Aston Villa v Man Utd – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

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14 January 2022

Aston Villa host Man Utd at Villa Park on Saturday in the English Premier League. Steven Gerrard has overseen four wins for four defeats since replacing Dean Smith with losses in their last two. The Red Devils have played fives matches under Ralf Rangnick with three wins. These sides met just five days ago in the FA Cup as an 8th-minute goal for Man Utd proved the difference.

Aston Villa Form

Steven Gerrard made a big initial impression at Aston Villa as his first six matches brought four wins. Their only defeats came 2-1 at home to Man City and 1-0 at Liverpool in tight matches. They followed up that latter defeat by getting back to winning ways, 2-0 at Norwich with Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins goals.

Villa has lost three matches in a row since then. They led 1-0 at home to Chelsea have lost 3-1. They outplayed Brentford (1.1 xG to 0.5 xG) but were beaten by an 83rd-minute goal. Their most recent match saw a 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Man Utd. They conceded early in the match but played well, dominated possession and chances in periods, but eventually burnt out with a slow final 20 odd minutes.

Aston Villa Team News

Steven Gerrard is without three wingers for this match. Leon Bailey is injured and both Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore are at the AFCON. Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho is pushing to start after his arrival as is newly bought left-back, Lucas Digne.

The midfield is significantly weakened by the injury absence of Marvelous Nakamba and a suspension for John McGinn for five yellow cards. The latter is a huge loss and could see Morgan Sanson getting a start. If Coutinho plays, it could be Danny Ings who drops out with Ollie Watkins returning to a center-forward role.

Aston Villa Motivation

Villa would take a point from their match to arrest their slight recent slump. They will take the game to Rangnick’s team as they did in the FA Cup and in winning 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier this season under Dean Smith.

One issue for Gerrard is that his bench is lacking the firepower to turn the match so the first goal is this one feels crucial.

Man Utd Form

United have played seven matches since Ralf Rangnick arrived. He oversaw consecutive 1-0 wins in his first two league matches, vs Crystal Palace at home and Norwich in quite fortunate circumstances – they need a late penalty and some fine David De Gea saves. A very poor performance followed as they somewhat burgled a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

A fast start saw the side 3-0 up after 35 minutes against Burnley in a 3-1 win before a really poor display to lose 1-0 at home to Wolves. United only produced 0.8 Expected Goals in a toothless performance. They bounced back to beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the FA Cup but were outplayed for much of the opening 65 minutes.

Man Utd Team News

United have several problems with this match. Eric Bailly is at the AFCON and Harry Maguire is doubtful in defence, where Phil Jones also has a calf problem. Diego Dalot has a laceration on his foot but should recover to play. Luke Shaw is suspended so Alex Telles will start at left-back.

Paul Pogba is still injured in midfield and Scott McTominay is suspended for five yellow cards. Nemanja Matic should come into partner Fred. Cristiano Ronaldo should be fit to return after a groin problem upfront but Jadon Sancho has a thigh injury. Donny van de Beek is pushing for minutes.

Man Utd Motivation

United are six points off the top four albeit with two games in hand. They will go all out to take three points from this match and would consider a draw to be a poor result.

Ralf Rangnick is probably going to use a 4-2-3-1 setup again for greater balance than his preferred 4-2-2-2.

Key Stats

Aston Villa beat Man Utd 1-0 in September

Villa have lost their last 3 matches in all competitions

Man Utd have lost 1 of their last 10 matches (W6, D3)

MUFC have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 4 matches

Man Utd’s Ronaldo has scored 8 goals in 9 PL starts vs Villa

Verdict

This should be an exciting match. Villa played well on Monday against Man Utd and will have their vocal fans behind them. They could be decent value to take something from the clash.

Best Bet: Both teams to score at 1.68
Alternative Bet: Aston Villa win/draw double chance at 1.64
Alternative Bet: Draw at 3.50
Goalscorer Tip: Ronaldo anytime goalscorer at 2.25

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