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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

The Red Devils recorded a 1-0 victory over Villa when the two teams met in the FA Cup on Monday, with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal of the third-round contest at Old Trafford.

Match preview

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard before the match on January 10, 2022© Reuters

A strong Villa side could not overcome Man United in the FA Cup on Monday, but head coach Steven Gerrard will have been delighted with what he saw from his team for long spells of the contest, with the home side needing to ride their luck to advance to the fourth round of the competition.

Villa have shown their intent by bringing Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne to the club during the January window, and there is no question that Gerrard will be targeting a top-half finish, despite the fact that the team actually sit a disappointing 14th in the table after 19 matches of the 2021-22 campaign.

The hosts have won seven, drawn one and lost 11 of their 19 league games this term to collect 22 points, but they are only three points behind 10th-placed Leicester City, and it is difficult to look too closely at the table at the moment, as a number of teams have matches to catch up on after COVID-19 issues.

Villa have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions, including three of their last four in the league against Liverpool, Chelsea and Brentford, which has seen them slide down the table.

The Lions beat Man United 1-0 in the reverse match at Old Trafford back in September, but they have not overcome the Red Devils at Villa Park in the league since August 1995.

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick celebrates after the match on January 10, 2022© Reuters

The visitors might have beaten Villa in the FA Cup on Monday, but they lost their last league game at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 3, which put a dent in their top-four aspirations.

Ralf Rangnick's side are currently seventh in the table, six points behind fourth-placed West Ham United with two games in hand on the Hammers, so they are still very much in the argument for a Champions League spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo has said that only a top-three spot will be good enough for the club, but they are 11 points off third-placed Liverpool and will find it difficult to finish any higher than fourth this term.

The 20-time English champions have three huge Premier League matches against Villa, Brentford and West Ham to finish the month of January before taking on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup at the start of February.

The Champions League also resumes next month, with the Red Devils, who won 3-1 at Villa Park in the Premier League last term, facing Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, and the 2021-22 campaign could yet to be a success for Man United despite their issues thus far.

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Aston Villa form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

Manchester United Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Manchester United form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match on January 3, 2022© Reuters

Villa will again be without the services of Leon Bailey and Marvelous Nakamba through injury, while key midfielder John McGinn is absent through suspension.

Bertrand Traore and Trezeguet will also miss out due to their involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations, while Ashley Young is a doubt to face his former club this weekend.

There could be two debutants on show for the home side, with Coutinho, who has arrived on loan from Barcelona, potentially being joined in the starting XI by new left-back Digne.

A start for Coutinho could see Danny Ings drop out, while McGinn's absence will open the door for Frenchman Morgan Sanson to feature in a midfield three alongside Douglas Luiz and Jacob Ramsey.

As for Man United, Ronaldo is expecting to be available despite a hip complaint, while Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho, Diogo Dalot and Phil Jones should also be cleared to make the squad.

Paul Pogba is currently the team's only confirmed absentee through injury, but Luke Shaw and McTominay are suspended, while Eric Bailly is in action at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Nemanja Matic could take McTominay's spot in midfield, while Ronaldo is likely to be joined in the final third by Edinson Cavani, with Marcus Rashford dropping out.

There have been suggestions that Rangnick could opt for a midfield diamond, but Donny van de Beek is still unlikely to be involved from the start amid the growing speculation surrounding his future.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; Ramsey, Luiz, Sanson; Buendia, Watkins, Coutinho

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes; Ronaldo, Cavani

SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United

This is a very tough match for Man United, and Villa will be confident after their impressive performance on Monday night. The Red Devils have such a strong record at Villa Park, though, and when taking into account Villa's recent form, we are backing the visitors to navigate their way to a huge three points here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match on January 3, 2022
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Todays Game Header Right
1Manchester CityMan City23183255144157
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd2211563630638
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham23114841311037
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs2011362624236
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2110471916334
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2261242323030
10Leicester CityLeicester207583437-326
11Aston Villa2182112832-426
13Crystal Palace225983134-324
15Leeds UnitedLeeds215792440-1622
17Norwich CityNorwich2244141345-3216
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2129102143-2215

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