Aston Villa return to Villa Park tomorrow staring down the barrel of relegation following Watford’s win over Norwich City yesterday evening.
Dean Smith’s men put in their best performance since the return of football up at Anfield last Sunday, however the class of Liverpool came through as they punished defensive lapses to win 2-0.
Despite the improved performance, Reds keeper Alisson, had a fairly quiet game and Villa spurned opportunities and gave the ball away all too often at key times.
With results going the way they have and goal difference not in Villa’s favour, they simply have to play to win and draws are no longer enough.
Smith will have to hope again that a revitalised Manchester United have an off day but the chances are slim with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men top of the form table for the last eight games, winning six and drawing two whilst only conceding four goals.
Matt Targett (hamstring), Tom Heaton (knee) and Wesley (knee) will continue to be absent along with Bjorn Engels (achilles).
Frederic Guilbert travelled to Anfield and could return after a knee injury. Villa have only won one game in which the Frenchman hasn’t started.
Henri Lansbury is also fighting for game time.
Manchester United are likely to be without Swedish international Victor Lindelof (back) and former Villa loanee Axel Tuanzebe. Phil Jons remains out with personal issues.
Dean Smith’s praise for the performance at Aston Villa will probably see an unchanged team although the debate as to who starts up front rages on. With a need to win he may have his hand forced and choose to play two up top but personally I can’t see changes.
ONES TO WATCH
For Villa, I can’t look further than Douglas Luiz. For some that arrived at Villa just two days before the season started, he has been the stand out performer since returning form the enforced break.
The Brazilian has worked hard and has broken up play and with the a player of Bruno Fernandes quaility, he will need to be at his best.
For Manchester United, I have chosen both Fernandes and Mason Greenwood.
The Portuguese midfield has shocked United back to life since his arrival and he is quickly establishing himself a one of the best midfielders in the league.
Whoscored.com currently have Fernandes as the highest rated midfielder and in just nine appearances he has bagged six goals and five assists.
Mason Greenwood is the latest youth prodigy to make the jump to the first team and has bagged himself 16 goals in all competitions in his breakthrough season.
His ability with both feet and his finishing are of the highest order for an 18-year-old.
I’m afraid I’ve been saying we are resigned to the drop for a long time and with only 0.69 points per games in 2020 and United’s imperious form with the chance to capitalise on Leicester City and Wolves dropping points, I can’t see any other result.
Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United
Details and Television
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Date: Thursday 9th July 2020
Kick-off: 8.15 pm (UK Time)
Television: Sky Sports