Date: 10th November 2012 at 10:57am
Written by:

Ashley Young: Returns to his former home.

Premier League action returns for United this weekend, and the reds travel to the Midlands on Saturday as league leaders to face Aston Villa.

In a fixture that’s still classed as a big game, Villa haven’t had the best few years of late, and go in to this one in 17th place in the table, one spot above the relegation zone.

Villa Park has been a happy hunting ground for United over the years and we haven’t tasted defeat there since the opening day of the 1995-96 season (the year we didn’t win anything with kids), but more often than not, the home side still give us a good run for our money.

The tea-time clash see’s the reds chasing an eighth win in nine games.

Team news:

Centre back Jonny Evans could miss out on the trip to Villa Park with a groin injury.  This is likely to mean that Chris Smalling continues his comeback for the reds, lining up alongside Rio Ferdinand at the back.

Nani is also unavailable for selection with a hamstring injury, and Shinji Kagawa, Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic (all knee) are still injured for the reds.

We could see a return to Premiership action for Paul Scholes after a short rest, and Anderson has been putting in some decent performances in the last few weeks. He could partner Scholes in the centre of midfield, with Valencia on the right and Ashley Young on the left.  Young signed for United from Villa in the summer of 2011, leaving Villa Park with mixed responses to the move from the Villa supporters.

Villa:

For the home side, midfielder Karim El Ahmadi is available again, after a one-match ban, but full back Eric Lichaj is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in their recent visit to Sunderland.

Joe Bennett is facing a battle to overcome knee injury so Enda Stevens is on standby. Darren Bent is again absent with his ankle injury.

Match day eleven:

United go in to the weekend at the top of the Premier League, and could extend that lead with closest contenders Chelsea and Manchester City not kicking off until tomorrow.

With Paul Lambert’s side languishing around the relegation zone, a United win is how it looks on paper.  However, the new Villa boss is starting to see the fruits of his efforts since taking over in the summer pay off, and signs of progress won’t make it an easy game for the reds.

It’s over a month since United kept a clean sheet in a match, and with another defensive change likely, the home side will fancy their chances of getting a goal or two, so they will go in to this will some confidence.

The firepower up front for United may be too hot to handle though, and with Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez all bagging a goal at SC Braga in midweek, there seems to be no stopping a front line described by many as the best United have had since 1999.

Having a flutter?

How about a cheeky fiver on one of the following bets…odds supplied by bet365.com

  • Draw HT/ Man. Utd. FT – 3/1
  • Gabriel Agbonlahor to score anytime in a 3-1 United victory – 40/1
  • United to keep a clean sheet – 11/8
  • Robin Van Persie to score first in a 2-1 win – 25/1

Here’s hoping that by the time you have turned over to watch this weeks Take Me Out on ITV, United have gone four points clear at the top of the Premier League, piling on the pressure to those in second and third place.  Wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.

For football conversation, not lectures – and other incoherent babble and banter, follow me on Twitter: @stevecrab