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Premier League

  • 15 April 2012
  • • 16:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 75138
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Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Leaders looking to recover from shock loss at Wigan by grabbing three crucial points

Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Leaders looking to recover from shock loss at Wigan by grabbing three crucial points

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The Red Devils' 12-game unbeaten league run came to a halt in midweek and they will be aiming to get their title push back on track by beating Alex McLeish’s side


PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani
Rooney, Welbeck
ASTON VILLA

Given
Hutton, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock
Bannan, Herd, Ireland, N'Zogbia
Heskey, Agbonlahor

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Paul Scholes will return to the side after being rested for their 1-0 defeat against Wigan Athletic. The midfielder is likely to take the place of fellow veteran Ryan Giggs, with the Welshman dropping to the bench.

This is unlikely to be the only change with Rafael, Nani and Danny Welbeck all pushing for a starting berth. Anderson (hamstring) and Anders Lindegaard (ankle) remain sidelined, while long-term injury absentees Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic will not feature again until next season.

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish could opt to bring in more experienced players with Carlos Cuellar and Emile Heskey likely to come into the starting line-up. Charles N’Zogbia may also start after coming off the bench in Villa’s 1-1 draw against Stoke City.

The game may come too soon for Ciaran Clark and Mark Albrighton to make their returns from injury, while Richard Dunne, Fabian Delph and Darren Bent are all unlikely to play again this season.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Manchester United currently sit joint top of the Premier League form table with Arsenal and Newcastle United - all three sides have won five and lost one of their last six matches.
  • Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea had gone six hours and 23 minutes without conceding before Shaun Maloney scored for Wigan on Wednesday.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have yet to be involved in a goalless draw in any competition so far this season.
  • The earlier match this term between the two at Villa Park ended in a narrow 1-0 win for Manchester United with Phil Jones grabbing the goal.
  • Aston Villa have only won three of their 39 matches against United since the Premier League started.
  • Alex McLeish’s side have the most draws (14) out of all the 20 teams so far this campaign.
  • The visitors have only won one of their last 10 league matches - a 1-0 win against Fulham at Villa Park.
  • Villa have drawn their two most recent matches 1-1 - at Anfield and at home to Stoke.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
2RafaelDefender
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
4Phil JonesDefender
17NaniMidfielder
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
6Alan HuttonDefender
19James CollinsDefender
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
43Eric LichajDefender
2Nathan BakerDefender
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
46Barry BannanMidfielder
22Gary GardnerMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
24Carlos Javier CuéllarDefender
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
36Daniel JohnsonMidfielder
40Samir CarruthersMidfielder
-Emile HeskeyStriker
14Nathan DelfounesoStriker
Players to Watch
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The veteran midfielder was rested as United slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Wigan but will come back into the side. Since coming out of retirement Scholes had helped his side remain unbeaten and was badly missed for the clash at the DW.

If Scholes is on form then United tend to play well. His passing helps to dictate the Red Devils' tempo and he has the ability to score vital goals at crucial stages in games. With Villa likely to sit back, the 37-year-old could hold the key to unlocking their defence.
Shay Given
Shay Given
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 31
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The former Manchester City shot-stopper will be hoping to do his old side a favour by keeping a clean sheet at Old Trafford. However he is likely to be busy against a United side looking to reinvigorate their title bid.

The 35-year-old will come up against one of the most in-form players in the league in Wayne Rooney and the battle between the two could go some way towards deciding the outcome of the match with the Red Devils' other strikers struggling for form.
Prediction
The hosts will be desperate to recover from losing to Wigan and a good performance and comfortable win would go some way towards getting their title bid back on track. Villa probably need one more win to make sure that they retain their Premier League status but the chances of that coming at Old Trafford are slim.

With the home support behind them, an early goal for United could see them grab an easy win against a Villa side with just one win from their last 10 matches. United talisman Rooney will be looking to get himself on the score sheet once again to help move his side closer to another domestic title.
Editor's Prediction

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