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Preview: Aberdeen vs. Dundee United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Aberdeen and Dundee United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In the first round of fixtures of the 2021-22 Scottish Premiership campaign, Aberdeen will play host to Dundee United on Sunday, with both sides looking to start with a victory.

The two teams have already been in competitive action this season, with the hosts having defeated Hacken over two legs in Europa Conference League Qualifying, while their opponents cruised through the group stage of the Scottish League Cup.

Match preview

Dundee United's Lawrence Shankland in action on May 8, 2021© Reuters

Aberdeen come into Sunday's game hoping for a positive start after a fairly impressive campaign last season, when they finished in fourth spot in the Scottish top flight.

With giants Rangers and Celtic running away as the top two sides from a very early stage, the Reds found themselves in a heated battle for third spot for the majority of the campaign, eventually finishing in fourth place, seven points behind Hibernian.

While they would never regain third place after a 2-0 defeat to Hibernian with five games left to play, their fourth-placed finish did still earn them a spot in qualification for the Europa Conference League in its first year, and they entered in the second round of qualifying with a two-legged tie against Swedish outfit Hacken.

A 5-2 victory in the home leg seemed to all but confirm their passage, as Lewis Ferguson hit a brace alongside goals from Andy Considine, Christian Ramirez and Connor McLennan, but a 2-0 away defeat followed as goals from Martin Olsson and Leo Bengtsson saw Stephen Glass's side run much closer than they would have expected.

Nonetheless, that result has seen them progress to the final round of qualification before the group stage, with a tie against Icelandic side Breidablik looming, although their attention will be fully focussed on the opening league game until they return to continental action net week.

Glass's side will hope to bring the positives from the first leg into Sunday in order to put a win on the board at the first time of asking, although they face a tough test against a Dundee United side keen to improve on last season's ninth-placed finish.

Aberdeen's Sam Cosgrove in action in November 2020© Reuters

In their first campaign back in the top flight after promotion, Dundee United had a fairly strong start to last season, collecting seven points from their first four games to announce their intentions, but a disappointing campaign followed, and they would end up in the relegation group when the league was split for the second phase.

A run of two defeats and two draws from the last four games saw the Tangerines drop to third place in the group, having looked set to pip both St Mirren and Motherwell to first place and seventh spot overall, with both sides finishing just one point ahead.

This time around, Tam Courts will lead his side into the season with the aim of finishing in the top six, earning a place in the championship group with a chance to challenge for European football, although they will face intense competition for spots at the top end of the table from the likes of Sunday's opponents.

They will come into the league opener with some confidence, having already been qualified for the Scottish League Cup knockout stage, topping Group B by winning all four of their games in the group alongside Arbroath, Kelty Hearts, Elgin City and East Fife.

Sunday will definitely present a much greater challenge, but Courts will stress the importance of picking up a positive result against one of the sides they may have to dethrone if they are to achieve a strong finish this season.

Aberdeen form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Dundee United form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Aberdeen's Joe Lewis pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Aberdeen will be without centre-back Michael Devlin, who is out of action with an ankle injury.

In his absence, Ross McCrorie and experienced defender Andy Considine should partner up at the heart of the back four, shielding Joe Lewis between the sticks.

New arrivals Fraser Hornby and Ryan Edmondson will both battle for spots in attack, but Christian Ramirez will likely be trusted to lead the line after scoring in the Europa Conference League following his move from MLS outfit Houston Dynamo at the beginning of July.

Lewis Ferguson will also play an important role going forward from midfield, having hit a brace in the 5-1 first-leg win over Hacken.

They will be led out by new signing and captain Scott Brown, who arrived in the summer after leading Celtic to nine consecutive Scottish Premiership titles.

Dundee United will be without Mark Connolly and Declan Glass through injury, while Louis Appere is also expected to miss out.

Courts has only made two senior additions to his side so far in the summer transfer window, although the capture of Charlie Mulgrew should excite the Tangerines' fans, with the defender having made 44 appearances for the Scottish national side.

Forward Lawrence Shankland could be the key man for Dundee United this season, having already hit three goals in four Scottish Cup Games, and he will be keen to improve on last season's somewhat underwhelming tally of nine goals.

Aberdeen possible starting lineup:
Lewis; Ramsay, McCrorie, Considine, Hayes; Ojo, Brown, Ferguson; Emmanuel-Thomas, Ramirez, Hedges

Dundee United possible starting lineup:
Siegrest; Reynolds, Edwards, Mulgrew; Smith, Fuchs, Pawlett, Butcher, Robson; Clark, Shankland

SM words green background

We say: Aberdeen 2-1 Dundee United

While Dundee United will certainly pose a threat on Sunday, Aberdeen will be keen to kickstart their domestic season with a victory in their push for a top-three finish, and we see them having enough to come away with all three points.

Ahead of his first full season in charge of the Reds, Glass will know the importance of a strong start, likely drilling his side well in preparation for the opening league game.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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General view of Aberdeen's Pittodrie Stadium from 2008
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