There are many teams that perform inconsistently over the course of the season and fans become frustrated as they are not sure which team will turn up come kick off and this can lead to unrest amongst the stands. Villa has perhaps been the most inconsistent team so far this season. A commendable win over the ever impressive Southampton was followed up with the worst performance of the season against Fulham, in the relegation zone at the time.
As the weeks tick by, more and more fans are becoming concerned with the performances of Paul Lambert’s claret and blue troops as displays are gradually getting worse and games that we should be winning come and go without the maximum points haul.
Another issue that seems to have arisen over the past couple of weeks is the apparent problem that Paul Lambert has with certain players, leaving them on the substitutes’ bench as a result instead of bringing them in when needed. Matthew Lowton has been missing from the starting line up for a number of weeks now and even with a number of defensive injuries ahead of the match against Fulham Lowton still found himself on the bench. Chris Herd was selected ahead of him despite his complete lack of game time. Bacuna has been found wanting at right back lately and many fans have called for him to be pushed further forward, which would pave the way for the return of Lowton – a move that would be welcomed by many Villa fans.
However, having said all this, it is far from a crisis and we still sit healthily in mid-table after a third of the season.
Up next for Paul Lambert’s side is possibly the best chance the Villans will get to beat Manchester United at home in the Premier League. Should the Villans be victorious against United, it will have been for the first time in almost twenty years. A record of one win in thirty-five against the Red Devils is depressing reading no matter how you look at it but, with Manchester United having lost the last two matches in the League, this could be a perfect opportunity for Paul Lambert to mastermind a victory over the current Premier League champions. Despite Moyes’ men being out of sorts, you know that any game involving Manchester United will be difficult and the Villa team will have to perform at its absolute best to get a result.
With an ongoing injury crisis, exactly what team Paul Lambert will put out no-one can be certain of just yet. Libor Kozak, Ron Vlaar, Jores Okore, Joe Bennett and Charles N’Zogbia are all set to miss the game at the weekend with a variety of injuries that could keep them out for some time. Antonio Luna will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the test against the champions and his inclusion would be a welcome addition to the squad for Paul Lambert. As mentioned, calls for Bacuna to be pushed forward and Matthew Lowton to return are set to be heard again ahead of kick off and, with Ron Vlaar still struggling, the main question is whether or not Chris Herd will keep his place in the side after returning last weekend.
Fabian Delph will be missing from the side due to picking up his fifth caution of the season last Sunday and his absence will be a big blow to Villa as he has been influential this campaign, with many pundits and fellow players tipping him for an England place.
Yacouba Sylla is expected to deputise for the suspended Delph.
The Premier League champions are set to be without six first team players for the match on Sunday as David Moyes looks for his first win in three league matches in front of the Sky cameras. Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Chris Smalling with all be missing due to a variety of injuries and David Moyes could be forced to call upon the younger members of his squad to fill in and produce the goods for him.
Manchester United currently lie in ninth position, a massive thirteen points behind current leaders Arsenal. Therefore, Moyes can’t afford to drop many more points if he wants to see his Red Devils retain the Premier League crown.
Kick off: 1:30pm
Venue: Villa Park
Tickets: There are a limited number of tickets left for the game on Sunday.
Referee: Lee Mason
Last meeting: Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United
Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United – @MrOMeara
Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United – Mark Lawrenson
Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United – Paul Merson