Villa in town as Reds seek eight point lead

Manchester United defends a five point Premier League lead tonight with Aston Villa at Old Trafford. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit could move up to eight points clear with Arsenal also in action on a busy night in the Premier League.

Ferguson can boast a virtually fully fit squad, with most leading lights returning to the side following United’s victory over Southampton in the FA Cup last week. In addition to rested stars, injured defenders Rio Ferdinand and Rafael da Silva are fit to return, while Michael Carrick will feature if an ankle problem has cleared sufficiently. Patrice Evra also returns following a short trip back to France for a family bereavement.

United faces a Villa side with renewed confidence after the £24 million capture of Darren Bent and three wins on the bounce. And without a victory over Villa in the past three meetings between the sides, United is set for another close encounter with the Midlanders.

Ferguson is set to reunite Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov in attack, with each experiencing deeply contrasting fortunes this season. While the Bulgarian has now bagged 19 goals, with a brace against Blackpool last week, Rooney has just one strike from open play this season.

It’s a fact that does not sit comfortably with Ferguson though.

“Some of our critics are making a meal out of the fact that Wayne Rooney is lagging behind in the goal stakes. He is, compared with the bucketload he scored last year, but I am not worried,” said the United manager.

“It is the scoring partnership that matters and the combination between our two front men has improved beyond all recognition. Last year, Wayne benefited from Dimitar’s work but this year it is Berbatov enjoying the last touch.

“If we finish the season with Berbatov scoring 30 and Wayne on 10 – and those are the targets I have in mind – I will be more than happy. That is what I call a successful strike partnership, reminiscent of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.”

Chalkboard versus Aston VillaStill, Ferguson must decide whether to stick with his misfiring £30 million striker or bring Javier Hernandez into the side. The 22-year-old Mexican has scored 11 goals in just 12 starts this season, including vital goals against Blackpool and Southampton in the past week. Although Rooney is favourite to start, the Ferguson has never been afraid to drop his leading stars in the relentless drive for success. Indeed, it is arguable whether Rooney merits a place in the side on current form irrespective of whether Hernandez starts or not.

It is this outlook underpins United success under the Scot’s management over the past quarter century says Ferdinand, with the Reds coming from behind to win twice in the past week.

“You never lose faith when you play for Manchester United,” Ferdinand told The Sun.

“It’s in our make-up the game’s not over until the final whistle has blown and until then you try your hardest.

“If you do that week in, week out, you get a bit of luck and you get your rewards. It comes from the manager – he has got that desire and will to win.

“He’s been here 25 years and if he’s still got it, then why haven’t players who have only been here for a year, two years, 10 years, whatever?

“So it comes from him and filters down through the club and that’s always the way it’s been. That’s why you see it so often that we can come back from adverse situations and create results like we did against Blackpool.”

Meanwhile, Villa will give a late fitness test to Agbonlahor, with the striker suffering a minor hamstring strain. Defender Nathan Baker is suspended, while Fabian Delph has a knee injury. New signing Michael Bradley could play following a deadline day transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Darren Bent return’s the the squad after missing last week’s FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers.

Despite Villa’s lowly position in the Premier League under-fire manager Gerard Houllier says his team can with at Old Trafford.

“We’re capable of beating any team,” said Houllier.

“We need to take our hats off to the record so far of Manchester United – to stay undefeated for that many games. They’re impressive.

“They were impressive when we played them. It was a thrilling game. The way they came back into the game – I think the goal from Federico Macheda changed everything because it brought a spark of hope. If we’d have been able to hold another ten minutes it would have been different.

“I wish I could play as badly as they do and have the same record! People say that but when they played well they battered Birmingham 5-0, Blackburn 7-1. I hope they don’t play well then!”

While another cricket score seems unlikely, with Villa’s record at Old Trafford respectable in recent years, Ferguson will take any victory and a vital three points in the title race. Indeed, with Chelsea spending more than £70 million on transfer deadline day in a desperate attempt to clam back lost points, Ferguson will be keen to ram home United’s advantage.

