Aston Villa v Manchester United
Thursday July 9th, KO 8:15pm
Preview by Will Reilly
With five league games left to play this season, Aston Villa will begin the night in the bottom three in the table and four points from safety. They need results quickly.
They have picked up just two points from their last nine Premier League fixtures and have failed to score in five of their last seven.
A possible ray of hope comes with the fact that they have conceded more than one goal in a league game just once in their last five, although they have now kept just one clean sheet in their 14 league games.
Man Utd are unbeaten in their last 16 matches in all competitions and have kept 11 clean sheets during that run.
They have scored 11 goals in their last three league matches and, in their last eight league games, Anthony Martial has scored seven times and Bruno Fernandes six. Mason Greenwood has scored four in his last five United starts.
They will travel to Villa Park full of confidence and closing in on a top-four, possibly top-three, finish.
HEAD TO HEADS
You have to go back to 1999 to discover the last time that Villa beat Man Utd at home in the Premier League. That adds up to 11 defeats and 5 draws. Man Utd scored in all bar one of those games, with the exception coming in the 0-0 draw in 2008.
11 of the 16 games produced less-than 2.5 goals, Man Utd scored two-or-more goals in seven of them and three or more in four.
Frederic Guilbert returned from injury to take a place on the bench at Anfield midweek so is back in cotention for a starting place.
Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones remain sidelined, although Victor Lindelof (back) could be back in contention.
Given the run that they are on, it is difficult to oppose Man Utd. Also, it seems evident that they possess too much firepower for a Villa side that lacks quality in depth. Of course, their price of 7/20 reflects this.
Given his recent form, Anthony Martial as an anytime scorer has to be considered, although, again, this is reflected in his price of 5/6.
Given Villa’s precarious situation, they will need to show some ambition and confidence in the game so Both Teams To Score at 9/10 looks reasonably priced to me.
If you trust the stats (as given above) then Under 2.5 goals at 5/4 would have to be considered.