Best Odds: 3/1
With a chance to potentially move level on points with Liverpool, Manchester United will welcome a high-flying Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Friday night.
Starting with the hosts, while they might have left it extremely late earlier in the week, Manchester United did manage to pick themselves up what was a last-gasp 1-0 win against Wolves. Although the former Premier League champions might have been drastically struggling with their form when opening the 2020/2021 campaign, the Reds have managed to bounce back in a hugely impressive fashion. With that woeful 6-1 drumming against Tottenham back in September now a distant memory, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side find themselves enjoying a real purple patch. Knowing that three points on Friday night would see them move level on points with bitter rivals Liverpool, United are unbeaten in their last six matchups across all formats, winning four of those outings. Also managing to book their spot in the semi-final of this year’s EFL Cup thanks to an eye-catching 2-0 win away at Goodison Park last week, it should also be noted that the Reds have managed to muster themselves 10 points from their last four Premier League contests on home soil.
Still dealing with a back problem, Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof is a doubt heading into Friday’s meeting against Villa.
After being given a three-match ban, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be unable to call upon Edinson Cavani.
As for the visitors, after only just about managing to hold onto their Premier League status over the summer, few would have expected what has been a remarkable run of form for Aston Villa. Cementing their spot as one of England’s surprise packages so far this year, Dean Smith’s side have their own European charge at the top of their agenda. Opening New Year’s day sat just three points adrift of breaking into the top-four, the Midlands outfit put in another eye-catching display earlier in the week. Making the trip to a new-look Chelsea side in midweek, the former Brentford boss saw his side leave West London with a deserved point to show for their troubles. With skipper and attacking talisman Jack Grealish only continuing to gain a string of plaudits so far this season, Villa are in the midst of a five-match Premier League unbeaten run. With their recent success highlighted by back-to-back 3-0 wins against West Brom and Crystal Palace, Friday’s guests will make the trip to Manchester confident of causing an upset.
Central defender Tyrone Mings is available on Friday night after serving a one-match suspension.
Loanee Ross Barkley is back in contention after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Manchester United have collected 10 points from their last four Premier League matchups at Old Trafford.
- Likewise, Aston Villa are unbeaten in each of their last five top-flight appearances on the bounce.
- Friday’s guests have also conceded just a single goal in each of those five outings.
- Five of Manchester United’s last six Premier League contests on home soil have seen under 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
- Since losing at Liverpool in July, Aston Villa have only suffered one defeat in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W5 D3).
While Manchester United might open Friday’s meeting as a standout pick with the bookmakers, there is no doubt that Aston Villa will be looking to cause an upset on the road. Despite the former Premier League champions enjoying a real bounce and knowing that three points on New Year’s Day would see them move level with Liverpool, Dean Smith’s side have also enjoyed a real bounce, particularly on the road. Looking to mount their own European charge this season and picking up a deserved 1-1 draw away at Chelsea earlier in the week, we’re backing a similar stalemate when the two Premier League high-flyers face off on Friday night.
Best Odds: 3/1
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