Aston Villa faces Man Utd in the English Premier League on Sunday at Villa Park. The hosts sit 16th in the table and are just a point above the drop zone. New coach Unai Emery faces a United side in very good form with one defeat in 10 in the league. Villa haven’t beaten United at home in the league since 1995, after which we heard the infamous “you can’t win anything with kids” comment.
Aston Villa Form
It’s been a poor season so far for Aston Villa. Their first five league matches brought four losses and a solitary win, 2-1 at home to Everton. They looked to be turning a corner under Steven Gerrard after that, drawing 1-1 at home with Man City, beating Southampton 1-0, and drawing their next two.
However, successive losses saw the axe fall on Gerrard after the manner of a 3-0 defeat at Fulham. Caretaker coach Aaron Danks oversaw a fine 4-0 home win against Brentford in the next match, leading 3-0 after 17 minutes and producing 2.90 xG (with six big chances created). They were back to their leaky selves last time out, being thoroughly outclassed 4-0 at Newcastle. Villa conceded 20 shots and 3.44 xG in the match.
Aston Villa Team News
Villa are set to be without three key players for this fixture due to injury. Emi Martinez went off with a concussion at St. James’ Park so Robin Olsen is set to deputise in goal. Defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara is not yet ready to return. Diego Carlos remains out injured long-term.
Unai Emery took training on Wednesday and may have some clear ideas of which players he fancies. The Spanish coach often goes with a 4-4-2 shape so players like Emi Buendia and Philippe Coutinho may need to compete for places in the wide areas.
Aston Villa Motivation
Anyone who has seen an Emery team play will know that he isn’t concerned with possession. His sides are very compact and strong on transitions but can also play out from the back. He is all about drawing opponents out of their half and exploiting the space behind.
Villa are at home and may play to win the game initially, but Emery could quite easily set up defensively and play for a point from the start too.
Man Utd Form
United are in good form right now. The 6-3 Manchester derby thrashing came on the back of four straight league wins. They’ve not lost any league matches since that humiliation, winning at Everton, beating Spurs at home in convincing fashion, and drawing 1-1 at Chelsea.
That point in the last-minute at Stamford Bridge has been followed by a 3-0 home win against Sheriff, a 1-0 home league win against West Ham, and a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad in midweek. That victory on Thursday was not enough to secure top spot in their Europa League group.
Man Utd Team News
Erik Ten Hag is without the suspended Bruno Fernandes in midfield for this one. Raphael Varane misses out in defence due to injury so Victor Lindelof could start in preference to Harry Maguire. Jadon Sancho is doubtful after illness and this match may also come too soon for winger Antony and Anthony Martial.
Fred is expected to start with Christen Eriksen moving into Fernandes’ number ten position in preference to Donny van de Beek. Marcus Rashford will return to the XI and could play wide with Cristiano Ronaldo starting up front. Alejandro Garnacho will hope to keep his place on the flank for a first Premier League start after scoring on Thursday.
Man Utd Motivation
United knows this will be a tough fixture on the road but three points are expected. Ten Hag would see a draw as a poor result.
With the lack of attacking options due to injuries and suspension, there aren’t many ways to change the match should Villa score first. The first goal is crucial in this match.
Aston Villa haven’t beaten Man Utd at home since 1995 (PL)
Villa have won 3 of their 6 home matches this season (PL)
Aston Villa have seen Both Teams to Score No in their last 3 home PL matches
United have lost just 1 of their last 10 PL matches
Man Utd have won 3 of their last 5 away PL matches (L1, D1)
Man Utd have conceded in 15 of their last 17 away PL matches
This should be an intriguing game with Unai Emery in the dugout. He would love to end the 27-year wait for a home victory vs Man Utd. The visitors are in strong form but their attacking options look a little thin for this match. I can see this ending 1-0 to whichever team scores first.
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score NO at 2.15
Value Bet: Man Utd to win by 1 goal at 3.80
Multiplier Leg: Man Utd/Draw double chance + under 2.5 goals at 2.50