Jack Grealish

Opposition guide: The lowdown on Aston Villa

Saturday 30 November 2019 17:02

In a first meeting between Manchester United and Aston Villa in three seasons, the Reds will aim to resume an impressive record against the Villans, with only two defeats to the West Midlands outfit since 1983.

The visitors, meanwhile, are hoping to extend their winning run, after comfortably beating Newcastle United on Monday.

Here's everything you need to know about Dean Smith's men ahead of kick-off...

Scout Report: Profiling Aston Villa's key men Video

Scout Report: Profiling Aston Villa's key men

Do your homework on Aston Villa, Dean Smith and their key players by watching our latest episode of 'Scout Report'...


Dean Smith has been given an injury boost ahead of Sunday's game. Bjorn Engels has trained all week, after the Belgian defender was sidelined for two games with a hip problem. His deputy, Ezri Konsa, who was one of 12 summer additions for Villa, has impressed in his absence, so there could be a selection headache for Smith come 16:30 GMT on Sunday afternoon.

Elsewhere, the visitors look set to be without second-choice keeper Jed Steer (achilles) and young striker Keinan Davis (thigh), although Spanish winger Jota (groin) is edging closer to a return.


United head into a second match in seven days against newly-promoted opposition, eager to pick up a fifth league win of the campaign. It is a win and a draw apiece for Solskjaer's side against promoted teams so far this season, with the Reds winning 3-1 against Norwich City, and battling back to a 3-3 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane last weekend. Back on home turf, the Reds will be eager to replicate the last match at Old Trafford, which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side comfortably run out 3-1 victors against Brighton & Hove Albion.

As for Sunday's opponents, Villa are hoping to secure back-to-back wins for the second time this season, after brushing aside Newcastle United with relative ease on Monday. So far this term, Dean Smith's side have shown plenty of promise against some of the division's top clubs, however errors and lapses in concentration have hurt the Villans badly, with the West Midlands defence often leaking late goals. So far, Villa have conceded the most second-half goals in the whole of the top flight, while no side has dropped more points from winning positions than Villa.

Opposition View: Villa legend Lee Hendrie Video

Opposition View: Villa legend Lee Hendrie

Aston Villa legend Lee Hendrie names four influential players who may cause us problems at Old Trafford today...


United's home record against Aston Villa has been mighty, with 19 wins, four draws and just one defeat in the Premier League era. In fact, the visitors have only won twice at Old Trafford since 1954.

Old Trafford has been the venue for some memorable goals against Sunday's visitors, of course. Federico Macheda's stunning stoppage-time winner in 2009 secured all three points after being 2-1 down, while Robin van Persie's rocket of a volley helped us to the 2012/13 title.

The club's last match against the Villans came in 2016, which saw Marcus Rashford score the winner in a 1-0 victory. The match also saw Aston Villa's relegation confirmed after a 19-year stay in the top flight.

Played for both: Dwight Yorke Video

Played for both: Dwight Yorke

Dwight Yorke famously joined United from Sunday's opponents, Aston Villa, in 1998, to begin a goal-laden spell in red...


Rewind to the start of the 2018/19 season and Dean Smith was about to embark on his fourth campaign as Brentford head coach. Before that, the lifelong Villa fan had cut his managerial teeth at Walsall, before joining the West London side in 2015, and helped the Bees become regular play-off outsiders. The 48-year-old was appointed Villa boss in October 2018, following the dismissal of former Red Steve Bruce, and guided the club back to the Premier League after a three-season absence by beating Derby County in the Championship play-off final.

Now in the top flight, Smith is hoping to keep his beloved Villa in the division and the early signs are good. With victories over Everton, Norwich, Brighton and Newcastle, the visitors have a reasonable cushion over the teams below them and will be hoping to consolidate it even further with a second Premier League victory at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer's pre-match press conference Video

Solskjaer's pre-match press conference

In his pre-match press conference, the boss told reporters a key midfielder could return ahead of Aston Villa's visit...


It was a busy summer transfer window for Villa, with 12 new acquisitions. Some of the notable arrivals were Tyrone Mings, who made his loan move from Bournemouth permanent, Brazilian striker Wesley, who signed for a club-record fee from Club Brugge, and speedy Egyptian winger, Trezeguet. 

However, Villa's established players have continued to impress in the Premier League. John McGinn has been a revelation for Dean Smith's side since arriving from Hibernian in the summer of 2018. The Scottish international scored the winner in the play-off final and already has three goals to his name this term. Villa's main talisman in midfield, though, continues to be Jack Grealish. The Solihull-born skipper's return from injury in March helped spearhead their promotion push, and after picking up four goals and five assists in all competitions so far this campaign, a call-up to the England squad may not be too far away.