Manchester United will look to carry on their good run of form and go level on points with league leaders Liverpool with victory on Friday evening. We welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford in what will be a fascinating game. The Midlands side come into this tie after their impressive win against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day and then the draw against Chelsea days later.
Over the course of this season so far, United have had to come back after conceding an early goal for victories in a number of games away from home. Ole and players will take great pleasure in the 1-0 win against Wolves on Tuesday night. Though it was not our best performance, United kept their patience. We were able to get to the victory thanks to a 93rd deflected winner from Marcus Rashford.
Ole will be happy with the perseverance shown by the players. The goal by Rashford meant United now lie second in the table and Liverpool’s draw at Newcastle means a victory against Villa will see us level on points with the league leaders.
United will need to have an improved performance on Friday evening as against Wolves the other night, we were slow in our attack and the ball was not being moved quickly enough. Whilst we may not see the Midlands side as rivals for the Champions League places, in the long run. A slip up against Villa would see them in a stronger position given their recent form.
Aston Villa currently sits fifth in the table with a game in hand on United. Dean Smith deserves credit for his side transformation as they were staring down relegation last season to now pushing for a top-four place. With a number of games still to play during the second half of the season, Smith will be telling his players not to get ahead of themselves. Consistency might be a factor when it comes to final league places at the end of the season.
Manchester United vs Aston Villa Details
Teams: Manchester United vs Aston Villa
Date: January 1st, 2020 (Friday)
KO Time: 20:00 BST
Competition: Premier League
Stadium: Old Trafford
Referee: Michael Oliver
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Dean Smith
Manchester United Team News
United will be without Edinson Cavani after the FA had given him a three-match ban due to a social media post containing a Spanish phrase that is offensive in some contexts. Anthony Martial is expected to return after being a substitute for the game against Wolves.
Luke Shaw, Fred, and Scott McTominay are expected to be in the starting eleven replacing Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic, and Paul Pogba. Eric Bailly will partner Harry Maguire in the defence as Ole will not look to take risks with Victor Lindelof’s long term back problem.
Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked how comforting was it for the team to not panic against Wolves. He said, “We have to know that games, so many games, are decided towards the end. It is very seldom that you can blow teams away and win at half-time. Then the subs will come on and make a difference. That has happened so many times for us and the belief is there, and the discipline is there to play a certain way. We’re getting more and more used to the way we want to play.”
Ole was asked if the mentality is changing now within the players with him responding by saying, “Yeah, definitely. One, they’re two years older than when I came. Two, some of them are really strong personalities that we’ve brought in and they have really been a good influence. I think we have competition for places, which means you cannot go around thinking that you can just fake your way through being part of this team because you only deserve to be in a team that you contribute to.”
He was asked about our opponents and how well they have been performing telling the media, “They’ve been brilliant. I have to say Dean Smith has done a fantastic job. We played them in pre-season and they beat us in our one game we had before the league. We know all about how tough this is going to be – they have got individual players, they’re physically strong and, defensively, they have been one of the better teams in the league.”
Aston Villa Team News
Defender Tyrone Mings will return after serving his one-game suspension after picking up a red card against Crystal Palace. Ross Barkley has returned from fitness and may feature against United replacing Bertrand Traore in the side. Meanwhile, Trézéguet is currently on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Manager Dean Smith previewed the game and said, “These are the games that the players want to play in. They look forward to these ones. Manchester United is probably one of the first fixtures all of the players look for. We had a good result there last season and we feel we’re in a better place now, but we know the talent that Manchester United have got.“
Manchester United Premier League form: WDWWDW
Manchester United form (all competitions): DWWWDW
Aston Villa Premier League form: LWDWWD
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 43 Premier League games against Aston Villa (W31 D11).
- United holds the top-flight record of 27 wins on New Year’s Day.
- Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in 32 goals in his 29 Premier League appearances.
- United are currently on a nine-match unbeaten league run, winning seven and drawing two.
- Manchester United have kept all four of their league clean sheets at Old Trafford
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, and Martial.
United will go into this game knowing victory against Aston Villa will put us level on points with league leaders Liverpool. However, we have to be wary of the threat that Villa poses after they impressed in the corresponding fixture last season at Old Trafford. Ole has the benefit to rotate the squad and we do have more than enough quality to outdo our opponents.
Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa