Nearing the end of a thrilling season where the race for 3rd & 4th place intensifies, the battle for relegation takes twists that only can be unveiled in the moment of that second, the battle at the top for the championship has been quite easy for Manchester United; considering how strong a force that their Blue Rivals across the town had in place! With 5 games left, this was the point where last season began twisting for the Red Devils; come tomorrow night, there will be no complacency, nothing taken for granted against an Aston Villa side who are currently going through a purple patch having won thrice and drawn once in their last 4 premier league fixtures.
With much controversy going behind the stages with Rooney’s potential United exit, Manchester United have done well as a team to get away from matters that they cannot help about. Coming away with 4 points in two away games against opposition who are lethal in air and can play good box to box attacking football has probably given Manchester United and its fans to finally look into basking upon their 20th Title. Although Sir Alex & his Red Devils would know that his Scottish counterpart, Paul Lambert would lead a team tomorrow night to delay the certainly inevitable charge towards the title by putting an attacking team and mindset upon his players, simply because they have nothing to lose. The Red Devils defense had put in a stupendous performance against a valiant Stoke side just to be pegged by a brilliant Diame goal at Upton Park by their opposition.
With Van Persie back amongst the goals, with a solid defense at the back, with their midfield showing a certain spark against West Ham and the possibility of sealing it all up tomorrow, Manchester United will step out into Old Trafford to potentially fulfill yet another dream.
“Nothing to lose” as a remark from a team’s manager who have everything to lose as they currently are dangling on the thread of a needle at 17th place would have been a remark to calm down his players’ nerves in addition to the challenge that he was throwing at his players. Stopping Manchester United at Old Trafford right on the brink of a glory could be a daunting challenge, but if they come out unscathed by doing the inevitable of emulating what Everton managed to do last season; Aston Villa would certainly go down the history books for many reasons. One such reason would be in succeeding in giving them a chance to Battle it out in the top flight for yet another season.
Having given away 60 goals & just scored a mere 35, out of which 15 has been scored by Bentecke shows how over reliant Aston Villa have been on him. Their midfield has been virtually non-existent throughout most of this season barring a late surge in form over the last six games. Bentecke, Weimann and Agbonlahor together with Ciaran Clark are the only one’s currently who look to have taken the battle to the opposition. If they are to come away any near troubling Manchester United at their own fortress tomorrow, it would take much more effort than these 4 put together.
Manchester United have a full squad available with the exception of Ashley Young, who has been ruled out for the entire season & Paul Scholes who is still sidelined with a knee injury.
Man United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Nani, Valencia, Powell, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Giggs, Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck.
The inform striker Gabriel Agbonlahor could return for the tie after missing last week’s tie after suffering a groin injury. Midfielder Gary Gardner could also return after missing almost the entire season with knee ligament damage. Although Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton and Richard Dunne are still out with foot and groin injuries.
Aston Villa (from): Guzan, Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Stevens, Baker, Bennett, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Ireland, Westwood, Dawkins, N’Zogbia, Bannan, Holman, Benteke, Agbonlahor, Bent, Bowery, Weimann.
- Manchester United with 81 points have 2 & half times as much as the points that Aston Villa with 34 that they currently have.
- Manchester United as a team have lost just once against Aston Villa from 1995.
- Robin Van Persie is Manchester United’s top goal scorer with 21 goals while Christian Bentecke with 15 goals is Aston Villa’s top scorer.
- The above said two goal scorers are currently nominated for PFA Player of the Year & PFA Young Player of the Year respectively for their prolific season with their respective teams.
- Wayne Rooney loves scoring against Aston Villa as he has 7 goals in the last few matches against them, having scored twice in their 4-0 victory last season in the same fixture.
As this is being written with Manchester City losing 3-1 to Tottenham, Manchester United now can close out the title if they win against Aston Villa. Although this would only give Aston Villa a further impetus to thwart the Red Devils, for reasons known to the entire football fraternity; survival at stake. Having been subjected to a hard fought defeat at the beginning of the season after taking a 2-0 lead, Aston Villa as a team have it in them to atleast come away with a point.
Manchester United 3 – 1 Aston Villa