Opposition
Villa – 433 – Friedel; Clark, Cuellar, Collins, Walker; Petrov, Reo-Coker, Bannan; Albrighton, Bent, Young. Subs from: Bradley, Marshall, Downing, Delfouneso, Heskey, Pires, Makoun, Agbonlahor.

United
United – 442 – van der Sar; Rafael da Silva, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs; Rooney, Berbatov. Subs from: Kuzszazk, Evans, Brown, Gibson, Owen, Bébé, Lindegaard, Fabio da Silva, O’Shea, Carrick, Anderson, Obertan, Hernández, Smalling.

Officials
Referee: Chris Foy
Assistant referees: Dean Mohareb & Glenn Turner
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell

Form
United – WWWWWW
Villa – LWDWWW

Sharing is caring

Comments

  1. RedScot says

    Its tricky to think how this match is gonna pan out,with us blowing hot and cold all season.
    The way I feel right now, a draw would be a satisfactory result, that cant be correct to think like that.Jaysus we are at home, we should be mullering a team like Villa.
    Lets just hope we get a Blackburn/Birmingham type performance,and put the Villians to the sword.
    I think and believe if for any reason we take a beating tonight,Sir Alex’s words in support of Rooney are going to fall on deaf ears,and he is going to take a right royal pasting everywhere.
    Cmon United.

  2. Sidsidney says

    Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney.

    Subs: Lindegaard, Owen, Anderson, Smalling, Hernandez, Scholes, Fabio Da Silva.

    Carrick & Fletcher in midfield

    It’s all got to come from Giggs, again

  3. han says

    danniitronix said:
    lol – just you and me in the Anderson, Gibson fanclub I think

    there are plenty more but just too shy to say i guess

  4. says

    han said:
    no no no
    3 some is cool
    plus i love ur name……….

    he may attack me with his Madred Cock. Me scared.

    once again 2-0 – YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  5. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    danniitronix said:
    he may attack me with his Madred Cock. Me scared.

    once again 2-0 – YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    how did you know i had a cock, lol ,his name is twat because he is always up it.

  6. Sidsidney says

    3 minutes later we score

    We literally decided to score. For 3 minutes after they scored we played with more urgency; started fighting, tackling, heads up straight away etc.

    In the palm of our hand

  7. says

    sidney said:
    3 minutes later we score

    We literally decided to score. For 3 minutes after they scored we played with more urgency; started fighting, tackling, heads up straight away etc.

    In the palm of our hand

    agreed – we basically pulled our fist out of our shit encrusted arse and started to tackle in midfield

  8. says

    am off the pizza at the moment – supposed to be doing a 10k run in April so need to stop being a fat ass = hence sensible potato strategy. love pizza though – mmmmmmmmmm

  9. Sidsidney says

    han said:
    job done nicely
    5 home games left though
    lets hope united can produce more of the same on their travels

    6 innit, and 8 away

    But aye, it’s time to nail the away form

  10. han says

    sidney said:
    6 innit, and 8 away

    But aye, it’s time to nail the away form

    yes Sid
    cheers
    the beers doing funny things to the maths…….

  11. sheesh says

    Most original song by away fans coming to Old Trafford…

    (To the tune of ‘we won it 2 times’):

    I wanna go home
    I wanna go home
    Manchester’s a shithole
    I wanna go home

    …an irony lost on the dirty Brummie wankers. The song did make me smile, though.

  12. herbie simms says

    Great cross from Nani. When Valencia comes back on that right wing, you will see more goals from Rooney. Everton really blew it. If Arsenal would have lost that game, United would have been 8 points clear and the league title in the bag. But Arsenal have a tough game away coming up and I’m sure we will destroy Wolves, so by the weekend, we could be 8 points clear.

