Relegation-threatened Aston Villa will face another stern test on Thursday with the visit of an in-form Manchester United side chasing a top-four spot.
Dean Smith's relegation candidates returned to the top-flight with a lot of promise and potential. Having spent upwards of £100m in their quest to retain their Premier League status, many expected them to finish comfortably above the drop zone.
However, The Villains are in 18th and a point away from safety after losing their last two, and are odds-on to go back down to the Championship in the relegation odds market as their chances look slim with five games to go.
Villa have no doubt been handed one of the most taxing fixture lists since the restart having faced European-chasing sides in Sheffield United, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool since the top flight was allowed to resume, and the relegation candidates still have to face Everton and Arsenal after their showdown with Man United.
Manchester United, on the other hand, are flying high on their best run of form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having stretched their unbeaten streak to 16 with the thrashing of Bournemouth. As things stand, the Red Devils currently lie fifth on 55 points – five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who beat Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
United have been a different team since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in the January transfer window, with his creative spark giving the attacking players more confidence to make those runs, knowing that the pass is coming.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have the pace and finishing ability to score goals against anyone, and the Red Devils have been banging them in of late.
While the Red Devils’ final stretch of the season isn’t as daunting as their Premier League top-4 rivals, OGS can’t allow complacency to set in. Aston Villa look set for relegation but they won’t go down without a fight. The Villains snatched a point from Old Trafford earlier this season & the Red Devils will be bound on revenge. Noticing how good United look right now, they should come out of Villa Park with all three points.
Aston Villa Predicted Line-up
Reina, Konsa, Hause, Mings, Taylor, McGinn, Luiz, Grealish, El-Ghazi, Trezeguet, Samatta
Villa have a few injury issues which don’t help their relegation battle one bit. Prolific striker Wesley Moraes, defenders Matt Targett, Bjorn Engels and goalkeeper Tom Heaton are all out for the United game.
Manchester United Predicted Line-up
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford
Victor Lindelof is a doubt for the Villa game after he suffered an injury against Bournemouth. Axel Tuanzebe & Phil Jones are also out, which means Ole will probably make one change to the team that ran riot at the weekend.
Score Prediction Aston Villa have proved they can be quite stubborn defensively after their performance against Liverpool and I think it will be tougher than many people suggest, although with that being said I can't look past United with the form they are in at the moment.
Match Preview written by Jordan Hall