Unai Emery says £30m Man United player could cause Aston Villa serious problems 😬😱
Aston Villa don’t arrive into this contest in the best of form having lost their last two matches on home soil
The ramifications of this fixture are huge, however, and Unai Emery has dubbed it as a six-pointer in the race for the Champions League.
If Villa claim victory, the gap between them and United will open up to 11 points. Defeat, meanwhile, will close it to five.
United enter Villa Park unbeaten in five matches in all competitions and have scored seven goals in their last two Premier League outings.
Their devastating front three of Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund have scored five of those goals and will pose a huge threat to Emery’s side on the counterattack.
Surprisingly, though, it isn’t that trio he’s most scared of.
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Unai Emery hails Luke Shaw as ‘very dangerous’
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash, Emery said: “Luke Shaw is very dangerous and Diogo Dalot is in a good moment. Casemiro is a very important player for them; they have very good wingers and strikers and that is my concern.”
Despite dropping concerns for their forward players, the Spaniard seems most wary of Luke Shaw.
The 28-year-old, who cost United £30 million from Southampton in 2014, has been hailed as “very dangerous” by Emery.
Shaw is an attacking left-back who likes to burst forward and fire ammunition into the box.
Villa have had problems defending their width previously and Matty Cash has come under scrutiny for his performances down the right.
Matty Cash vs Luke Shaw will be an intriguing battle
Several battles will unfold on the pitch tomorrow, including one in the engine room with Boubacar Kamara and Kobbie Mainoo while Ollie Watkins against Raphael Varane is a mouth-watering tussle.
The one that could decide the contest in either direction, however, is Cash’s battle against Shaw and Marcus Rashford.
When Rashford drives forward, Shaw likes to get on the outside and overlap. It’s the job of the Villa man to stop him from getting into dangerous positions to cross.
Cash will be tasked by Emery to get them running in the opposite direction. He’ll press high and try to force them into areas of the pitch where they don’t want to go.
The Poland international is at his best when he’s on the front foot, attacking space deep into the opposing half and firing crosses into the corridor of uncertainty.
By contrast, he can get exposed when he’s high up the pitch and can’t get back, leaving his defence in danger of conceding.
In a contest with huge battles all over the field, the one that unfolds between Cash and Shaw is certainly one to keep an eye on.