Finally, we return to some real football. The two week break has looked like two months, and I just can’t wait for the action to resume. Prior to the break, we seemed to be getting back in our stride as we brushed Wigan aside in a breathtaking second half display. However, it remains to be seen if we’ve managed to retain any of the momentum that we built over that game.
So will it be another scrappy game where we just get by with a 1-0 win? Or would it be a frustrating draw or, worse, a loss?
Our record at Villa Park has been quite good. But that would count for little today. Simply put, Martin O’Neill’s Villa can be quite a handful at their home ground. They have been among the better sides of this season, most importantly, they beat Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2-0. O’Neill’s side have a good midfield as well as a very creative attack. So now, especially after the break, the game would prove our sternest test — a win here would send our confidence levels high. Anything less would require us to regroup and start over again; a luxury ill-afforded to sides with aspirations of winning titles, these days.
While Owen Hargreaves has been talking about his injury worries coming to an end it is highly doubtful that he’ll be back. Scholes and Fletcher should be in the centre of the midfield as Carrick is still recovering. It must be said, at this point, that the battle will be won in the midfield. Both Barry and Reo-Coker have been doing very well, and if we manage to neutralize them, then we should have the upper hand. With their creative attackers of Young, Moore and Agbonlahor, there is enough firepower in Villa to give our defence some headaches.
I wouldn’t take this game lightly but since Aston Villa are playing at home, trust this game to be open. Other than that, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, Giggs, Vidic, Rio, Evra, Brown should all be back. More importantly, EVDS returns from his toe injury.
Prediction: 2-1 to United. Although, something tells me that this would be a 1-1 draw.
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