|It's Ronaldo again against one of his favorite opponents, will Gerrard impede United? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
Aston Villa vs Manchester UnitedVilla Park6:30pm
Manchester United are not in the best of places at the moment but the visit to Aston Villa, one of the grounds they enjoy visiting and if there’s any time for them to redeem themselves after the embarrassment at Old Trafford against Wolves in their first game of the season.
In the defeat against Wolves, Manchester United’s interim
manager Ralph Rangnick tested murky waters by resting Bruno Fernandes and
Marcus Rashford but they didn’t make much difference when they were brought on
although the Portuguese rattled the crossbar before the visitors scored.
For Aston Villa, it’s a game they
need to make a statement in, forever inferior to United and have nightmarish
games they’d rather forget, it is what it is and with Steven Gerrard on the
other side of the divide as a Liverpool legend, this is bigger than you think.
By the time you’ll be reading
this, City and Chelsea would have decided their own respective fates and that
would also have a bearing on how United approach their own game; Top four is slipping
away but it’s not hopeless, whatever they do at Villa Park will tell what they
think of their own chances.
It already feels like a season of
two halves for Aston Villa with the first half characterized by identity crisis
and lack of confidence under Dean Smith and then since Gerrard took over, it’s
been a different story with every game showing what Gerrard always thought, go
United won’t have it easy against
Villa this time around and not like they had it easy in the first leg with a
late Villa goal deciding the game at Old Trafford and an even later penalty
miss by Fernandes which led to a controversial dance by Emi Martinez and
subsequent handover of penalty duties to Ronaldo.
We don’t know who’s available and
who’s not with respect to Covid but on injuries front, both sides are good;
Rangnick can call on his preferred defensive options having tested them in the
cup game against same opponent.
A lot has changed since the first
leg at Old Trafford, both sides have changed their managers and tactics are
entirely different, while the hard pressing we expected from United under the
German isn’t there yet but there’s hope that with time, they will be a force
Villa will rely on Danny Ings and
Ollie Watkins especially if the latter is available after missing the last game
due to Covid, while the Red Devils will hope Cristiano Ronaldo continues his
rich form against the hosts with Villa being one of his favorite opponents in