Aston Villa vs Manchester Utd – Friday 14th August
A header from debutant Rudy Gestede handed Aston Villa all three points against Premier League new boys Bournemouth. They host Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United, who will be looking to build on a promising victory over Tottenham last weekend.
Both managers will have been pleased with the defensive efforts of their teams last weekend, with each side keeping a clean sheet. When looking at their tackles, though, this is unsurprising as they won the third and fourth most in the league – Aston Villa with 24 and Manchester United with 22.
The battle for dominance in the centre of the park will be a crucial one on Friday, with both teams possessing midfielders capable of retaining possession for long periods of play. In particular, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ashley Westwood will hold the key for their respective teams as they topped the passing charts of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index last week with 43 and 42 successful passes respectively.
Rudy Gestede will be looking to use his excellent aerial ability against Manchester United’s new-look centre back pairing of Daley Blind and Chris Smalling. Against Bournemouth, Gestede won an impressive 75% of his aerial duals, whereas Blind was slightly lower – winning 50% of his.
Neither Aston Villa nor Manchester United’s strikers had as many chances as they would have liked in the last round of Premier League fixtures, something that should improve throughout the course of the season. Gestede and Rooney took the most shots of any strikers for each side respectively, with two apiece.
Left Backs Luke Shaw and Jordan Amavi will be hoping for big seasons, with Shaw suffering from significant injury problems last year and Amayi plying his trade in England for the first time. Both produced astute defensive performances last week, winning every tackle they attempted.
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.
Credit – Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Official Player Rating Index of the Barclays Premier League. Words too.
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