Opposition guide: Aston Villa
Manchester United face a first trip to Villa Park in four seasons this Thursday, as we take on relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
With the Reds also desperate for points to strengthen our hopes of playing Champions League football next season, it looks set to be tense affair in the Midlands.
Ahead of the game, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Villa…
Watch Ole's press conference before Villa awayVideo
There doesn’t appear to be any fresh injury concern for Thursday’s opponents, with Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish overcoming knocks sustained last time out against Liverpool.
“Tyrone took a whack on the calf against Liverpool and Jack had tight calves, but they both came through training yesterday,” said Villa boss Dean Smith during Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.
Matt Targett missed Sunday’s defeat to Liverpool with a hamstring problem and is not expected to have recovered in time. Defenders Frederic Guilbert and Bjorn Engles haven’t featured since Project Restart and are unlikely to feature on Thursday. Villa also remain without long-term absentees Tom Heaton and Wesley Moraes, both of whom have been missing since January. Pepe Reina is expected to be between the sticks, while John McGinn should play in midfield and Smith could opt to retain striker Keinan Davis in the starting line-up.
Things aren’t looking good for Villa at present, with the Claret and Blues failing to win a league game since January. That’s nine matches without a victory and, since the restart, Villa have picked up two points from five games, scoring just twice in that period. Villa currently sit 18th in the table, and a tally of 27 points from 33 outings means they are currently four points from safety. Despite that, the Villans’ best form in 2019/20 has come at home, with five of the their seven league wins taking place at Villa Park.
Putting in a shift Gallery
The Reds worked outdoors and indoors on Tuesday, as preparations for the Aston Villa game intensified...
We’ve tended to enjoy our meetings with Villa in the Premier League era, and the West Midlands outfit have won just one of their last 42 league meetings with the Reds. We’ve also made the most of our trips to Villa Park and haven’t lost there in the league since 1995, when a young David Beckham scored our consolation goal! That’s 20 consecutive games in a row without defeat and it’s the longest unbeaten away run one team has had against another in top-flight history. Overall, we’ve played Villa 187 times, with the Reds winning 98, drawing 40 and losing 49.
Boyhood Villa fan Dean Smith took over the reins at the former European champions in October 2018 and guided the club back to the Premier League in his first season. Smith oversaw a club-record run of 10 consecutive league wins in 2018/19 that propelled the Villans into the play-offs, from which, they ultimately gained promotion. This term has been tougher for the former Brentford coach, although he did guide the club to another day out at Wembley, where they were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
Presenting… our top-scoring trio’s season so far!Video
Jack Grealish has impressed since his return to the Premier League this season. The 24-year-old skippered his side back to the top flight last campaign and has been the club’s stand-out performer in 2019/20. Grealish has contributed seven goals and six assists in the league and is the division’s most-fouled player. The midfielder also produced a superb individual effort when the sides last met in December, in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.
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