David de Gea will again be left on the sidelines when Manchester United attempt to make it two wins from two in the Premier League against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Friday. United’s player of the year for the past two seasons watched on from the stands as United beat Tottenham 1-0 on Saturday, amid continued speculation linking him with a transfer to Real Madrid. Ahead of the match Van Gaal stated that the uncertainty would mean De Gea wouldn’t feature until either he is sold or the transfer window closes at the start of September. And he was unwavering from that position when speaking on Thursday.
“No, it's the same situation,” he said in his press conference. “I have said that already so why do you ask?”
It means, with Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard available for transfer, Sergio Romero is set to continue between the posts. The Argentina international enjoyed an eventful debut against Tottenham just days after being signed on a free transfer, but ultimately came up with some big saves to preserve his clean sheet. Manchester United’s defense looks set to stay the same, too, with Phil Jones still suffering from mild thrombosis and Marcos Rojo yet to reach full fitness after joining preseason late following his excursions with Argentina in the Copa America. Further forward, Marouane Fellaini will once more sit out through suspension while new signing Bastian Schweinsteiger may have to again make do with a place on the bench as he gets back up to peak fitness.
While the performance was stuttering, an opening win over Tottenham was vital after the team’s woeful start to the season. But, as United seek to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title, Van Gaal sees a trip to Aston Villa as another chance to improve upon a costly failure last season.
“At home, we were one of the best, third in the league I think,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “But away from home, we can improve. Last season, it was not good. I think that is the key for success this season.”
Like United, Aston Villa begun the season with a 1-0 win. For Tim Sherwood’s side it came at the home of newly promoted Bournemouth, courtesy of a debut goal for substitute Rudy Gestede. The former Blackburn striker is one of a number of players, many without any experience of the Premier League, brought to the club this summer to replace the likes of Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar.
Yet, rather than going into the season with trepidation, Sherwood is adamant that he can make it an exciting time for supporters who have had to watch the club struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League for the past four seasons.
“I think they should be excited for the future of this club as these are a group of young men,” he said, per Aston Villa’s official website. “They're not old at all. They're the future of the club and it's my job to make them very exciting for the immediate future.
“I think it will be an exciting night for the fans on Friday. They're coming here very buoyant and it's up to us to give them a performance that they deserve. That's what we need to do. We'll leave no stone unturned trying to achieve that.”
Kickoff time: 2:45 p.m. EDT
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra