Can Villa end the United Hoodoo?
VILLA TO STRIKE AGAIN:
After a moderately quiet week for Aston Villa, we are returning to the Premier League for action in the second city this weekend. Villa host Manchester United at Villa Park in the contention to push further up the table before the end of the season. The main news for Aston Villa is that the ballot for Villa v Chelsea is open and will be closing on Sunday night, this game will see fans at Villa Park for the first time since the 3-2 lose against Tottenham on the 16th of February 2020.
Last Time Out at Goodison:
Aston Villa are looking strong after their previous 2:1 win over Everton at Goodison last week. Villa took the lead through a mistake by Mason Holgate who was pressured and dispossessed by Ollie Watkins who slotted home his 13th goal for Aston Villa this season. Calvert-Lewin suspended Villa’s hopes as the unmarked man headed one home minutes late after Ross Barkley failed to mark his current man. However, Anwar El Ghazi saved Aston Villa with a stupendous strike from the edge of the box curling his shot past Jordan Pickford to ripple the Everton net.
Team News and Injury Updates
Aston Villa are still without the likes of their Captain and main man Jack Grealish, who has returned to the grass and aiming for a start against Everton next week. Dean Smith was pleased to announce that Grealish himself was, “out on the grass loading the injury, so he’s on his way back, but this game will be too soon for him.” This is key towards the finale to Aston Villa’s season as Grealish looks to push, with a return to Aston Villa to ensure that they are pushed over the finish line for the 20/21 premier league campaign. Trezeguet and Morgan Sanson both remain out of contention due to specific knee injuries too. Furthermore, Ross Barkley seems to be regaining his confidence after his hamstring injury in November which saw him lose 9 games for the club, only recently has Barkley been playing games more often after his poor unreasoned form. The team is looking threatening and looks heavily prepared for the United challenge which faces. However, all round Manchester United’s team showing pinnacle fitness without only the likes of Martial and Phil Jones out through injury; both through knee related injuries.
Furthermore, Manchester United are to play their second game in seven days in both the domestic league and European competitions. They completed their first with a 3-2 loss to Roma, but they still proceeded to the Europa League final as they held the aggregate score of 5-8 over the two legs. Edinson Cavani shone for Manchester United scoring a brace for the Red Devils in their defeat to Roma on Thursday night.
What to expect from this Aston Villa side:
Last time out against United the Villians lost 2-1 at Old Trafford as once again a controversial VAR penalty was awarded after Pogba was looked to have been “clipped” in the box. Arguably, the controversial decision once again decided the game as Manchester United have had two disputed questionable penalties award against Aston Villa in the last two fixtures. Dean Smith has commented on conceding penalties against Manchester United in his most recent press conference, “I’m more worried that they don’t get any penalties against us in this game. We’ve had a couple of dodgy ones against us in the last couple of games”. The view of most Villa fans is easily summarised through the thoughts of their manager.
Aston Villa look to be finally gaining confidence after their lose of Jack Grealish, they will be looking to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since December. However, they have not beaten a team in the top two in the Premier League since March 2014, drawing three and losing nine of those games. Positively, Emi Martinez will look to equal Aston Villa’s clean sheet record of 15 recorded in the season 2009-10 by Brad Friedel. Unfortunately, Villa have conceded at least once in each of their last seven games, with no Premier League side on a longer current run without a clean sheet. The game will be very challenging for Villa as they have picked up only one win in their last 44 Premier League games against Manchester United (D11 L32) and are winless in their last 16 against them since a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in December 2019.