Preview: Manchester United need to stand up and be counted in order to beat Aston Villa – players moaning never gets results, just more bad feeling

Manchester United -v- Aston Villa

Emirates FA Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Monday 10 January 2022, KO 19:55 GMT

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Andrew Madley

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Manchester United welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup on Monday evening. It will be the first time that Steven Gerrard will manage a team at the Theatre of Dreams and the first time that United will have played in a week, following their dreadful defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers almost a week ago. United need to kick back and earn their place in the fourth round of the competition, or face yet more discontent from the supporters. It is time to stand up and be counted, not sit there sulking and expect sympathy because you have to go home from work in the dark and train more.

United have a big problem at the club. There seems to be a distinct lack of ambition at the club which can only come from the top. High wages are paid to players who have no belief in the club nor care about the club. That is what it looks like. There is so much money in this game now that mediocre players are earning scandalous sums of money to kick a ball around a football pitch, seemingly thinking that they will be praised like gods off the pitch, which is never going to be the case. In the not too distant future, if could be a case of what these players had and lost down to their own selfishness. It is time to find a backbone and do something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 12 matches in the history of the FA Cup. United have won ten matches with Villa winning the remaining three matches. United have scored a total of 29 goals. Villa have scored 14 goals. United have kept a total of three clean sheets with Villa keeping a total none in these matches. This will be a big match for United – coming off the back of a defeat to Wolves in their last Premier League match, also with the fact that Villa have already beaten them 1-0 in the league this season – which was played at Old Trafford on the 25 September 2021. Rangnick will need to get this team performing – which will be tough.

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 as assistant manager.

Team News: Bailly and Pogba missing for United. Maguire still a doubt but Lindelof could return. Traore, Trezeguet both missing for Villa because of AFCON whilst Bailey and Nakamba missing due to injury.

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. Victor Lindelof (Coronavirus) will be eligible to play, providing he is fit enough to be involved. Harry Maguire (Chest/Abdominal) missed the last match due to injury and could well be missing from this one too. Anthony Martial (Knee) has a 75% chance of featuring in this match, but he will need to show something in training to her considered, in my opinion. Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay were booked in their last league match, and will be suspended against Villa in the league but eligible to play 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. Tyrone Mings and John McGinn are both eligible to play in this match against United following a suspension for five yellow cards in the Premier League. Ollie Watkins (Illness) is back in contention to face United with 100% fitness whilst former United player, Ashley Young (Ankle/Foot) is only at 50% fitness and could miss the match against his former club. We shall see what Monday brings in relation to that.

Predicted Starting XI: Cavani and Ronaldo with Fernandes in behind them against Villa? Three-man midfield with Sancho, McTominay and Van de Beek? Jones to keep his place in defence?

Rangnick’s United need to find their feet. Whilst results have been largely positive, at least before the Wolves defeat, the performances have not been the best. The 3-1 victory over Burnley was the best result despite the overall performance being poor. That seems to be the problem with United. Some of the players seem to be blaming others whilst hiding themselves and not standing up and changing anything. The players, board room and owners have been the main constant since Sir Alex Ferguson retired but only the managers have been blamed. The players have continued to be praised mostly, which is wrong.

Against Villa, United will need to come back from a defeat to Wolves. David De Gea should be starting as his form has been good, despite conceding some goals. Dean Henderson would have conceded goals too as United’s defence has not been capable of dealing with threats for whatever reason. Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw should all start this match. A three-man midfield of Jadon Sancho, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek could worth to add creativity with Bruno Fernandes playing just being Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. This works on paper but could it work on the football pitch?

Match Prediction: United have lacked inspiration this season and the fact they have not looked like a good team is very telling. Some players will need to stand up and be counted, or they will get left behind.

United have not been good enough this season, which is why they will face a massive struggle to break into the top four in the Premier League. But in this match, it is a one off to earn a place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup, which will give United a good enough chance of winning silverware this season – but only if they are good enough on the day – which remains to be seen. Villa have already beaten them at Old Trafford this season, so they will be confident of doing that again, especially with the signing of Philippe Coutinho, who will improve their attacking play and could be an outlet of a goal or two – if he still has the legs for it in England.

United seem to have lost their spirit, desire, determination and fight, which is a major problem that needs to be resolved. Whilst the result came against Burnley in the 3-1 victory, the performance was questionable and United seemed to struggle in the second half, which is a major problem for United. The players will need to stand up and be counted, or at some stage they will get left behind and will be known as another player that did not fulfil their promise at United, which post-Ferguson is a long list at this time. These footballers need to go back to basics and understand the culture showing themselves as role models not prima donnas.

Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2195 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.