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June 18, 2021

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Manchester United might have already given away their team vs Roma

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Team changes?

You might have missed it, but United did release their line-up for Sunday’s postponed match. There were two changes: David de Gea and Edinson Cavani were replaced by Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood.

Even accounting for all the remarkable European comebacks in recent years, even those in Vatican City might not bother praying for a Roma miracle tonight. United have kept 16 clean sheets in 30 games this calendar year and have sieved just three goals in five Europa League ties, scoring 16.

It is not necessarily a night for Scott McTominay and Fred, though nor is it one for Donny van de Beek. The team could be the same as in the first leg.

Eye on Villa?

Leicester predictably squandered points they should have banked against 10-man Southampton last week, reiterating they are next to no threat to United’s second-place status.

United travel to Aston Villa this weekend, where they have not lost in the league since John Major was the prime minister, and Villa have only won four of their last 14 games.

The domestic run-in is tricky for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He will have to give ample playing time to players without overplaying them ahead of a probable European final.

Villa, particularly without Jack Grealish, is not a fixture to save players for and Solskjaer overcompensated in a European second leg with a four-goal advantage against Real Sociedad, when Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford each had a half.

A debut?

Daniel James was not with the squad at the weekend and has not flown to Rome. Anthony Elanga has, having travelled to Granada last month.

United have a four-goal advantage and can make up to five substitutions, making the Stadio Olimpico the ideal setting to give Elanga his bow. Amad and Shola Shoretire have already had exposure in the Europa League and the former is overdue a senior run-out.

Fire alarms and firecrackers?

Rome is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities but Sir Alex Ferguson’s last visit with United in 2009 was an unhappynot just because of their Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.

“It was a shambles,’’ he said of the United team’s hotel. “We were in a room with no light, the food was late and cold.”

Going off the raucous send-off Roma were treated to last week, despite the aggregate deficit there is every chance their ultras will attempt to disrupt United players’ sleep. They will also be emboldened by one of the most memorable modern European comebacks: Roma’s 3-0 victory over Barcelona.

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