Man Utd can soften Martinez blow by unleashing “incredible” titan

    Manchester United will be looking to continue their recent good form, winning four of their previous five matches, as they face Aston Villa in the Premier League today.

    The Midlands side could pose a big threat, but Erik ten Hag will take solace from the fact his side came from two goals down to defeat Villa 3-2 on Boxing Day.

    The Dutchman has a few injury problems and will face the clash tomorrow without the services of Lisandro Martínez, who is set to be out for an extended period of time.

    Lisandro Martínez injury news

    The former Ajax defender enjoyed a wonderful start to his United career during the opening months of the 2022/23 season, making 45 appearances before missing the final couple of months due to suffering a metatarsal fracture.

    He returned during the opening weeks of this term, but suffered another foot injury and only made his return against Tottenham Hotspur last month.


    His run of bad luck continued against West Ham United. The World Cup winner suffered an injury to his medial collateral ligament in his knee and is expected to be out for the next eight weeks.

    Ten Hag will now face a headache over who comes in for the diminutive defender.

    Against the Irons, Raphael Varane came on for Martinez, and he should be the one who is unleashed in the starting XI today against Villa, alongside Harry Maguire.

    Raphael Varane’s statistics this season

    The French defender has a wealth of experience and was lauded as “incredible” by talent scout Jacek Kulig in 2019, and he should have no problems filling in for the former Ajax centre-back.

    Varane has endured a rather inconsistent season thus far, making 21 appearances in all competitions, yet he has started only 15 times due to suffering a series of injury knocks.

    Raphael Varane against Aston Villa (26/12/2023)

    Accurate passes






    Total duels won


    Possession lost


    Stats via Sofascore

    Against West Ham last week, the Frenchman adapted well to coming on with just 19 minutes remaining, as he won 100% of his aerial duels, made two clearances and completed 94% of his passes, certainly suggesting that he deserves to be unleashed from the start this afternoon.

    The 30-year-old also played the full 90 minutes against Villa during the Boxing Day comeback victory. Despite United conceding twice, the former Real Madrid star was solid throughout.

    Not only did he win five of his seven total duels, but the defender also made three interceptions and clearances, made two tackles and lost possession only eight times during the 90 minutes, showcasing his defensive solidity.

    This performance should be further evidence for Ten Hag that the 6 foot 4 titan is the man to come in and fill the void left by Martinez today.


    Another win for United could see the club close in on the top four, and it will further boost their confidence as the fixtures come thick and fast for the Red Devils.

    Ten Hag and his charges endured a difficult start to the season, yet if they can end it well, all will surely be forgiven by the Old Trafford faithful, especially if they keep up the recent good performances.

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