Manchester United vs Aston Villa preview: Team news, ones to watch, predicted line ups and how to watch
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 09: (Photo by Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images)

A victory for Manchester United would see them joint first in the Premier League table with rivals Liverpool.

United currently sit second in the table with 30 points having played 15 games while the PL Champions top the table with 33 points and they played their 16th game of the season on Wednesday night where they drew 0-0 with Newcastle United.

However, the Red Devils face the tough task of beating, the underdogs of the season so far, Aston Villa.

Villa currently sit 5th with 26 points, a win for the away side would see them just one point behind United. Dean Smith's men have only played 14 games this season and are unbeaten in their last five league games.

The new year is set to start off with a cracker, United will be wanting to continue to build up their momentum, especially with the game against Liverpool coming up later in the month. However, Villa will be planning for another upset on Friday night, lets not forget about that 7-2 win at Anfield to quickly.

  • Team news

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could again be without defender Victor Lindelof, the Swede missed the win against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night due to a back problem.

Even though Alex Telles was substituted at half time on Tuesday evening, the left back is fit and should be in the squad for the game against Villa.

Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo both remain unavailable as they recover from their injuries. Aaron Wan-Bissaka returned to the squad against Wolves and played the whole game which is a good sign for Solskjaer and United. Edison Cavani will start his three match suspension for his tweet that he posted after the 3-2 win against Southampton.

And for the away side, defender Tyrone Mings will return to the squad after his one match suspension, he missed out on their impressive 1-1 draw against Chelsea. 

Dean Smith's men have had one extra day's rest as their last game was on Monday night, this is something that could come into play later on in the game.

Ross Barkley could return for The Villains as he starts to come back from his injury whilst a familiar face in Tom Heaton could be on the bench for Villa after returning only recently due to an injury lay-off. It is unlikely that the former Red will start due to Emiliano Martinez' performances so far this season.

Villa are without Wesley and Trezeguet, however with the likes of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins the Claret and Blue side have plenty of cover.

  • One's to watch

Manchester United:

As always when it comes to United, their one's to watch is Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder is coming up to a year since he signed and has been a fan favourite since day one. 

Last season he helped the Red Devils reach third place in the league and this season with his ten goals and seven assists in just 15 games he has helped his club get up to second place whilst also putting them in touching distance of Liverpool.

Marcus Rashford is also someone who could turn the game on its head as he has shown already in his early United career. The England international scored the late winner against Wolves earlier in the week and has also tallied up seven goals and four assists this season, he is just 10 behind his Premier League total from last season.

Aston Villa:

Jack Grealish, like Fernandes for United, is his teams key man. The club captain has provided his team with five goals and six assists already this season whilst also starting every game his club has played in the league so far in this campaign.

Anwar El Ghazi is another player United should be keeping a close eye on. The Dutch international has scored five goals in his last five games for Smith's team, the midfielder has only recently started to feature more often in Villa's starting eleven and will be wanting to keep his good form going.

  • Predicted Line-Ups

Manchester United: De Gea; Shaw, Maguire, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial

Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi, Grealish, Traore; Watkins

  • How to watch

The game will be available to watch live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event. You can also access the game by purchasing a NOW TV Sky Sports day or monthly pass.

The game will kick off at 20:00 (BST).

  • What the managers have said

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "They’ve been brilliant.

"I have to say Dean Smith has done a fantastic job.

"We played them in pre-season and they beat us in our one game we had before the league.

"We know all about how tough this is going to be – they have got individual players, they’re physically strong and, defensively, they have been one of the better teams in the league.

"When you beat Liverpool 7-2, it’s not just defending but counter-attacking with quality players.

"Maybe that’s the game everyone will remember from this season.”

Dean Smith: “We’ll prepare for it like we have all the rest of them.

“We get a day more preparation time for this game (than pre-Chelsea), it’s a busy period but these are the games the players want to play in, the games they look forward to.

“Manchester United is probably one of the first fixtures all the players look for.

“We had a good result there last season and we feel we’re in better place than we were last season.

“But we know the talent Manchester United have got.”