Having had their lead at the top of the Premier League cut to 5 points after defeat at the DW Stadium, Manchester United will be looking to keep the pressure up on title rivals Manchester City. Strugglers Aston Villa are the visitors for this important game at Old Trafford, one which United cannot afford to drop points in. By the time the game is played, with Manchester City playing on Saturday, the lead at the top of the Premier League could potentially be cut down to just 2 points.
From the players on the short term injury list, only Anderson and Michael Owen remain. Phil Jones clearly picked up a knock vs Wigan away but he is expected to be fit for selection. With Paul Scholes dropped midweek, it has been confirmed by Sir Alex Ferguson that he will play vs Aston Villa. Having been substituted midweek, Wayne Rooney is also expected to start.
Likely XI: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Valencia, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck.
Manchester United have just suffered their 1st Premier League loss since Newcastle away in January. Before that we were on a run of 8 straight league wins.
Aston Villa currently have a host of injuries. Key players in Darren Bent, Richard Dunne and Fabian Delph will be missing for the rest of the season. Mark Albrighton and Chris Herd are set to miss out. Nathan Delfouneso, Steven Warnock and Ciaran Clark are doubtful and will probably be having late fitness tests.
Likely XI: Given, Hutton, Collins, Cuellar, Lichaj, Ireland, Gardner, Bannan, N’Zogbia, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
Aston Villa have not recorded a league victory since March 10th. Since then, Aston Villa have lost 2 and drawn their last 2. Standing in 15th and 6 points ahead of the relegation zone, you would think that Aston Villa are safe in the knowledge that they will be playing Premier League football next season, however they could still mathematically go down.
Head to head’s
This fixture at Old Trafford is another very successful one for Manchester United. It has yielded 8 wins from the last 9 games. With Aston Villa’s current run of bad form, you wouldn’t bet against Manchester United making it 9 wins from the last 10 games vs Aston Villa at Old Trafford.