  13. han says

    arse don’t start the traditional collapse until after march
    however with park due back soon and valencia, much injected vigour in midfield and on the flank will come

  14. says

    kramer said:
    good enough performance.
    rooney and nani were very good. giggs was outstanding.

    Giggs was sensational! Nani is our man and am certain that we are about to start getting better. Carrick won a few 50-50 tackles and was really up for it. What a strike from Vida though. Rooney scoring twice is a big bonus and hopefully he will carry on from here.

    Chelsea really believe they can rein us in so we must not give them an opening.

  15. Sheesh says

    Some people think berba slows our attacks down. If anyone was showing out attacks down last night it was carrick. He didn’t have terrible game but he doesn’t offer us anything offensively. Villa sae plenty of the ball and our midfield didn’t have the finesse to get it off them and do something with it.

  16. Ted says

    Unregistered User said:
    Some people think berba slows our attacks down. If anyone was showing out attacks down last night it was carrick. He didn’t have terrible game but he doesn’t offer us anything offensively. Villa sae plenty of the ball and our midfield didn’t have the finesse to get it off them and do something with it.

    =======================================================================================

    Thats Carricks problem though. He shows no aggression what so ever. He’s quite happy to avoid any physical contact and just spray the odd ball around, well the english leagues are full of players that can do what Carrick does. His lack of desire and infectious lethargy seems to rub off on the likes of Fletcher, who does’nt mind putting himself about now and again. I’ve always looked upon Carrick as a passenger, and don’t rate him. I fail to see what he has ever offerd us. Goals, no. Inspiration, no. Leader, no. He’s the most negative midfielder i can ever recall us having, possibly since Butch.

  17. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Calvino said:
    Giggs was sensational! Nani is our man and am certain that we are about to start getting better. Carrick won a few 50-50 tackles and was really up for it. What a strike from Vida though. Rooney scoring twice is a big bonus and hopefully he will carry on from here.

    Chelsea really believe they can rein us in so we must not give them an opening.

    Cal serious question do you think we should give Giggs another year? he is clearly one of our best midfielders!

  18. Ted says

    brianofnazareth said:
    Cal serious question do you think we should give Giggs another year? he is clearly one of our best midfielders!

    ========================================================================================

    It all depends on if we can off load the likes of Carrick and Anderson Bri. Your right that Giggs is playing well, and whilst our centre mid is seriously sluggish, Fergie has to keep a bit of fizz on the side with the likes of Giggsy and Scholses. Because we don’t really have any other outlet to get the ball forward. Fletch is Fletch, Ando is 2 stone over weight and Carrick thinks the opponents half of the pitch is ladened with claymore land mines so does’nt go there. Thats why Giggs and Scholes have been key because they have the intelligence and the know how. The others simply don’t.

    We are going to need a full revamp of our midfield in the summer.

    Carrick, Anderson, and Hargreaves should be off loaded and replaced without delay.

  19. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Calvino said:
    Giggs was sensational! Nani is our man and am certain that we are about to start getting better. Carrick won a few 50-50 tackles and was really up for it. What a strike from Vida though. Rooney scoring twice is a big bonus and hopefully he will carry on from here.

    Chelsea really believe they can rein us in so we must not give them an opening.

    Nani still pisses me off… one minute he’s brilliant, providing an outstanding cross for Rooneys’ second… and the next, he’s refusing the simple, killer pass in favour of a run to nothing… or falling down like a big fairy.

    And we’ve still got to play the Renties twice… we must win one of those.

  20. says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Nani still pisses me off… one minute he’s brilliant, providing an outstanding cross for Rooneys’ second… and the next, he’s refusing the simple, killer pass in favour of a run to nothing… or falling down like a big fairy.

    And we’ve still got to play the Renties twice… we must win one of those.

    yep, same as Ronnie before him – he will be more consistent and intelligent with timr

Leave a Reply

Login with your Social ID

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *