Preview: Beating Villa is something that United need to be doing. No more apologies, just fight, desire and determination

Manchester United -v- Aston Villa

Premier League

Villa Park, Birmingham

Saturday 15 January 2022, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: David Coote Assistants: Gary Beswick, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh

VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Manchester United will travel to Villa Park on Saturday evening where they will take on Aston Villa in the Premier League just five days after their 1-0 victory in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup. Ralf Rangnick’s side did not manage to win convincingly but Scott McTominay’s header and Fred’s delivery was all that was needed to get the victory, despite the two disallowed goals for Villa, which Steven Gerrard will have moaned about, like the true Scouse whiner that he is. United need to be wining this match, getting some points on the board in the Premier League and more importantly, getting into some kind of form.

At the time of writing, United sit seventh in the Premier League with 31 points from 19 matches, winning nine times, drawing four times and losing six times. United have two matches in hand over most of the teams above them, the Brentford match will be played next week with the Brighton and Hove Albion match still to be rearranged. Villa sit 14th in the league with 22 points from 19 matches, winning seven, drawing once and losing 11 times – which is dire form for the club. Villa have lost their last three matches in all competitions and will need to start getting results or the could find themselves dragged into a relegation battle.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLWDWD

Aston Villa 1-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 L, Burnley 3-1 W, Newcastle United 1-1 D, Norwich City 1-0 W, Young Boys 1-1 D

Goals: 14 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Own Goal, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 2 – Fred, Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic 1 – Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

Aston Villa – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLLWLW

Manchester United 1-0 L, Brentford 2-1 L, Chelsea 3-1 L, Norwich City 2-0 W, Liverpool 1-0 L, Leicester City 2-1 W

Goals: 5 – Ollie Watkins, 4 – Cameron Archer, Danny Ings, 3 – Anwar El Ghazi, John McGinn, 2 – Ezri Konsa Ngoyo, Jacob Ramsey, 1 – Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendía, Matthew Cash, Frédéric Guilbert, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings, Matt Targett

Assists: 3 – Emiliano Buendía, Anwar El Ghazi, Douglas Luiz, 2 – Leon Bailey, Danny Ings, John McGinn, Ashley Young, 1 – Matthew Cash, Carney Chukwuemeka, Frédéric Guilbert, Tyrone Mings, Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Matt Targett, Ollie Watkins

Previous meetings with Aston Villa and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Villa have played a total of 53 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 37 matches, drawing 12 with Villa winning the remaining four matches. United have scored a total of 97 goals, winning seven penalties and scoring five of them. Villa have scored 32 goals, winning one penalty and scoring it. United have kept a total of 27 clean sheets with Villa keeping a total seven. The discipline between these two sides is not the best with United players being shown 77 yellow cards and three red cards whilst Villa players have been shown 74 yellow cards and four red cards. United need this win after the Wolves defeat.

Villa and United both have history with many players wearing the shirts of both teams through the years. Axel Tuanzebe is the most recent, although his loan spell has now ended with him heading to Napoli for the rest of the season. Ron Atkinson, a former United manager, played for both United and Villa. Peter Schmeichel also played for Villa a year after leaving United. Eric Djemba-Djemba, Mark Bosnich, Dwight Yorke and Ashley Young, who left Villa for United, then Inter Milan and re-signed for Villa this summer. Tom Cleverley was once loaned to Villa, Steve Bruce is a former manager of theirs and Roy Keane an assistant manager.

Team News: McTominay and Shaw suspended for United, McGinn suspended for Villa. United will also be missing Pogba but sweating on Jones, Ronaldo, Sancho, Dalot and Martial.

Eric Bailly (AFCON) is missing because of his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations. Paul Pogba (Thigh) is the only injured player for this match. Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw are both suspended for this match, so Rangnick will need to find a solution. Phil Jones (Calf/Shin), Cristiano Ronaldo (Hip) and Jadon Sancho (Thigh) all missed Monday’s match and have a 75% chance to feature this weekend. Diogo Dalot (Ankle) suffered a laceration on Monday and has a 50% chance of featuring whilst Anthony Martial (Knee) has just a 25% chance of facing Villa. United will need to ensure they have the right balance in the squad for this match.

Bertrand Traore (AFCON) and Trézéguet (AFCON) have both been ruled out because of their participation in the Africa Cup of Nations. Leon Bailey (Thigh) and Marvelous Nakamba (Knee) have both been ruled out due to injury. John McGinn is suspended for this match due to amassing five yellow cards in the Premier League. Former United captain, Ashley Young (Ankle/Foot) is only at 50% fitness and could miss the match against his former club. Villa will have a similar squad to the one which faced United on Monday evening, which seemed to play very well against them. This is a threat that United will need to avert, or face another poor result.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo and Cavani to lead the attack against Villa with Fernandes behind them? A midfield three of Van de Beek, Fred and Sancho could work? Jones and Varane in defence?

This match is important for United. Anything less than a win is going to make it harder to succeed this season. It is already going to be tough to break back into the top four and stay there as the clubs above United seem to be in much better form at this stage of the season. United’s players really owe something to the supporters as they have stuck by the club and this is the result of sticking up for the players – who are getting paid massive sums of money to play a game that they love. Tweeting after bad results has become tiresome and I would rather not read that as these players try to absolve blame and say how much better they will be next time.

It seems likely that David De Gea will keep his place in goal with Dean Henderson still waiting for a chance to show what he can do. In defence, with Luke Shaw suspended, Alex Telles could be back in at left-back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back with Diogo Dalot a doubt because of the cut he received on Monday evening. Raphaël Varane should keep his place but Phil Jones should get a chance to cement his place in the team. With Scott McTominay suspended, Donny van de Beek, Fred and Jadon Sancho should start in a three-man midfield with Bruno Fernandes playing ahead of them. Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani should lead the attack.

Match Prediction: Beating Villa is important for United. That said, the fight, desire and determination will need to return otherwise this club will continue the decline that has already been prevalent this season.

Earlier this season, United lost 1-0 to Villa in the Premier League at Old Trafford. Knocking Gerrard’d side out of the Emirates FA Cup has seen United head in the right direction after the shock defeat to Villa, who have lost 11 of their 19 matches played this season. United need to ensure they win this match but they are never easy at Villa Park. Last season, United won 2-1 at Old Trafford with Anthony Martial and a Bruno Fernandes penalty cancelling out Bertrand Traore’s equaliser. But this United side, at the moment in time, it not working as well as it should and the fight, desire and determination has long gone and needs restoring.

At Villa Park last season it was a 3-1 victory to United with Traore opening the scoring for the home side and Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani scoring to get three points in the bag, doing the double over the Birmingham club. This United will need to turn up against Villa on Saturday, ensuring that they get the win, don’t end up being overrun and stop the club from doing the double over them in the league this season, which would be a big form of embarrassment. United should be winning these matches easily, not allowing them to be overrun by the same club who tend to flirt with the Championship time and time again.

Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa

Written by John Walker

Discover more from

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Avatar photo
About editor 2160 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.