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Manchester United vs Aston Villa: Match Preview

It has been a week of comebacks, but as entertaining as a good comeback is, lets hope for a more convincing victory from Manchester United when they play Aston Villa at Old Trafford this evening.

Still unbeaten and hopefully we can make it 29 league matches against a team, that you could say are they only opponent we have faced who have completely outplayed us over 90 minutes. One problem will be Federico Macheda isn’t on hand to save the day if need be.

The never say die attitude which has penetrated the side thus far was summed up by Rio Ferdinand:

“You never lose faith when you play for Manchester United,” Ferdinand told The Sun.

“It’s in our make-up the game’s not over until the final whistle has blown and until then you try your hardest.

“If you do that week in, week out, you get a bit of luck and you get your rewards.

“It comes from the manager – he has got that desire and will to win.”

The England captain should return to the starting line up along with Edwin van der Sar, Rafael who is available after concussion and Patrice Evra, who missed the F.A. Cup match against Southampton due to a family bereavement.

With Ryan Giggs in good form he should line up on the left side of midfield, with Nani on the right. Michael Carrick is still out with an ankle injury so Anderson, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes will be vying for the central midfield slots.

Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov will come back into the first eleven, but Sir Alex Ferguson will have to make a tough decision about his strike partner. The on form Javier Hernandez or Wayne Rooney.

The visitors also have a few players returning, with Richard Dunne and James Collins primed for a return to first team action. Nathan Baker is suspended after his sending off against Blackburn and Gabriel Agbonlahor faces a late fitness test.

Darren Bent, Villa’s record signing will also come back into the team after being ineligible for F.A. Cup duty.

Villa manager Gérard Houllier is hopeful of a positive result for his side after an impressive performance in the previous encounter:

“We are not the favourites, we are the underdogs,” he said. “But it will be an exciting challenge. It is always a good game against Manchester United.

“I loved the first game when we played them at home. That day I realised they had a good chance of winning the title.

“Don’t forget they were not top of the table at the time. But when you come back from 2-0 to 2-2 and the way they came back shows some experience and a real desire to win things.

“First of all every manager likes to play at Old Trafford. It is true I had a good record with my former club in England.
“But I think the game against Man Utd I remember is the one here [at Villa].

“We could have been three or four up before they came back and equalised.

If United come away with a draw or better, then the club record of 29 unbeaten league games will be equaled. Villa keeper Brad Friedel will become his club’s oldest ever player should he play.

But the visitors have only won once against United in 28 attempts and that was in last seasons corresponding match, while United are unbeaten at home this term, winning 11 out of 12.

Prediction: 3-1 United

Possible Line Up: van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Fletcher, Giggs; Hernandez, Berbatov.