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Confirmed XI: Martial and Rashford lead the line with Fernandes in behind; McTominay, Fred and Pogba in midfield

Manchester United will face Aston Villa at Old Trafford in the Premier League this evening with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looking to keep chase on league leaders Liverpool after rising to second in the table with a last-minute 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday evening. United have scored 14 goals, conceding six and keeping three clean sheets in their last six matches, winning four and drawing twice. Their form in December did not start too well but ended on a high. United will need to get a good start to football in 2021 with the coronavirus pandemic starting to take hold once again.

Villa are currently fifth in the Premier League with 26 points, four fewer than United. They have done well this season after almost being relegated last season, which shows the threat that they have in the team. However, three players are close to earning suspensions with Matt Targett, Jack Grealish and John McGinn all one yellow card away from a one-match suspension in the league. United season will continue to be busy with up to eight matches to be played in January, including a Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City. At this stage of the season, nearing the half way point, United should be getting ready to fight for trophies.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred, Pogba;

Fernandes;

Martial, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson; Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Lingard, James, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

Aston Villa:

Martinez;

Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett;

Luiz, McGinn;

Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi;

Watkins

Substitutes:

Heaton; Taylor, Guilbert, El Mohamady, Hause; Hourihane, Nakamba, Ramsey; Davis

United and Villa have met 50 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 35 times, drawing 12 times and losing three times. United have scored 92 goals against Villa, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Villa have scored 29 goals, winning one penalties and scoring it. United have kept 27 clean sheets with Villa keeping six. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 70 yellow cards with three red cards whereas Villa have been shown 71 yellow cards and three red cards. United will be looking to continue winning as they rose up to second in the Premier League after beating Wolves.

In this fixture at Old Trafford last season, played on the 1 December 2019, it was a 2-2 draw with Jack Grealish opening the scoring in the 11th minute and Tom Heaton scoring an own goal in the 42nd minute to equalise. United took the lead throat Victor Lindelof in the 64th minute of the match with Tyrone Mings equalising two minutes later. At Villa Park inn a match which was played on the 9 July 2020, United beat Villa 3-0 with Bruno Fernandes opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the 47th minute, Marcus Rashford doubling United lead five minutes into added a=time at the end of the half and Paul Pogba sealing the win in the 58th minute.

Written by John Walker

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