Many were made to see in the New Year in their homes last night, much the same way we have had to watch football since March. 2020 is a year to forget unless you are connected with Aston Villa. It wasn’t a bad one for those of Claret and Blue persuasion was it? Its why we go into 2021 with our first game at Old Trafford against Man Utd with some belief.
Our record at Old Trafford is nothing short of an embarrassment but Aston Villa fans are confident and believe they can get something from this encounter. It won’t be easy, it never is against Man Utd and despite them being knocked out of the Champions League already this season, they sit second in the league. In fact, a win could see them go level on points with Liverpool.
One reason for their position is their home form. Just like Villa, they are much better on the road. No Premier League side has more points on the road than Man Utd (19), although Villa have 16 so a win today could see us join them on 19. Their home form isn’t much different to Villa’s either. They have 11 points at Old Trafford from 8 fixtures while Villa has 10 from 7.
On paper, the statistics can’t separate the two but then the one thing that does separate them is the money they have splashed out to assemble their side.
Man Utd will be confident following a 1-0 victory over Wolves a few days ago and they are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Their last defeat came at the hands of Arsenal at the start of November.
It should certainly be a testing game for Dean Smith’s men.
Rotation is a big thing for squads this time of year, this season more so than ever but Smith has stated that Villa have a top of the range performance unit at Bodymoor Heath that tells them when players need a rest. He is also putting trust in the players and hopes they are able, to be honest with him and their teammates.
Ross Barkley is said to be finally available for selection today. The midfielder has been missing since the defeat to Brighton back in November. Tyrone Mings will return from a one-match suspension following his dismissal in Villa’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.
There is still no update on Trezeguet while Wesley is back training outside but it is still unclear where he is with his recovery.
Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Matt Targett are all one game away from five yellow cards and a one-match suspension.
Man Utd will be without Edison Cavani who was handed a three-match suspension for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post. Victor Lindelof could return following a back injury.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Darren England. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Lee Betts.
DID YOU KNOW
Anwar El Ghazi could become the first Aston Villa player to score in four successive Premier League games since Christian Benteke in 2013.
If Aston Villa are able to avoid defeat today, it will be the first time in successive games they have avoided defeat at Old Trafford since 1997.
Man Utd have lost only three of their twenty-nine Premier League match since Bruno Fernandes made his debut in February 2019 (W18 D8).
My heart believes we can go to Old Trafford and get a result today but then my head says otherwise. Statistics wise there isn’t a lot to separate the two sides. I do worry that tiredness will catch up with us at some point. We looked very leggy when Chelsea scored and half time couldn’t have come at a better time on Monday.
Man Utd 1-1 Aston Villa