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Villama Preview: Manchester United v Aston Villa

In one of the biggest tests of the Unai Emery era, Aston Villa travel North to take on fourth in the table Manchester United. Can Villa extend the unbeaten streak to eleven?

The build-up...

With another three points in the bag, Aston Villa have bounced back to form after the 1-1 Brentford draw just in time for a trip to Manchester.

The Red Devils have been nearly unbeatable at home, having only lost to 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion in August of last year, but have conceded draws to Newcastle United, Leeds United, and Southampton. It’s an uphill climb, but seeing the likes of Leeds and Southampton having met the moment, Villa are quite capable. Over the last three, United have bested Everton (sad trombone) 2-0 at Old Trafford, notched another 2-0 victory at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest, and blew a 2-0 advantage, leading to a 2-2 draw against Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Players to look out for include, but shouldn’t be limited to Marcus Rashford at striker, and Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho in attacking midfield.

Last time we met at Old Trafford...

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
Following a surprising victory of Manchester United only a matter of days prior to the third round Carabao Cup clash on November 10th, Aston Villa were looking to make it two wins on the bounce against The Red Devils. However, even after starting the match brightly, it wasn’t enough as United pulled away with two late goals, courtesy of Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay.

The line-up...

Aston Villa will almost certainly remain the same barring any late injury or illness.

Playing out of a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1, depending on who you ask, Emi Martinez will start in goal, with Alex Moreno at left-back and Ashley Young continuing at right-back in place of the injured Matty Cash. Tyrone Mings, fresh off his opening goal of the season against Fulham, partners with Ezri Konsa at center-back. In holding midfield, Douglas Luiz will partner with Leander Dendoncker, who’s in (and doing reasonably well) for the injured Boubacar Kamara. Further up and to the left will be Jacob Ramsey and to the right will be John McGinn. Up top you’ll see Ollie Watkins partnering with Emi Buendia in the number 10 position.

Score prediction...

With both sides having Europe left to play for, this feels like one of the bigger Villa matches in a while. United are almost untouchable at home and deserve every bit of respect that comes with that, but Villa are in a groove.

I’m going out on a limb, but if Brighton can do it, so can Villa. The dream of Europe lives on with a stunning 2-1 victory for Aston Villa.

Aston Villa Training and Press Conference
Unai Emery kicked off his reign as Aston Villa boss with a 3-1 victory of Manchester United. Can he lead his side to a second Premier League win of the season against The Red Devils?
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images