Match preview: United v Aston Villa
Manchester United host Aston Villa in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Reds are back in league action this weekend as Dean Smith’s side make the journey from the Midlands to M16.
For the second time in three days, United have a home match following Wednesday’s Carabao Cup loss to West Ham United, whom Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, of course, defeated in our last Premier League fixture in the most dramatic way at the London Stadium.
As league action returns to the Theatre of Dreams, here’s everything you need to know…
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE GAME?
The match kicks off at 12:30 BST but will unfortunately not be shown live on TV in the UK - find out why here. Luckily, you can still follow the match with radio commentary on MUTV, as well as catching all the pre-match build-up and post-match analysis. The Match Day programme starts at 11:25 BST on MUTV on Saturday.
Plenty of players gained valuable game time under the floodlights at Old Trafford, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rotated his whole starting XI for the cup clash on Wednesday. Phil Jones also made a return to the first-team squad for the first time since our meeting with Tranmere Rovers in January 2020.
David De Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Fred were not involved in the squad but should all be fit and firing going into this weekend’s action.
The manager has more or less a full squad to choose from but Edinson Cavani remained absent in midweek. It’s still uncertain whether our Uruguayan centre-forward will be available for selection against Villa.
As for the visitors, Axel Tuanzebe is ineligible to play due to him being on loan from United. Leon Bailey is a major doubt after suffering a quad injury, when scoring in their last league match against Everton. Midfielder Morgan Sanson may miss the trip to Manchester after suffering a hamstring injury in the penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday, meanwhile winger Trezeguet remains sidelined following knee surgery back in April. Ex-Red Ashley Young played at Stamford Bridge.
The Reds have got a particularly strong record against Saturday’s visitors. In 190 matches between the clubs, United have won 101 of them, while 40 encounters have ended all square and 49 matches went in Villa’s favour.
In fact, we need to go back to December 2009 for our last defeat to the claret-and-blues, a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford. In the 18 matches since that rare loss, United have won an impressive 14 times and only drawn four. The Reds have come out on top in the last three in a row, including that convincing away performance at Villa Park back in May, when goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani sealed a 3-1 win and three Premier League points.
The Reds unfortunately exited the Carabao Cup in midweek but have had a strong start to this league campaign. Following the dramatic win at West Ham last weekend, in which Jesse Lingard's late goal and David De Gea’s penalty save secured the three points in the capital, United have won four out of the first five in the Premier League this term. United are level on points with Chelsea, who top the table, and Liverpool so will look to maintain the unbeaten league start to the season on Saturday.
Villa have a mixed start to the Premier League season. In their first five outings, Smith’s men have won twice, lost twice and drawn on one occasion. The results mean that the Midlands outfit find themselves 10th in the table on seven points. In their last match, however, Villa performed well against Everton, winning 3-0 at home thanks to an own goal and strikes from Matty Cash and summer signing Leon Bailey. The Midlands outfit were also eliminated from the Carabao Cup in midweek.
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant referees: Darren Cann and Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Michael Salisbury
VAR: Andy Madley
VAR assistant: Simon Beck
It’s a big weekend in the Premier League as Chelsea play Manchester City at the same time as United play Villa. In addition, on Sunday, there’s a north London derby to look forward to…
SATURDAY 25 SEPTEMBER
UNITED v Aston Villa (12:30 BST)
Chelsea v Manchester City (12:30 BST)
Everton v Norwich City
Leeds United v West Ham United
Leicester City v Burnley
Watford v Newcastle United
Brentford v Liverpool (17:30 BST)
SUNDAY 26 SEPTEMBER
Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers (14:00 BST)
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (16:30 BST)
MONDAY 27 SEPTEMBER
Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion (20:00 BST)
(15:00 BST unless stated)