Aston Villa vs Manchester United Preview: Villains seek route to safety as rampant Reds come to town
Conor Hourihane and Aaron Wan-Bissaka battling for the ball via Getty Images- Nevile Williams

Aston Villa will take on Manchester United at Villa Park on Thursday evening, kicking off at 20:15 in the Premier League.

Villa are yet to win a game since the resumption of the Premier League last month. The latest result was a 2-0 loss at Anfield, last Sunday, against Champions Liverpool. A goal from Senegalese star Sadio Mane and the first league strike for Curtis Jones condemned Villa to yet another defeat. 

On the other hand, Manchester United have enjoyed an incredible run of form since the restart. United have won all but one of their fixtures since the restart, and that was the opening one against Tottenham. The latest victory was a convincing 5-2 win over relegation candidates Bournemouth, at Old Trafford. 

Time is running out for Villa

Following Watford's victory over Norwich City on Tuesday night, it left Villa four points adrift of safety with five games left to play. 

Momentum and confidence are the keywords at this stage of the season, and Villa are low on both. Goals are the thing that seems to be eluding the Villains at the moment with only two scored since the restart. There has been some positives, though. Villa do look more defensively sound than they did before the stop. 

Villa have taken just two points in their last nine games, and their history against sides in the top half won't fill fans with much hope ahead of this fixture. Villa have won just one of their last 27 games against those in the top half of the Premier League, and they have only won once against United in their last 42 meetings. 

Manager Dean Smith had this to say on his upcoming opponents: "We got a point at Old Trafford, took a lead thanks to a great goal from Jack and we more than matched them on the day.

“We have to do that again, they’re in a better run of form now, but there is a lot of desire within the team.”

“They [Manchester United] are a very good team, they have improved, but there is a lot of heart that we can take from our performance against Liverpool. We have to do the same against a team that are full of confidence.

“The belief is there because the players know that they have played well enough to win games.”

Ole has United driving in the right direction

United look to have benefited best from the resumption of the Premier League as they are unbeaten since football resumed. 

The Reds are currently on the best unbeaten run (9 matches) in the division. This could be due in a massive part to the form of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. 

Fernandes has been involved in 11 goals in just nine Premier League games since his move from Sporting Club De Portugal in January. Greenwood could take his place in United history if he keeps up this form as he is just three goals shy of being United's scoring teenager in a single season. 

United are on their best run of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign, and the Red Devils boss had this to say on his team's current run: "As a footballer you know you can’t just pick out confidence from the fridge have to have it from every day in training and results matter.

"Last 16 games unbeaten gives us confidence but nowhere near what a Manchester United team should stride towards. If we focus on the next one and suddenly stood there with 16, that’s what we’ve done, and hopefully, we can continue.”

Solskjaer also spoke about whether he thinks United need to win all their remaining games to get into the top four: "I think so yeah, you never know what’s gonna happen but it looks like teams around are playing well. There are so many games if you win every single one we’re in the top four. We cannot rely on help from anyone else, have to do it ourselves and go into next season we can put other challenges into teams.”

Team News

Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish are both available after their slight issues in the Liverpool game. Matt Targett also returns from a hamstring injury.

Victor Lindelof is in the only real injury concern for United and Solskjaer can name the same team for the fourth game in a row.

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