Aston Villa - Manchester United Preview: Villans look to end 17-year wait for home win over Red Devils
The Red Devils travel to Birmingham having not lost in 17 previous visits, but Paul Lambert's men will be buoyed by a win over Sunderland in their previous league outing
By Ewan Roberts
Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens
Weimann, Delph, El Ahmadi, Bannan
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Rooney, Young
Paul Lambert is sweating on the fitness of Darren Bent (ankle), while Charles N’Zogbia (knee) and Richard Dunne (groin) remain sidelined.
Joe Bennett (knee) was forced off against Sunderland, while his replacement, Eric Lichaj, is suspended.
With Chris Herd (knee) and Nathan Baker (ankle/foot) doubtful, Enda Stevens could make a first Premier League start at left-back with Karim El Ahmadi available again after suspension.
Manchester United are still without Nemanja Vidic (knee), who could be out until Christmas, Phil Jones (knee) and Shinji Kagawa (knee).
Chris Smalling returned from injury against Braga on Wednesday night and could start if Jonny Evans does not recovery from a slight groin problem.
Sir Alex Ferguson rested Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young for the trip to Portugal, with Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Rafael coming off the bench, but all should start on Saturday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Aston Villa have only won three of their 40 matches against Manchester United since the Premier League began.
- Their only league win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the last 17 years came in 2009, a 1-0 win secured by Gabriel Agbonlahor (pictured right).
- Only Sunderland have had fewer shots on target than Aston Villa this season, with the Villans hitting the target just 3.3 times per match.
- Villa have been shown 24 yellow cards this season – the joint worst offenders in the league - and have seen red twice.
- Manchester United have scored more goals than any other side in the league this season (26), while Villa have netted just eight times.
- But the Red Devils have kept just two clean sheets this year, as many as their opponents today.
- Sir Alex’s side have not lost at Villa Park in the league since 1995 – 17 matches ago.
- Robin van Persie leads the Premier League’s scoring charts with eight goals from eight starts, plus three assists.
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Top 3 Predictions
Aston Villa 0-3 Man Utd.
- 22.42 %
Aston Villa 1-3 Man Utd.
- 16.22 %
Aston Villa 0-2 Man Utd.
- 8.48 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 15, 2013||Aston Villa 0 - Man Utd. 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 22, 2013||Man Utd. 3 - Aston Villa 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 10, 2012||Aston Villa 2 - Man Utd. 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 15, 2012||Man Utd. 4 - Aston Villa 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 3, 2011||Aston Villa 0 - Man Utd. 1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Aston Villa 4 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Newcastle 1 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|Feb 11, 2014||Cardiff City 0 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|Feb 8, 2014||Aston Villa 0 - West Ham 2||EPL|
|Feb 1, 2014||Everton 2 - Aston Villa 1||EPL|
|8||Karim El Ahmadi||Midfielder|
|21||Jordan Nathaniel Bowery||Striker|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|14||Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez||Striker|
The United offence should have too much quality for the home side and Sir Alex Ferguson has plenty of options off the bench should he need them, unlike Paul Lambert and his young, threadbare team.