Manchester United v Aston Villa
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
KO: 16:00 (GMT), Sunday 15th April 2012
Referee: Mark Halsey
By Paul Bienkowski
Manchester United has it all to prove now if they intend on retaining the Barclays Premier League title. The loss midweek to Wigan dented their chances and allowed Manchester City to cut United’s lead back down to 5 points. City would be able to bring the lead down to 2 points should they be able to beat Norwich City at Carrow Road.
City won the match 1-6, which is a score line Manchester United does not want to see again, unless they are the side scoring for fun. Manchester United now need to take all 3 points tomorrow to keep the advantage over City. All they need to do is keep winning and the league title will come back to Old Trafford for a record 20thtime, but there is a long way to go just yet!
I was surprised that Paul Scholes was rested for the Wigan match, but he will need a rest from time to time. I feel this was one of the reasons Wigan dominated the match, and the fact Ryan Giggs has not played very well in the CM role recently!
In yesterday’s press conference, Sir Alex Fergusson confirmed that Paul Scholes will again be recalled in to the squad for the visit of Aston Villa.
I think Manchester United will take the 3 points tomorrow but I don’t think it will be an easy game if Wigan was anything to go by. Aston Villa are all but safe this season. Bolton have a game in hand and a loss tomorrow could see the Birmingham side slip into a relegation battle, which I am sure they do not want!
I am sure United will not get carried away with the fact that the league title is theirs to lose. I envisage United to win both home games against Aston Villa and Everton, City meanwhile will most likely destroy Wolves next weekend and ready them for the title deciding match against United at the Etihad Stadium on Monday 30th April.
Match Facts – Manchester United
- Last 10 league game form – LWWWWWWWWD
- Last 5 league home game form – WWWWW
- Last 5 home games they have taken 15 points out of 15
- Scored 23 goals in their last 10 league games, conceding 7
- Top scorer in the league is Wayne Rooney on 22 goals
- Have great form in the Premier League against Villa, scoring 36 goals, conceding 10 and only losing once, drawing 4 times, winning 14 times at Old Trafford in 19 previous matches
- 5 clean sheets in their last 10 league games, 4 at Old Trafford in last 5 home games
- Score an average of 2.36 goals per game and concede 0.85 goals per game
- Achieved a clean sheet in 52% of their games
- 1st in the Barclays Premier League with 79 points
Match Facts – Aston Villa
- Last 10 league game form – DDLLWDDLLD
- Last 5 league home game form – DLDDL
- Last 5 away games they have taken 3 points out of 15
- Scored 9 goals in their last 10 league games & conceded 15
- Top scorer in the league are Darren Bent on 9 goals
- Beaten Manchester United 3 times in the Premier League
- 2 clean sheets in their last 10 league games
- Score an average of 1.09 goals per game and concede 1.38 goals per game
- Have achieved a clean sheet in 22% of their games
- 15th in the Barclays Premier League table with 35 points
Team News – Manchester United
De Gea, Amos, Rafael, Fabio, Evra, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Carrick, Cleverley, Scholes, Nani, Giggs, Park, Pogba, Young, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov
Injuries/Doubts: Vidic, Anderson, Fletcher, Lindegaard, Owen
Star Man: Paul Scholes
Team News – Aston Villa
Given, Guzan, Marshall, Hutton, Collins, Baker, Cuellar, Stevens, Ireland, Jenas, N’Zogbia, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Delphouneso, Heskey, Johnson, Lichaj, Gardner, Weimann
Injuries/Doubts: Warnock, Herd, Albrighton, Petrov, Bent, Delph, Clark, Dunne
Star Man: Gabriel Agbonlahor
Match Prediction: Manchester United 2 – 0 Aston Villa
By Paul Bienkowski