Aston Villa vs Manchester United
Dec 15, 2013 at 1.30pm (UK)
A struggling Manchester United side travel to Villa Park to take on an equally unpredictable Aston Villa outfit on Sunday. While many fans and experts worldwide claim this match to have huge impact over the course of the campaign, David Moyes too is under severe pressure to finally deliver. The Red Devils are currently ninth on the table after an indifferent campaign of fifteen games till now, whereas Paul Lambert’s Aston Villas are just two places down at eleventh.
United come into the match after the 1-0 win over Ukrainian side Shaktar Dontesk in the Champions League, thus securing their place in the last sixteen as table toppers. Villa lost 2-0 away to Fulham last Sunday but they did manage to notch up a fine 3-2 win over Southampton the week earlier and would be hoping inflict a third successive Premier League defeat on Manchester United, for the first time since 2001, when these two sides go head to head on Sunday.
The home side’s form has been very inconsistent, despite them having a talented squad who can beat the very best if they go full throttle and play upto their potential. The home side have only won seven points at their famed Villa Park stadium, thus Paul Lambert would be looking to get the record straight when his side take on the defending Champions. Unfortunately for Villans, Manchester United have always been at their best at Villa Park as they beat the Claret and Blue both times in their past two previous meetings here.
Coming to the team news, David Moyes’ side has been further beleaguered by Robin Van Persie’s thigh injury sustained in midweek, which rules him out till the festive period and the new year. Elsewhere United would be more than happy to welcome spearhead striker Wayne Rooney from suspension, as they try to reclaim their faulty season which currently sees them thirteen points adrift of leaders and current pace setters Arsenal. One more goal from Rooney will see him score 150 goals for the Red Devils.
For Villa, they will be without Fabian Delph as he will have to sit out, thanks to the fifth yellow card he picked up against Fulham last week. Christian Benteke hasn’t been in the best of form this campaign and the same can also be said of Gabriel Agbonlahor. I doubt what Lambert’s system will be up against United, with the 4-3-3 being the most preferred one.
For United another loss surely means their top 4 challenge will receive a major blow let alone their title aspirations, while Villa will be looking to put in a more determined home performance. Back in April, United were crowned the Champions when the last time these two met. It was a 3-0 victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’ men, but with a different manager and a different season, things looks awfully different this time around.
Possible starting lineups
Aston Villa: Guzan; Bacuna, Baker, Lowton, Clark; Westwood, Tonev, Sylla; Benteke, Weimann, Agbonlahor
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans; Jones, Cleverley, Valencia, Kagawa; Hernandez, Rooney
- Aston Villa are the only team in the league this season to have not dropped any points from a match in which they have been leading.
- Wayne Rooney has scored eight goals in his last 10 Barclays Premier League games against Villa, but they have all come in braces.
- Christian Benteke has now gone 10 hours and 40 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal.
- Aston Villa have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League home games and six of their last nine overall in the competition.
- Manchester United have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League games.
- Wayne Rooney has netted 10 goals against Aston Villa, his joint-highest tally against any opponent in Premier League history.
Stats compiled from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com
Coming to the prediction, I feel both the sides will play out an interesting high scoring draw by the 2-2 scoreline.