Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa FC vs. Manchester United FC
Venue: Villa Park – Friday, August 14 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Aston Villa 4/1 – Draw 14/5 – Man United 4/6
Tim Sherwood’s side got off to great start with a 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth last weekend and will now hope to make it two wins in two in their home opener against the Red Devils.
United also sealed a 1-0 victory as a Kyle Walker own goal saw them beat Spurs in the season’s opening fixture on Saturday lunchtime and they will be expected to win this one too.
Villa need to try and end a worrying run of form against United though if they are to have any chance of winning this one. It has been 12 games since they last beat United in all competitions, but they have not beaten them at Villa Park in their last 20 meetings.
Last year’s game at Villa ended 1-1 as Radamel Falcao equalised following a fine Christian Benteke goal. Both forwards are no longer with their respective teams and new faces will hope to shine in this one for both managers.
United didn’t look too strong in their win over Spurs on Saturday, but now have a chance to put in a commanding performance with the rest of the country watching on Friday night.
The same goes for Villa, who need to try and assure themselves they will steer well clear of any relegation troubles this season after last year’s disappointing campaign.
Aston Villa will be without Carles Gil, Jose Angel Crespo, Gary Gardner, Jack Grealish, Chris Herd and Jores Okore for their home opener. Tim Sherwood is unlikely to make many changes from his team that beat Bournemouth last weekend, but match winner Rudy Gestede should start after coming on as a substitute, with Jordan Ayew most likely to make way.
Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal could opt to start with Sergio Romero in goal for the second straight game as David De Gea’s future remains unclear, while Marouane Fellaini (suspension), Phil Jones (blood clot) and Marcos Rojo (fitness) are all set to miss out too. Bastian Schweinsteiger will be pushing for a first start but Michael Carrick is likely to keep his place alongside Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield.
Aston Villa’s form: W
Manchester United’s form: W
Key Stat: Manchester United have not lost away at Aston Villa in any of their last 20 matches in all competitions.
Key Player: Rudy Gestede – The new Villa signing made himself an instant hit with the supporters as he headed them to three points on the opening day. A first league start is due and he will look to cause United all kinds of problems in the air.
Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United – Both sides got off to a flying start and should remain unbeaten after this contest. United are favourites but didn’t look sharp enough on Saturday and if the same can be said on Friday, they will likely come up short. Villa would be pleased with a draw and that could well be the end result on Friday.