After United’s performance against a much stronger City side proved why we have been in no way title contenders this season, we walk out again at Old Trafford on Saturday 29th March vs. Aston Villa. In a fixture that last season seen United add yet another Premier League crown to their ever growing record of titles. But, with poor form this campaign and no talisman in Robin Van Persie, do Aston Villa have much to fear walking into the Theatre of Dreams? After all his first half hat-trick was what stood between the two sides at Old Trafford in the 2012/13 season. Without Robin they will very much fancy their chances or will they?
So, with Robin Van Persie injured, a recent defeat to derby rivals City and a Champions League clash with Bayern three days later, do Aston Villa have anything to fear? If stats are anything to go by then yes! With Wayne Rooney in Premier League goal scoring form after his brace against West Ham, Villa should be slightly concerned seeing as he is United’s joint top scorer vs. Aston Villa in Premier League history along side Cristiano Ronaldo with 8 goals.
Nevertheless with the ever unfolding, unwelcome presence of bad performances at Old Trafford this season, United have a few things to be weary about. Christian Benteke has began to find a form in scoring goals again regardless of their 4-1 home defeat to Stoke on Sunday. If Villa manager Paul Lambert wanted to clutch at any small mercies from another home defeat, the fact that Benteke has started to find the goal again will give him great hope going into the game. Before the home defeat to Stoke, Villa actually had a great deal to celebrate with their victory over title contenders Chelsea and their 4-1 win over Norwich with Benteke getting another 2 goals.
But, we can break this fixture down as far as we want in terms of past results, recent form, all time goalscorers and many other aspects but one thing is for sure, United are nothing to go by what they where last season and Aston Villa will very much be aware of that. After 31 league matches last season, United topped the table on 77 points – 12 clear of City. After the same number of games this season, the Red Devils are 26 points worse off, 15 behind their rivals who have two games in hand.
Predicted XI and Result:
I think Moyes will go with the same back four that started against City. Rafael, Rio, Jones and Evra, with Dave behind them in goals. The midfield is a bit of a tricky one but regardless of the crucial Champions League tie vs. Bayern on Tuesday, I think the gaffer has no choice but to go for broke with his team selection. I think Cleverley, Kagawa, Mata and Welbeck will all feature in a makeshift midfield with Rooney and the late substitute against City, Chicharito leading the pack.
United Ramble Prediction: Manchester United 4-0 Aston Villa.