Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Reds must gain ground in the top-four race against struggling Villans

The Reds will be hoping to gain some momentum in the final weeks of the season and get into the top-four starting with a win over struggling Villa who are likely to be relegated this weekend

Manchester United - Aston Villa Preview: Reds must gain ground in the top-four race against struggling Villans
Photo: Harry Robinson/VAVEL UK

Manchester United host rock-bottom Aston Villa on Saturday at Old Trafford looking to get back on track in the Premier League after falling to a 3-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.

The state of play going into this weekend for the Reds is that they are four points off Manchester City in fourth place. With six games to go in the season and with City playing away to Chelsea this weekend it could be a big chance to close the gap to them as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League.

The Reds will be brimming with confidence after beating West Ham United 2-1 midweek at Upton Park to make it through to the FA Cup semi-finals. Louis van Gaal will be hoping his side are able to build on that result and go on a run and win all of their remaining games in the league.

Villa, on the other hand, come into the game bottom of the table and need a miracle to stay up with anything but a win this weekend condemning them to relegation to the Championship. A win, though, may not be enough if Norwich City gets at least a point against Sunderland at the weekend.

Villa have not won a game in the league since they beat Norwich at Villa Park in February, a run which has seen them lose eight consecutive games in league to leave them on the brink of relegation.

Last meetings

The last meeting between these two sides at Old Trafford resulted in a comfortable win for the Reds 3-1, thanks to a brace of goals from Ander Herrera and another from Wayne Rooney while Christian Benteke got the goal for Villa. The meeting earlier in the season at Villa Park was much closer with the Reds edging the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Adnan Januzaj.

Januzaj scoring the winner against Villa earlier in the season | Photo: Getty Images
Januzaj scored the winner at Villa Park against Villa earlier in the season | Photo: Getty Images

Team News

Manchester United

The Reds will be without Bastian Schweinsteiger for this weekend's game, who van Gaal says is unlikely to play again this season after injuring his knee last month. Januzaj will miss the game with a hamstring injury while Herrera is a doubt for the game after coming off before the end of the game against West Ham midweek. 

Luke Shaw is still out after suffer a leg break in September but has returned to training but van Gaal says he is "doing great" on his road to recovery. Rooney made his first-team comeback against West Ham on Wednesday after being out for over two months and is likely to be at least on the bench for the game this weekend.

Aston Villa

Villa will be without Gabby Agbonlahor for the game after manager Eric Black confirmed that he had put the striker on a special fitness programme for the next two weeks. The striker missed the last couple of games due to being suspended by the club for discipline problems.

The good news though for Villa is that Jack Grealish and Adama Traore are expected to play some part in the game after getting minutes for the U21s midweek.

Manchester United will host Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday, April 16th with kick-off at 15:00 BST.