to face Aston Villa on Thursday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been in exceptional form since the season restarted last month and are firmly back in the race to finish inside the top four.

SHOP MANCHESTER UNITED: Get the latest gear at Adidas!

In Aston Villa, they face a side battling relegation and will be hopeful of sweeping them aside as they swept Bournemouth, Brighton and Sheffield United aside in recent weeks.

Here’s a look at the starting XI Solskjaer should pick…

Goalkeeper & Defenders

Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly could replace Victor Lindelof, who is an injury doubt | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

David de Gea (GK) – The Spaniard is still making mistakes, such as leaving too large a gap at his near post in United’s last outing that allowed Junior Stanislas to score for Bournemouth. He will be under scrutiny every game between now and the end of the season.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – Always known as a great defensive full-back, Wan-Bissaka has improved his attacking output of late and has managed two assists in his last three league games. Remains more or less an automatic starter.

Eric Bailly (CB) – With Victor Lindelof a doubt with a back injury, Bailly could start his first Premier League game since February after coming on at half-time to replace the Swede at Bournemouth. Will be keen to make an impact after a harsh penalty decision against him then.

Harry Maguire (CB) – Leadership is there, but Maguire has been exposed a little in recent games and needs to up his own performances. There are increasing suggestions that he could have a new regular partner next season if United’s transfer priorities change.

Brandon Williams (LB) – Luke Shaw has been performing well and has played not far off every minute since the season restarted. But there comes a point when a player who has struggled with injuries and fitness a lot in the past might need to be rested. Williams is a ready made replacement.

Midfielders

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has six goals and assists since season restarted | Pool/Getty Images

Fred (CM) – Fred replaced Nemanja Matic last time out and has had to be patient for chances since the season restarted because of the sudden quality United have in midfield. This would only be his second start league start since the resumption.

Paul Pogba (CM) – Solskjaer has been careful with Pogba since his return from injury, with the Frenchman not starting against Norwich in the FA Cup and brought off after an hour in the rout of Brighton. It is possible he could come off early again, especially if United are in the ascendancy.

Bruno Fernandes (AM) – The January signing was once more phenomenal in the Bournemouth game, contributing a goal and two assists. Add that to two goals against Brighton and one against Spurs and he becomes pretty much un-droppable. Fernandes makes United tick.

Forwards

Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood has scored 15 goals this season | Pool/Getty Images

Mason Greenwood (RF) – Taking Greenwood out of the XI following his recent form would be criminal. The 18-year-old has an enormous fan in Solskjaer and is one of the most natural finishers in the Premier League already. Could conceivably finish the season with 20 goals.

Anthony Martial (ST) – The Frenchman reached 20 for the season last time out, doing so for the first time in his career. Solskjaer has Odion Ighalo at his disposal if he feels Martial needs to be rested, but breaking up this front three right now might be more of a risk.

Marcus Rashford (LF) – Rashford also reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his career in the game against Bournemouth. There will be healthy competition between him and Martial to be top scorer, which will only benefit United’s results.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!