Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Manchester United

Manchester United travel to the Midlands to face off against Dean Smith’s Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Back from Rome following their 8-4 aggregate score line win to progress into the UEFA Europa League final. Man United will be looking to get back into winning ways after a 3-2 loss against AS Roma. 

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side, a win against Villa could all but seal their place in the UEFA Champions League next season. The Norwegian boss will be without doubt opting to make team changes with his side competing in three Premier League games in the space of just five days. 

Fixtures against Leicester City and Liverpool in the upcoming week could see United win on Sunday and solidify their 2nd spot. With Chelsea occupying 3rd position now, they are only three points behind Solskjaer’s Reds who have two games in hand. 

Sunday afternoon’s clash will be televised live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League with kick-off commencing at 14:30. The referee will be Chris Kavanagh

A Form guide 

Coming into this game, United have seen themselves unbeaten in the league since January 2021. Their sensational league away record has seen them fail to drop all three points on their travels this season. 

United have won four of their last five Premier League games, with a dent coming against Leeds United, in a 0-0 stalemate last time out. 

In preparation for today’s game, United will be looking to beat Villa in a similar fashion they managed to do last season. June 2020 saw United comfortably win a 3-0 win at Villa Park, courtesy of goals from Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.  

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United beat Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford in the last meeting between the sides – a late Bruno Fernandes penalty won the game for the hosts. The Portuguese midfielder has coincidently scored the winning goal from the penalty spot in his last two games against Villa.

Villa host United with hopes of breaking their bad run of form against the Manchester side. The Claret and Blue have only won one of their last 44 Premier League games against Man United, losing 32 and have failed to beat the Red Devils in their last 16 meetings – dating back to December 2009.

For Smith, his current Villa side sees them having won their last game, a 2-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park. Villa will be looking to build off that confident performance and aim to collect a victory over United for the first time since 1999. 

Team News

Team news for United could see Solskjaer shuffle a few team changes ahead of the busy schedule. The likes of Amad, Donny van de Beek, Axel Tuanzebe and Juan Mata could be in line to feature in today’s game. 

Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay were amongst those rested on Thursday night and could feature in the starting eleven in today’s game. 

Absentees for the Reds see them without Frenchman Anthony Martial, who aims to recover in time for the Europa League Final after a lengthy spell out with a knee injury. Alongside Martial, the only other absentees for United are Phil Jones and Daniel James.

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The Lions’s team news sees Smith still without a key player in Jack Grealish. The talented Englishman is most certainly Villa’s talisman and is set to miss his 12th game in a row after a long-standing shin injury. 

A season-ending injury to winger Trezeguet sees Smith without his Egyptian after sustaining a knee injury in late April. Morgan Sanson is the third absentee for Villa with the 26-year-old also out with a knee problem. 

Ones to Watch

United’s one to watch for in this clash will be Edinson Cavani. 

The Uruguayan has elevated his goalscoring touch in recent games for the club and scored five goals in two appearances against Roma. 

The 34-year-old now has seven goals and two assists in his last seven games for the club and will certainly be aiming to add to his tally in his first-ever game against the hosts. The number seven has certainly built a strong case for a new contract at the club. 

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For Villa, their player to watch out for will be striker Ollie Watkins

Fresh after scoring his 13th league goal at Merseyside last weekend. The Englishman is yet to find the back of the net against United this season and will be hoping to break his duck against the visitors after previously scoring against them in June’s 2020 pre-season game. 

Should Solskjaer opt to change his centre-back pairing, the former Brentford man could hustle United’s second-string centre backs, due to the lack of games they’ve featured in recent times.

An action-packed month of May

Having started the month of May in Rome, United will have another six games to go till their season finally comes to a close.  An action-packed month of May sees United have 17 days to play six games – that includes a European Final in Poland. For the first time in four years, United could finally get their hands on a European trophy – if they can dispatch Unai Emery‘s Villareal. 

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It will be a busy and tiring couple of weeks for Solskjaer and his men, but a win against Villa could further see them adequately prepare for the Europa League Final on the 26th of May. A final they must absolutely triumph in, amidst the fans public unrest on the misguiding ownership of the club. 

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