The State of Play
Unai Emery will be a little concerned that his Aston Villa side have hit a major blip at the wrong time of the season. They thought they had come through it when they were 4-0 up by half-time and thrashed Sheffield United by five goals to nil last weekend but their 3-1 loss at home to Chelsea in their FA Cup fourth round replay in midweek means they have now managed just four victories in 11 matches across all competitions.
Whilst Villa have begun to slip away, Manchester United have suddenly and surprisingly hit a bit of form that has the Red Devils dreaming of an extremely unlikely challenge for the top four. Prior to the turn of the year, they had scored just 22 goals in 20 matches in the Premier League but have now scored 31 in 23. They come into this on the back of dispatching West Ham United by three goals to nil last Sunday.
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The build-up to their aforementioned defeat to Chelsea the other day was dominated by the confirmation that Ezri Konsa would be missing for the next month or so with a knee injury. Douglas Luiz played the full game in midweek after picking up a knock against Sheffield United last weekend.
Manchester United haven’t necessarily stumbled upon a team and a line-up that works but it may well be a happy accident that Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho have found form at the same time as Marcus Rashford has returned to the United squad. Lisandro Martinez will be out for a while once again after sustaining a knee injury last weekend.
Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Carlos, Lenglet, Alex Moreno; Kamara, Luiz; Bailey, Tielemans, McGinn; Watkins
Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund
What they Said
Unai Emery remained positive after their loss the other day, suggesting they have remained ‘consistent in the Premier League’. “We will try to get positive energy and a good p[performance in our collective tactical way. We will again be focused on the league because the league we’re feeling strong.”
Erik ten Hag talked of the disappointment for Lisandro Martinez after the Argentinian, who had only just returned from injury, suffered another seemingly serious issue against West Ham. He said it ‘doesn’t look good’ and that it was a ‘personal disaster’.
When and How to Watch
This match will take place at Villa Park on Sunday February 11th at 16:30 and will be shown live on Sky Sports. It can also be streamed live via the Sky Go app.
A couple of months ago, Aston Villa defeated both Arsenal and Manchester City at Villa Park in the space of a few days and Manchester United rocking up would have been viewed as a bit of a foregone conclusion. As was the case throughout their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, though, Manchester United have turned recent matches into chaos and that has benefitted them with speedy attackers in transition. As a result, a high-scoring and entertaining encounter is to be expected on Sunday afternoon.