VILLA PARK (Sporting Alert) — Manchester United have named forward Radamel Falcao in their starting line-up for today’s English Premier League visit to Aston Villa.
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Falcao has been used as a substitute for the major part of his time at Old Trafford since his summer move because of fitness, but manager Louis van Gaal believes the Colombian is ready to make a start this season.
Falcao comes in as the replacement for James Wilson, who starts this game on the bench.
Midfielder Angel Di Maria is on the bench today after missing the last few games because of a hamstring injury.
Also starting is the club vice-captain and inspired midfielder Darren Fletcher, who comes into the starting for Marouane Fellaini, who was left out of the match day squad for today.
Michael Carrick, Wayne Ronney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Phil Jones all start as well for Manchester United, with former Villa Park star, Ashely Young also facing his ex-club.
Aston Villa, in the meantime, make four adjustment to their side from the team started at West Brom the last time out.
Manager Paul Lambert welcomes back Fabian Delph, Ron Vlaar, Andreas Weimann and Matthew Lowton as he looks to secure vital points.
Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor lead the attack.
Despite not playing their best football at the moment, Manchester United will take a six-game win streak into this fixture, but Van Gaal isn’t getting overly carried away with the run — telling reporters that “the media” are the ones making a big deal about it.
“We are living match by match and preparing business against Aston Villa,” he said.
“I hope the preparation shall end in victory. I think we have to improve especially in ball possession because every match we gave the ball away too easily without pressure.
“That I call unnecessary.
“In the last matches we didn’t receive any more stupid goals, so I’m pleased with our defence organisation but we must improve with ball possession.”
Aston Villa have been hit by loads of injuries and suspension, but Lambert still believes his starting team is strong.
“We have seven lads out who are in and around the first team with injury or suspension. The bench has three young lads on it,” he said.
“It’s tough that way and we have had to change the system. That’s the nature of the game, it throws up new challenges.
“The first XI is still a strong one and we have to try to keep those players on the pitch as best we can.
“We are playing well enough to cause them problems. If we do as we are lately we will be right in the game.”
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Vlaar, Clark, Cissokho, Weimann, Delph, Sanchez, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs: Bacuna, Herd, N’Zogbia, Given, Robinson, Grealish, Calder
Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Carrick, Evans, Valencia, Fletcher, Rooney, Young, Mata, van Persie, Falcao. Subs: Da Silva, Di Maria, Januzaj, Lindegaard, McNair, Blackett, Wilson
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)