Manchester United v Aston Villa 2015
After a disappointing narrow defeat at the hands of Swansea Sherwood faces his biggest challenge as Villa manager. United have won their last two games against tricky opposition and are well-placed to meet their aim of finishing in the top four, so confidence should be high. van Gaal’s men couldn’t overcome Villa in the reverse fixture though – could Sherwood orchestrate an Easter surprise?
United have won 12 of their last 14 home league matches
Van Gaal on Villa
“We have trained yesterday, not with the total group, the total players because they need also recovery but with the players that could train we did very good training session so I have a good feeling that we can continue against Aston Villa.
“But Aston Villa, you remember maybe, that we played against 10 players and we could not score any more so it’s a difficult team and what I have said already a lot of times in this press conference, that every team in England can beat you.”
Sherwood on United
“I think they are beatable. They have obviously got a terrific record at Old Trafford but we say it every week, anyone can beat anyone in this division. That’s the beauty of the Premier League.
“We think we are capable of going there and upsetting them. We have a lot of pace on the counter-attack. We are looking to exploit. We show them the respect they deserve. They have done well. They are near the top of the league. But we also need to impose ourselves on them.
“It’s a wonderful place to go and play and the lads enjoy going there. There’s not many players who can say they’ve gone there and took positive results. But I think there are a few in our dressing room who have gone there and won. So the boys are quite confident that they can do that again. The boys have to do it collectively.
“There’s no better time to do it than when we are at the bottom end of the table. I still think it’s an unbelievably tough place to go and play. It’s hard.
“I took a Tottenham team there last season and won quite comfortably. Whether that can be emulated again? I hope so.”
12th December 2009 United 0 Villa 1
A 21st minute goal from Agbonlahor was enough to take all three points for O’Neill’s men. It remains the last time we won at Old Trafford!
United– Last five matches at home: W 4, L 1
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4
Villa have lost four of the last five league games at Old Trafford.
One to Watch
Marouane Fellaini – the Belgian midfielder has been one of United’s best players recently and recently scored against Spurs at Old Trafford
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Sitting fourth in the table United are not hitting the heights they enjoyed under Sir Alex, but they are at least looking like they’ll obtain a place in the Champions League.
While last season didn’t go to plan for them, van Gaal has quietly got United picking up plenty of points and worryingly for Villa fans, their form is very impressive.
It was one of the more surprising results at the time when Villa picked up a point against United at home but all the stats suggest it will be different this time around.
United have a league-high 37 points at home and have won 12 of their last 14 league matches at Old Trafford.
Sherwood recently said that he hoped United would rest Rooney, and with good reason – Rooney has scored eight times in his last six leagues games against Villa at Old Trafford.
The fact that Villa have conceded a goal in the first half of five of their last six away games is a cause for concern against a revitalised United side.
Cleverley, who might feel he has a point to prove against United and van Gaal, is of course ineligible for selection.
Of course United are “beatable” to quote Tim, but he should bear in mind the fact that Villa have only won one of the last 38 league games against the Red Devils…
[quote_center]’Every team in England can beat you’ – Louis van Gaal[/quote_center]
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Vlaar is finally back in contention and despite the prospect of his departure he remains one of our best players.
Under Sherwood he has failed to shine and is more recently remembered for the penalty giveaway against Stoke, but it would be nice to see him bring his experience to the starting XI against a manager he knows well.
With the run United are on you know to expect goals from van Gaal’s men so it will be important for Villa to replicate the devastating counter-attacking seen at the Stadium of Light.
Six out of seven of our league victories this season have been by one goal only and you get the impression that one goal wouldn’t be enough to win it at Old Trafford.
While the goals have been shared by players under Sherwood we’re still the only side in the league not to see a substitute score or assist this season. Hopefully we see a real team effort and some of the smart link-up play that was demonstrated against Sunderland.
Villa have only won one of the last 38 league games against United
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Sherwood sets up his teams to attack and it seems unlikely that he will park the Villa bus at Old Trafford.
Villa won’t be able to throw bodies forward as they have in recent matches but there is a chance that a bold attacking approach could take United by surprise.
Amongst the most intriguing stats this season is that Villa have only lost three of six matches away to clubs who are in the league’s top ten which offers some encouragement.
Sherwood’s bold claims of a beatable United are at least backed up by his personal record – he masterminded a 2-1 win at Old Trafford early in his short Spurs managerial career.
Even a point would be a good result for Villa, and the pressure is on United rather than Villa, who many have already written off against van Gaal’s men.
Nobody saw a 4-0 away win at Sunderland coming so who’s to say we can’t cause an upset this weekend?
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