|Can Manchester United make it 16 games unbeaten vs Villa? (Image from Footballia)|
Teams: Aston Villa vs Manchester United
Date: Thursday 9th July 2020
KO Time: 20:15 BST
Stadium: Villa Park
Managers: Dean Smith and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Referee: Jonathan Moss
On Saturday, Manchester United’s attack put in probably their performance of the Premier League season so far against Bournemouth. They smashed in 5 goals, which certainly could’ve been more, had Aaron Ramsdale not pulled off some excellent saves and Rashford not been penalised unfairly by VAR. Meanwhile, the defence looked a little shaky, especially as went 1-0 down and could’ve even allowed Bournemouth to make it 3-3 at one point.
Nonetheless, the team got the job done and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it 16 games unbeaten, with 3 wins in a row for the second time as manager of Manchester United. Next up, it’s Aston Villa, a very winnable game as the race for the Champions League hots up even more.
For Aston Villa, Wesley and Tom Heaton are ruled out for the rest of the season, even with the added Coronavirus break. John McGinn continues his comeback from his long layoff from an ankle injury. He played 90 minutes against Liverpool on Sunday for the first time since December so will be expected to start again here.
Manchester United are likely to play their full starting lineup once again, as we continue the search for Champions League football. Victor Lindelof is the only doubt after he was taken off at half time with an injury against Bournemouth. Otherwise, the front three were all subbed in that game so could be expected to start again here. Pogba and Bruno Fernandes looked unstoppable in that game so will likely feature together once again.
- Manchester United have not lost to Aston Villa since December 2009, and have not lost at Villa Park since October 1999
- Manchester United would move onto 99 total wins against Aston Villa if they win on Thursday night.
- Manchester United have not failed to score against Aston Villa in their last 15 meetings
- Only three United players are still at the club from the side that last played and won at Villa Park in 2015 with Mata, Shaw and Romero all starting that match and Adnan Januzaj getting the only goal of the game
- David De Gea will overtake Peter Schmeichel in appearances for Manchester United when he appears against Aston Villa
As I just mentioned, Manchester United were absolutely fantastic against Bournemouth, putting in a fluid performance where everything in attack just clicked. The defensive frailty we showed will again have been a point of worry for Solskjaer, but he has shown confidence in his players before and we can expect him to do so again here.
Luke Shaw has been fantastic since the restart and will probably start again. Matic is another who has greatly improved towards the end of the season and he could see a starting place again here, alongside the pairing of Pogba and Fernandes.
Finally, the aforementioned front three will most likely be kept in to ensure their continued fluency. To see how The United Devils have rated players since the restart, check out the article here.
Predicted Team: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial
As for the score, I expect Manchester United to sweep Aston Villa aside, as they did AFC Bournemouth, and move to within 1 point of 4thplace in the Premier League. After Leicester City’s draw against Arsenal, the door is open for Manchester United and, once a deadly striker, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will definitely be smelling blood. Our front three is one of the deadliest in the Premier League and they can continue to fill their boots here.
Predicted Score: 0-4 to United