Saturday, December 7, 2019

Prediction: Manchester United vs Aston Villa

Verdict: Marcus Rashford to score anytime

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides who are desperately searching for some Premier League stability, Manchester United will welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, while Manchester United may have managed to snatch the most dramatic of points away at Bramall Lane last weekend, the Reds’ heavily altered squad once again flattered to deceive on Thursday afternoon. Throwing away a one-goal lead and suffering a 2-1 defeat away at Kazakhstan champions Astana in midweek, the pressure still firmly remains on the shoulders of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Opening the weekend in ninth and already sat nine points adrift of the top-four, they have recorded just a pair of wins in their last eight Premier League appearances, a run that stems back to the 14th of September. If United are to pick up what is three crucial points this weekend then the Norweigan icon will be calling on the red-hot Marcus Rashford to lead their charge. Finding the net against Sheffield United last time out, the England international has found the net in each of his last five matches for club and country.

Team News

Manchester United will recall their established senior players on Sunday, having made 11 changes for the Europa League defeat by Astana.

Scott McTominay could return from an ankle problem, while Paul Pogba is back in England after treatment on an ankle injury in Miami and he might feature against Spurs on Wednesday.

Aston Villa

As for the visitors, while some around Villa Park were starting to fear that their side was being dragged into a relegation scrap, the Villains picked up a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Monday night and Dean Smith will be desperate to keep the morale in his camp on the rise. Also ending a three-match Premier League losing run with their victory in the Midlands, the former Brentford boss sees his side currently holding a four-point buffer from slipping into the bottom-three. After spending big over the summer, there is no doubt that Sunday’s traveling support will be calling on their side to make some much-needed improvements on the road. Losing back-to-back fixtures away from Villa Park, including watching bitter rivals Wolves snatch a 2-1 win a fortnight ago, the Claret and Blues have lost five of their six matches on the road since making their Premier League return over the summer.

Team News

Aston Villa defender Bjorn Engels has recovered from a hip problem.

Jota is continuing to build up his fitness following hernia surgery.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides met back in the 2015/2016 Premier League campaign Manchester United came away with back-to-back 1-0 wins.
  • Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has scored in each of his last five matches for club and country.
  • Aston Villa have lost five of their six top-flight matches on the road.
  • Sunday’s guests have also won just one of their last 24 Premier League matches away from Villa Park.
  • Manchester United have lost just a single match across all formats at Old Trafford this season.

Conclusion

While Manchester United might be continuing to show some glaring issues at the back, they do have one leading marksman who has continued to shine heading into December. With England international Marcus Rashford finding the net in each of his last five matches on the bounce and enjoying his brightest spell at Old Trafford, the 22-year-old should be confident of exploiting on Aston Villa’s continued issues outside of the Midlands since making their Premier League return over the summer.

Verdict: Marcus Rashford to score anytime

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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