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  • 1 February 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Foy
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Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Darren Bent set to take on Vidic and Ferdinand as hosts welcome back first choice defence

Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Darren Bent set to take on Vidic and Ferdinand as hosts welcome back first choice defence

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he will revert back to his usual defence after changing his entire back five for the FA Cup win over Southampton.

Rafael has recovered from concussion suffered at Blackpool, Patrice Evra will also return having missed the FA Cup clash due to a family bereavement while key trio Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar are also expected to feature.

Up front Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney are both expected to start after being left on the bench against Southampton, although Javier Hernandez’s recent goals mean the Mexican is pushing hard for a first-team place.

Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney.


Aston Villa


Record signing Darren Bent will return to the Villa team having been ineligible for their FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers.

Defenders Richard Dunne and James Collins should also return after missing the cup tie, while Villa’s other new recruit, Jean Makoun, may partner Stiliyan Petrov in midfield.

Possible starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark; Albrighton, Petrov, Makoun, Downing; Bent, Agbonlahor.

Comeback kings

Manchester United have made life difficult for themselves in recent fixtures, having to come from behind to beat both Blackpool and Southampton, which may just evoke memories of their last fixture against Aston Villa.

In November, goals by Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton had given the Midlanders a two-goal lead which they maintained until the 81st minute when Federico Macheda popped up to grab one back before Nemanja Vidic completed the recovery to snatch a point.

Whether the league leaders will be quite so generous again remains to be seen. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have conceded just seven goals at home so far this season, the best record in the top flight, and only West Brom have managed to deprive them of all three points on their own turf.

Hat-trick Houllier

Aston Villa, meanwhile, are showing signs of improvement having eased away from the drop zone with important wins over Manchester City and Wigan Athletic before making it three on the bounce by knocking Blackburn Rovers out of the FA Cup.

Yet to take anything from Old Trafford they will need to improve their away form which has seen them win just twice so far this season at struggling Wigan and Wolves.

Indeed a win at Old Trafford will make it a hat-trick of away wins for the season and they will fancy their chances having won at United last season when a first-half goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor was enough to secure victory.

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Editor's Prediction

The league leaders continue to win without looking at their best but will surely need to improve on recent displays if they are to despatch an improving Aston Villa.

Villa were a little unlucky not to beat United at Villa Park back in November but the hosts’ formidable home record means anything other than a win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will be considered a shock.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

Aston Villa

Wins
5
0
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MNU
Manchester United FC Manchester United
Draw
Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
87%

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MNU
2 - 0
Aston Villa FC AST
Manchester United FC MNU
3 - 1
Aston Villa FC AST
Manchester United FC MNU
3 - 0
Aston Villa FC AST

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