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

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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