Manchester United lost to Aston Villa by a slim 1 – 0 yesterday (September 12), in their final pre-season friendly. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side travelled down to Villa Park to complete their final preparations ahead of the new Premier League season.
The Red Devils were scheduled to play against Burnley at Turf Moor on September 12 but that was postponed following the decision to give United an extra week off following their Europa League campaign.
Villa played Arsenal in similar circumstances last week and beat the Gunners 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium.
This time around they managed another upset, winning the game 1-0.
Manager Dean Smith will be delighted to see his new £28million signing Ollie Watkins get off the mark with a goal.
For United, there is clearly work to do ahead of the new campaign with a number of key players missing.
There was a start for Dean Henderson as he looks to dethrone David de Gea as United’s No 1.
In front of the Spaniard was a back four of Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw.
In midfield, Scott McTominay played alongside new boy Donny van de Beek with each of those facing a fight to keep their place in the side.
Marcus Rashford returned with Jesse Lingard and Daniel James in attack alongside Odion Ighalo.
Bruno Fernandes has been back home in Portugal following the birth of his child last Saturday.
He was forced to return to England before 4am this morning to avoid 14 days in quarantine.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Harry Maguire will captain the side this season, despite his arrest in Mykonos.
Of course, Harry, as you said, had a difficult summer,” Solskjaer said before the game.
“He didn’t have a long break. His break was different to others as we gave him a few more days and, after, he’s come back and looked fine. He’s handled it really well and, of course, I’ll be here to support him.
“He is going to be our captain. We’ll just leave Harry and his people and the process to run. For me, he is a top, an absolute top human being and has always been a positive guy with the right values. So I really hope we can see Harry performing at his best.”
Donny van de Beek could make his Premier League debut at Old Trafford and the club’s hierarchy will be hoping to bring Jadon Sancho through the door before the close of the window.
Solskjaer has admitted he is impressed with his squad and feels there are huge positives in the way United finished the previous season.
“I’m happy with the way we improved and we developed,” the Norwegian said.
“Of course, after the January transfer window, we lost two important games in two semi-finals but they were the two defeats we had. Of course, those hurt, they really hurt, but the way the team caught up how many points?
“Fourteen points was it to catch up with the top four, we managed to do that and it gives us a very good belief that we can kick on, move forward and improve again.”