Manchester United are set to be without superstar midfielder Bruno Fernandes for their next Premier League encounter against Aston Villa.
The Red Devils will travel to Villa Park to take on Unai Emery’s side on November 6 for their 13th league fixture of the 2022-23 season. They will do so without Fernandes, who will be suspended for the clash, as per Manchester Evening News.
The Portuguese midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the Premier League season during Manchester United’s 1-0 win against West Ham United on Sunday (October 30). He was booked in the final minute of regulation time for clipping Jarrod Bowen’s feet to stop the Hammers forward from running into the box.
Fernandes has been ever-present in the Red Devils’ first XI since Erik ten Hag’s arrival. He has started all 12 of their Premier League fixtures and has played every single minute so far. The attacking midfielder has also played from the start in four of United’s five UEFA Europa League fixtures this term.
In 17 matches across all competitions, he has contributed two goals and two assists. Fernandes has not been at his prolific best, but has contributed a lot to Manchester United’s build-up play.
In his absence, Ten Hag could choose to deploy Christian Eriksen, who has orchestrated plays from deeper in midfield, further up the pitch. Scott McTominay might line up alongside Casemiro in the defensive midfield position in such a scenario.
Donny van de Beek, who only recently returned from an injury lay-off, is another player capable of playing in Fernandes’ position.
Manchester United face a difficult clash against Real Sociedad in midweek
Prior to their match against Aston Villa, Manchester United will lock horns with Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, November 3.
The match at the Estadio Anoeta will have major ramifications for both sides. Sociedad will secure top spot in Group E as long as they avoid defeat. United, on the other hand, need to win by two or more goals to finish ahead of La Real.
Sociedad currently lead the group with 15 points from five matches, three clear of the Red Devils in second place. The Spanish outfit won the earlier encounter between the two teams 1-0 at Old Trafford and consequently hold a superior head-to-head record.
If Manchester United also win by a one-goal margin on Thursday, Real Sociedad will finish as leaders due to their superior goal difference.
What’ll happen during the final group stage games? 🤔
Both teams will be looking to finish in first place as the runners-up will have to compete in a playoff tie against a team demoted from the UEFA Champions League. This would add two extra fixtures to a schedule that is already jam-packed due to the FIFA World Cup being held in the winter.
Manchester United notably have two postponed Premier League fixtures against Crystal Palace and Leeds United to worry about already.
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