Aston Villa v Manchester United 2015
Villa and United have a few things in common at the moment. Both won their first games while not necessarily playing to the best of their ability. Both have endured transfer difficulties in the form of Benteke, Delph, and the unrest surrounding David de Gea. Both have been heavily linked with Barcelona wingers (sort of).
More importantly, though, both teams have squads who still need to gel, and this could be key on Friday night. After a winning start at Bournemouth you would expect Villa to have some momentum but at the same time United have added some star names to their lineup – and of course we can’t forget our woeful record against them.
Whatever happens, the first Friday night Premier League game since 2004 (excluding Easter/Christmas/New Year matches) certainly has the makings of an entertaining match
United are unbeaten in their last 19 league visits to Villa Park.
Sherwood on United
“It will be an exciting night for the fans. We have to give them a performance that they deserve. We will leave no stone unturned to do that.
“I expect a tough game as you always do against Man Utd. They have brought in a lot of new players again. We fancy ourselves against them. We fancy ourselves against any team. You have to have that mindset.
“They know what the demands are. I have had time with them over pre-season. They know they can’t be a soft touch, they have to dig in. You owe it to fans to give it everything all of the time.
“It’s a new era. It will take time to gel – but that’s my job.
“They are right to be excited for the future of the club. They are a group of young men. It’s up to me to make them excited for the immediate future.”
van Gaal on Starts and Away Form
“We have a better start than last year. You have to survive the start always. You have new players, a new team, a new team process, the team dynamics are different, so every club and every team has to sustain this period because nobody is 100% fit. We have to pay attention to it and develop, but it cannot cost as many points as last year and that is our main objective.
“After 10 matches [last season] we had 13 points. It was still possible to be the champion and until the game against Chelsea it was possible.
“The key for success this season is improving in away matches.”
20th December 2014 Aston Villa 1 Manchester United 1
A terrific goal by Benteke was cancelled out by a Falcao strike as Lambert recorded an unlikely draw against van Gaal’s men.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
United – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
United are unbeaten in their last 19 league visits to Villa Park.
One to Watch
Memphis Depay – Although he failed to impress against Spurs big things are expected from the Dutch winger, who has been given the iconic number 7 shirt.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Where do you start with Villa’s record against United? Even under the turbulent reign of Moyes they left Villa Park with a 3-0 win.
Amazingly, we’ve won just one of our last 39 League games against United, so an unlikely victory would be a great way for Sherwood to endear himself to the Villa fans even more!
He’ll have a task on his hands, though. Not only have Villa failed to win two opening league games since the 1999/00 season, United have won 32 games against Villa in Premier League history – that’s more than any side has recorded against a single opponent.
You have to go back to 1999 when we last beat United at Villa Park and even then, that was in the League Cup.
United have been leading Villa at both half time and full time in 7 of the last 9 encounters (in all competitions) which is a worry, given how many chances Bournemouth were able to create.
With new boys Richards and Amavi in defence, Villa need time to gel, and ominously United have scored 21 goals in their last seven League games against Villa – an average of three a game…
“We fancy ourselves against them. We fancy ourselves against any team. You have to have that mindset.” – sherwood on united
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
With a sell-out crowd expected on Friday, it will be quite the occasion for Villa’s new recruits as they experience the Villa Park atmosphere for the first time.
When Amavi, Richards, Gueye, Veretout, Ayew and Gestede step onto the Villa Park turf there’s bound to be a feeling of optimism as more fans get a close look at the new additions. Despite the impressiveness of the stadium though, it’s worth remembering how poor our home form has been in recent years.
Last season Villa won FIVE home games – only Sunderland and Burnley were worse.
Against United it will be important for the twelfth man to give the new boys a fitting welcome and recreate the type of atmosphere experienced when Villa played West Brom in the FA Cup.
In the first half against Bournemouth a more cautious approach was employed and while it may have been part of the game plan, Villa can’t show much United too much respect – they’ve only conceded six goals in the last nine league meetings between the two teams so an attacking approach is needed..
David De Gea will play no part in Friday’s game but this doesn’t make much difference. United have managed to keep a clean sheet in the three League games the Spaniard has missed since the beginning of the 2013/14 season.
Hopefully a bouncing Villa Park will inspire some great attacking football from Sherwood’s side.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Strangely enough, despite Villa’s general hopelessness against United, there were signs of improvement last season.
We picked up a point at Villa Park under Lambert with 10 men and van Gaal mentioned that he thought Villa were more dangerous than Man City…
With Phil Jones and David de Gea playing no part there may be an air of uncertainty amidst the United ranks, particularly given their manager’s tendency to chop and change – he’s used a league-high 38 different players since the start of last season.
United’s defenders could find themselves in a spot of bother coping with the aerial threat of last week’s hero Rudy Gestede, and Sherwood has hinted the ex-Blackburn Rovers forward could start on Friday.
While a lot has been said of Villa’s new recruits and the time it may take for them to adapt to the Premier League, United’s fresh additions are in the same situation. Interestingly against Spurs, they only had one shot on target.
Can Sherwood deliver a long-awaited win against United? If he did, it would strengthen his standing with Villa supporters to a new high.
Villa are a very tempting 9/2 to end the 20 years curse of not winning at home to Manchester United. You can get these odds at Bet 365, open an account here to also get free bets matching your opening balance too.
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