Aston Villa take on Manchester United in one of today’s early kickoffs.
The fixture is a notoriously difficult one for Villa and having only won twice at Old Trafford since the 1950s they will need to be on their very best of form.
Dean Smith’s men will be looking to build upon a largely positive week after a 3-0 against Everton at Villa Park was followed up with an impressive performance from a changed up side in the Carabao Cup in which they took Chelsea to penalties.
Manchester United will be aiming to continue their strong start to Premier League having picked up 13 points from their opening five fixtures.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have had impressive home wins against Leeds United (5-1) and Newcastle United (4-1) and away wins against Wolves (0-1) and West Ham (1-2) with a point away at Southampton (1-1) have led to many questioning whether this could be the emergence of a United side that could challenge for the title.
For Villa, they will be taking heart out of the recent defeats for the Red Devils against Young Boys in the Champions League and West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
Solskjaer had an impressive transfer window bring in three quality additions in Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) and of course the returning Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) to supplement a side that has improved over the last few seasons.
Last season saw Villa edged out 2-1 with goals from Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes coming either side of an equaliser from Bertrand Traore.
Manchester United Team News
United will be without Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo who appear to be the only certain doubts.
Edinson Cavani should return following his return to training and other than his return it will likely be the same side that won away to West Ham last weekend.
Possible starting line up:
De Gea, Shaw, Maguire, Varane, Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Fred, Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba, Ronaldo
Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith yet again has multiple options unavailable due to numerous reasons as he continues to wait to have a full squad to choose from.
Trezeguet, Keinan Davis and Morgan Sanson will all miss the game through injury, as will Leon Bailey who starred in the win at home to Everton.
Axel Tuanzebe will be ineligible to play as he is on loan from United and Matt Targett has an adductor problem which could see Ashley Young start at his former club.
The good news is that John McGinn has been passed fit following his head injury last weekend and Villa will have a predominantly revitalised team with the likes of Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings returning following a rest midweek.
It is tough to call the team as Smith may operate the 3-5-2 again in which many would expect to see Kortney Hause come in for Axel Tuanzebe but that would likely see Emiliano Buendia, Jacob Ramsey or Bertrand Traore miss out.
Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Young, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Buendia, Watkins, Ings
One to watch:
It won’t be much of a surprise but Cristiano Ronaldo is today’s one to watch.
Where do you start when talking about one of the very best players of all time?
Ronaldo has returned to the Premier League and it feels like he never left, scoring 4 goals in 3 games since arriving back at Old Trafford.
Pace, skill, positioning, heading, finishing … he hasn’t really got a weakness!
Villa will have to come up with the solution of how to try and contain him and simply cannot allow him too much space or time on the ball.
A job that is easier said than done but will be the key to getting anything out of today’s game.
Head to Head record:
Manchester United 101 wins, 40 Draws, Aston Villa 49 wins
Last five meetings:
09 May 2021 – Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United (Premier League)
01 Jan 2021 – Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)
09 Jul 2020 – Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United (Premier League)
01 Dec 2019 – Manchester United 2-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
16 Apr 2016 – Manchester United 2-0 Aston Villa (Premier League)
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
A very difficult fixture for Villa who are still aiming to build some consistency with factors hampering squad selection almost every game so far.
Every player will need to be 100% on top of their game and midfield will be a tough battle with Pogba and Fernandes creating space and opportunities for others all game.
Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa
Tip of the day
Not to be negative but Manchester United to score in both halves is currently available at 11/10 which is good value for a side that have scored 9 in their first two league games at home. I would be more than happy if this didn’t come in though! (Reverse psychology)
As for Villa, I have got no basis whatsoever on this but I fancy a Konsa or Mings goal today. You can get Ezri Konsa to score anytime at 18/1 and Tyrone Mings at 22/1.
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