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Manchester United vs Aston Villa: Preview

Betfair is the official Manchester United betting partner and we here at Red Rants have partnered with them to offer a free £25 bet when you register. Unlike other betting sites, Betfair allows you to place bets when the game is running and choose the odds at which you want to play. What allows you to do these things is you’re betting against other fans, not the bookie, so if you want better odds than are currently available, for example, you can place an order for a better price (but bear in mind that if your price is unrealistic your bet is unlikely to be accepted). So, give this a run if you’re up for it.

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It’s that time again, when the Premier League comes to the forefront of our minds and fresh from a thumping victory in Germany confidence will surely be high as Aston Villa visit Old Trafford on Saturday evening.

Remember August 1995 when one Alan Hansen famously said ‘you win nothing with kids’? Well… the opponents of Manchester United that day were Aston Villa, they won that tie 3-1 prompting the aforementioned comments, but since then, United they have gone 27 league games unbeaten in this fixture, and won 12 of the last 13 against Villa. Villa’s record is worse when you consider in all 34 Premier League clashes they have amassed just two wins and their last victory at Old Trafford was back in November 1983.

However, as many of you are aware this United squad is currently undergoing a major injury crisis.

In goal will be Tomasz Kuszczak, Edwin van der Sar is still recovering from a knee injury and Ben Foster’s confidence issues mean he will be the P.I.G’s back up.

The defence, the biggest problem for Sir Alex Ferguson, out are Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Fabio, Gary Neville, John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Rafael. Expect Darren Fletcher to retain his right-back berth, Patrice Evra will also continue on the left side. Some good news in the form of the big Serbian, Nemanja Vidic who has recovered from flu, should return to the heart of the back four, partnered by midfield maestro, Michael Carrick who seems to be making the centre back position his own. Confirmed by Sir Alex in his press conference,

“Michael will continue in the centre alongside Vida and Darren will play at right-back. We’re certainly encouraged by the fact that players like Michael and Darren can adapt to playing in different positions and help us cope with the current situation.”

Considering the midfield moves to the backline, a fairly settled midfield should continue, thought Paul Scholes is serving a one-match ban. Welsh Sports Personality of the Year, Ryan Giggs was rested for the trip to Wolfsburg so he should return to the line up, alongside him will be on-form Darron Gibson, Anderson and Antonio Valencia. Nani, given a rare first-team outing on Wednesday will more than likely drop to the bench, along with Ji-Sung Park who is not yet match fit.

Some cause for optimism in the final third however, Wayne Rooney has recovered from a Hamstring strain and Dimitar Berbatov from a knee problem, add this to Michael Owen’s hat-trick on Wednesday and Sir Alex Ferguson has a welcome selection headache. Owen should have done enough to earn a start, probably alongside Rooney.

Aston Villa manager, Martin O’Neill will be looking to end the barren run Villa have had at Old Trafford and to do so he has a full squad to choose from. So expect an unchanged side from the one that trounced Hull 3-0 last weekend.

Going forward Villa are a potent threat especially on the counter attack, they possess great pace in Ashley Young, James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Stewart Downing has added himself to the array of attacking talents and shifting Milner to a centre midfield spot in the process.

O’Neill is also in a positive frame of mind,

“We are buoyant. We are in fine form and we are well aware of what we are up against, in terms of the difficulty of the task and our recent history. The club doesn’t have a great record against United but we are unbeaten against sides in the top four and those hoping to get into the Champions League this season. I’m not getting overly excited by the talk of a defensive crisis,” he said. “To my mind, Nemanja Vidic will play and so will Patrice Evra. Michael Carrick may have played at the back in midweek, but they still went to Wolfsburg and won.”

Losing only once in the last thirty-one home matches, a victory seems certain, but beware Aston Villa have the highest goals from corners record in the League with eight and have scored in each of their last 14 Premier League matches.

Prediction: 3-1 United

Probable Line Up: Kuszczak; Fletcher, Carrick, Vidic, Evra; Giggs, Gibson, Anderson, Valencia; Owen, Rooney

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Betfair is the official Manchester United betting partner and we here at RR have partnered with them to offer a free £25 bet when you register. Unlike other betting sites, Betfair allows you to place bets when the game is running and choose the odds at which you want to play. What allows you to do these things is you’re betting against other fans, not the bookie, so if you want better odds than are currently available, for example, you can place an order for a better price (but bear in mind that if your price is unrealistic your bet is unlikely to be accepted). So, give this a run if you’re up for it.