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Villama Preview: Aston Villa v Manchester United

Manchester United bring their talented varletry to the Midlands as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa play host to the Red Devils. Will Villa Park see the debuts of Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne?

Literally bedeviled with back-to-back league losses and three straight overall, Aston Villa stroll into this week’s match with the inexplicable sense that they can and quite possibly will defeat Manchester United. Monday witnessed Villa going up against United and falling just short in controversial fashion; giving hope that home field advantage and a player or two from the transfer market can make the difference.

FLASHBACK: Aston Villa continued their string of poor home results against Manchester United last season, with the away side scoring three goals in the second half to secure a 3-1 win.
Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Aston Villa team sheet picks itself in most spots this week, but there are a couple of intriguing arguments to be had. In goal, Emi Martinez reprises his starting spot. To his left this week will be Lucas Digne and Matty Cash to his right while Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza will pair at center-back.

In the midfield, Douglas Luiz will anchor for Jacob Ramsey and Morgan Sanson. John McGinn of Super John McGinn fame will miss out due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Further up the pitch is where things are a little more intriguing.

Emi Buendia seems sure to play on the right, with either Danny Ings or Ollie Watkins at striker. If Ings plays in the middle, it’s possible that Watkins plays to his left. If Watkins starts in the middle, that opens the door for Philippe Coutinho, with Ashley Young as a possibility as well. I’m hoping to see a Coutinho, Watkins, and Buendia trio, but Watkins, Ings, and Buendia feels more likely.

Manchester United, somehow the less obnoxious Mancunian side, split a win, loss, and a draw over their last three league matches. The most recent match witnessed a 0-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, preceeded by a 3-1 victory over Burnley, and a 1-1 draw at the mighty Newcastle United. Players to watch out for from United perspective include Bruno Fernandes in the midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo at forward, and Alex Telles at left-back.

PREDICTION: This is Manchester United, though, and they will have far more than just three standouts. Various athletes register on the team sheet. Be that as it may, the overwhelming and audacious sense of optimism is too much to ignore and United do look a bit vulnerable compared to what they should be; 2-1 to the Villa.

Aston Villa Training Session
Can the likes of Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho make an instant impact on Saturday?
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images