Manchester United welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford in a mouth-watering Premier League clash.
Victory would put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils top at a minimum of at least a few hours if Chelsea fail to beat Manchester City elsewhere, whereas Villa could go as high as sixth with a win ahead of the mid-Saturday afternoon matches.
Edinson Cavani is set to be in contention for Man Utd if he can prove his match fitness, having failed to make the matchday squad for Utd’s midweek loss against West Ham in Carabao Cup.
Amad Diallo (thigh) and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) all remain absent.
Villa could be without John McGinn due to concussion protocols after a clash of heads with Michael Keane in last Saturday’s win over Aston Villa.
Leon Bailey (thigh) and Matt Targett (adductor) are doubts but Jaden Bidace (ankle), Trezeguet and Keinan Davis (both knee) remain absent.
- Man Utd are unbeaten in their last 17 league matches against Aston Villa (W13, D4).
- Villa are winless in their last eight league trips to Old Trafford (D1, L7).
- Man Utd’s Bruno Fernandes and Villa’s Bertrand Traore scored in both meetings last season between these teams.
- Seven of Utd’s 13 league goals have come from the Portuguese duo of Bruno Fernandes (4) and Cristiano Ronaldo (3).
- Tyrone Mings is the only Villa player to be booked more than once this season, having been yellow carded twice in four league appearances.
Following wholesale changes in Wednesday’s disappointing home loss to West Ham in the Carabao Cup, Man Utd need to reset themselves quickly with the team that defeated the Hammers in East London last weekend who were clinical in an otherwise scrappy contest settled by David De Gea’s excellent saves.
Another positive for Man Utd is that they have scored nine goals in their two home games in the Premier League this season, so Old Trafford does seem to be a mini-fortress in the domestic league at least which will give them confidence that they can quickly bounce back in style.
Villa though gave a great account of themselves at Chelsea in midweek despite making nine changes from their clinical energetically pressing win over Everton last weekend, in which they looked comfortable in attack and organised at set pieces despite losing Jack Grealish this summer.
Utd though do likely need to score first because I have a feeling that Villa could cause some frustrations the longer the match stays goalless, although their record in this fixture is poor so a draw would be a good result but I think that the hosts will find their way through this tricky encounter.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Aston Villa
Result: Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa