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Preview: Manchester United vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups
24/09/2021 13:56:00

Manchester United will be looking to continue their impressive start to the 2021-22 Premier League season when they welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon (12:30PM, 25 Sept).

The Red Devils are currently third in the table, level on points with leaders Chelsea, while Villa occupy 10th position, having collected seven points from their opening five games of the campaign.

We say: Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

Villa's quality in attack means that they will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet at Old Trafford, but we cannot ignore the team's recent struggles against Man United in the Premier League. The Red Devils will be determined to bounce back from the disappointment of Wednesday's League Cup defeat to West Ham, and we are backing the home side to collect all three points here.

Match preview

Man United were knocked out of the EFL Cup by West Ham United on Wednesday night, while the English giants suffered a 2-1 defeat at Young Boys in their Champions League group-stage opener on September 14, meaning that the club have not exactly covered themselves in glory in the cup competitions this term.

That said, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have made a strong start to the 2021-22 Premier League campaign, picking up 13 points from their five matches, courtesy of four wins and a draw, to sit third in the table, only behind leaders Chelsea on goal difference heading into the next set of fixtures.

A spectacular finish at the London Stadium last weekend saw Jesse Lingard put Man United 2-1 ahead before West Ham United captain Mark Noble had a penalty saved by David de Gea, and the 20-time English champions will now be looking to secure their third straight Premier League victory this weekend.

The Red Devils have two huge home games before the international break, as they will welcome Villarreal to Old Trafford in the Champions League next Wednesday, and there is certainly pressure on the team following their disappointing result against Young Boys in the middle of the month.

Cristiano Ronaldo was again on the scoresheet against West Ham in the league last weekend, and the Portugal international has now netted four times in three appearances since returning to Old Trafford.

Villa, meanwhile, have had a mixed start to the 2021-22 Premier League season, winning two, drawing one and losing two of their five matches to collect seven points, which has left them in 10th spot in the table.

Like Man United, Dean Smith's side were also knocked out of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night, with the club losing on penalties at Stamford Bridge after playing out a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Villa also lost 3-0 at Chelsea in the Premier League on September 11 but were in impressive form against Everton in the league last weekend, recording a 3-0 victory, with Matty Cash and Leon Bailey on the scoresheet for the hosts, who now have two tough away games against Man United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Smith's team, who finished 11th in the Premier League last season, will certainly believe that they are capable of harming Man United this weekend, but Villa have incredibly picked up just one win in their last 45 Premier League games against Man United, losing 33 times in the process.

What's more, the Red Devils have won 18 of their last 21 home league games against Villa, who are without a success over Man United in any competition since a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in December 2009.

Team News

Man United will again be without the services of Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo on Saturday through injury, while Edinson Cavani faces a battle to be involved, having only just returned to first-team training.

Solskjaer is expected to make 11 changes from the EFL Cup defeat to West Ham, and it would not be a surprise to see the same side that took to the field for the league game against the Hammers last weekend.

Indeed, Paul Pogba should operate off the left, with Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield, while Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes will feature in the areas behind Ronaldo.

Jadon Sancho has found it difficult to make his mark in the early stages of his career at Old Trafford, and the England international is expected to start on the bench against Smith's side.

As for Villa, Axel Tuanzebe is ineligible to face his parent club, while Trezeguet, Keinan Davis and Morgan Sanson will all miss the contest at Old Trafford through injury.

Matt Targett is also a doubt due to an abductor problem, while John McGinn and Bailey are facing battles to be available due to a concussion and a thigh issue respectively.

The visitors could again operate in a 3-5-2 formation, with Kortney Hause coming in for Tuanzebe, while there might be a start for former Man United captain Ashley Young if Targett is not available.

Villa should have plenty of firepower, though, with Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins set to start as the front two, meaning that Emiliano Buendia might have to accept a spot on the bench.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Ronaldo

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:

Martinez; Mings, Hause, Konsa; Cash, Luiz, Nakamba, Ramsey, Young; Ings, Watkins

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