49erssports.com - Manchester United are back in Premier League action on Sunday, at Aston Villa, in our penultimate fixture in the division before the extended winter break to accommodate the World Cup finals in Qatar.

Before the game at Fulham, a week on Sunday, we meet the Midlanders again, this time at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup third round.

Our first priority remains the clash at Villa Park, which kicks off at 14:00 GMT but is not being broadcast live on television in the UK. It was moved to Sunday following our Europa League game in Spain on Thursday and represents another opportunity to maintain a push for a top-four place.

Erik ten Hag admits he is playing a waiting game when it comes to the availability of Antony, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial. All three were left out of the squad that travelled to Spain.

"It's difficult to say in this moment," the boss admitted in his pre-match press conference. "I have to talk with the medical and the performance team as they did a programme in Manchester. I have to hear how their progress was and if they can be available for Sunday's match."

One definite issue is the need to replace Bruno Fernandes, with the midfielder suspended after accumulating five yellow cards in the league this term.

Another decision Ten Hag will have to make concerns his central defensive options. Victor Lindelof started the Real Sociedad game alongside Lisandro Martinez, with Harry Maguire coming on in attack for the closing stages.

''I have to think about that," said the manager. "I have to see because Aston Villa is going to be a difficult one as we don't know. They have a new manager and I have to have a look and analyse from that game, from that team and then we have a choice. But Licha [Martinez] and Victor played really well together over some more games.

''But I also think Licha and Harry last Sunday against West Ham United kept a clean sheet and also did really well, so that's a choice we have to make. When I choose one, it is not one thing against the other.''

Alejandro Garnacho marked a senior start in the country of his birth with a fine winner, and he obviously could keep his place, even if the manager is carefully managing the 18-year-old.

Raphael Varane remains absent while fellow defenders Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe have also been out due to injury.


New boss Unai Emery takes charge of the team for the first time, since switching from Villarreal in La Liga, in order to replace Steven Gerrard at the helm.

First-choice keeper Emiliano Martinez suffered concussion last weekend, and was withdrawn in the 4-0 loss at Newcastle United, with Robin Olsen taking his place between the sticks. It is expected the Argentina keeper will be assessed but he looks likely to feature this weekend.

Boubacar Kamara and Ludwig Augustinsson may be in contention for a return from injury, but summer recruit Diego Carlos is definitely ruled out.

Douglas Luiz is available after his red card against Fulham, and subsequent three-match ban, was overturned on appeal. 

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