United come into the game after a clinical and ruthless display against bitter rivals Liverpool. 6 wins out of 6 games and United find them 5 points behind Manchester City in 2nd and 8 points behind Chelsea in 1st. All the more reason for Manchester United to make it 7 out of 7 and keep the momentum going with a title challenge undoubtedly achievable at this moment. Aston Villa on the other hand come in to the game on the back of a Midlands Derby loss to West Bromwich Albion. Paul Lambert’s side is having and average season so far with consistent share of ups and downs.
Team News :
Manchester United : Both Angel Di Maria and Luke Shaw are back in training but it looks unlikely that either one of them would start against Aston Villa. Specially Luke Shaw considering the extent of the injury he suffered. Furthermore Louis Van Gaal would not want to risk them considering the fixture congestion between Christmas and New Year period. Chris Smalling (Groin), Jesse Lingard (Ankle), Marcus Rojo (Thigh) and Daley Blind (Knee) are still out of contention. Marouane Fellaini is also likely to be sidelined due to illness.
Aston Villa : United old boy Kieran Richardson is suspended along with Alan Hutton while Tom Cleverley is ineligible to play against his parent club. On the injury front Joe Cole (Hamstring), Ashley Westwood (Knee), Nathan Baker (Knee),Philippe Senderos (Calf) and Libor Kozak (Leg) are all out of contention. Fabian Delph is likely to get his first start in 11 weeks and the villains could also see the return of captain Ron Vlaar to the starting lineup.
Predicted Lineups :
Manchester United :
Davd De Gea
Valencia Jones Evans Young
Lowton Vlaar Clark Cissokho
Weimann N’Zogbia Agbonlahor
Key Battles : Christian Benteke vs Phil Jones and Jonny Evans
On his day Christian Benteke could be a real handful for any defender in the league. Phil Jones and Jonny Evans need to be a their best if they are to deal with his physicality. We have far too often seen the likes of Jones and Evans being bullied by physically strong front men in the past. United’s center backs need to be on their toes to stop Benteke winning the first ball and bringing Aston Villa’s quicker players in to the game.
Last Five League Meetings:
15 April 2012- MUFC 4–0 AVFC
10 November 2012- AVFC 2–3 MUFC
22 April 2013- MUFC 3–0 AVFC
15 December 2013- AVFC 0–3 MUFC
29 March 2014- MUFC 4–1 AVFC
Prediction : 0-3 Manchester United win. United are currently the most inform side in the league and beaming with confidence. The Red Devils are out to prove a point this season and may be too hot to handle for The Villans.