Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he rested Anthony Martial against Wolves on Tuesday as he was expecting Edinson Cavani to be banned in the New Year.
The Uruguayan striker begins a three-game ban after accepting an FA charge over a social media post, so Martial is one of four changes to the side that edged past Wolves with an injury-time winner.
Fred and Scott McTominay both return in midfield, while Luke Shaw is in for Alex Telles at left-back, and Solskjaer wants to see energy from his United side against one of this season’s surprise packages.
“We rotate, we want energy, Scott and Fred have done really well, to bring those two in is easy, Anthony was sharp, that was a rest for him, we more or less expected Edinson to be out so to have Anthony fresh was important,” Solskjaer told MUTV.
Villa have made just one change from the side that drew at Chelsea on Monday and Dean Smith has kept rotation to a minimum this season.
United’s late win against Wolves to end 2020 was a drab affair, but Solskjaer has warned against expecting fireworks to begin the New Year, despite having the possibility of moving level on points with Liverpool with a victory.
“They’re in great form, they keep on going, they have players who are fit, you don’t see any weakness. It’s a very hard task we’ve got in front of us but one we want to attack with a positive mind,” said Solskjaer.
“You’ve got to earn the right to find spaces, we have to play quickly, we know they’re good on counter attacks. Can we stop them and go forward ourselves quickly? They’re very fit, they’re strong, compact, we won’t create space if we’re playing slowly.”