Friday 14 August 2015

Match preview: Aston Villa v United

United travel down the M6 to Birmingham with a little piece of history already in the bag- the first ever top flight match to be played on a Friday night (because of a march in Brum over the weekend). 

Tim Sherwood's new look Villans may have lost their main goal threat in Christian Benteke, and Villa Park maybe one of the Reds favourite away days in terms of points, but this does not mean they are to be taken lightly.

United are unbeaten at Villa Park in the last 20 meetings between the sides, and that (coupled of course with a chance to go top of the league) will make United favourites but the pace and aerial power of Benteke's replacement Rudy Gestede makes Sherwood's side a danger to any team.

Sergio Romero looks set to retain his place in goal and Phil Jones is out with "mild thrombosis" but United have no new injury concerns and striker Chicharito could feature.
Marcos Rojo is still not up to full fitness and so will not play.

Speaking to the media on Friday, United boss Louis van Gaal said that improvement in the Reds away form will be key this term, and said:

"Yes, I think that is the key to success this season, at home we were one of the best, third in the league I think but I want to create a fortune from Old Trafford and we did that.
"Away from home we can improve, but last season it was not good.
"We are in a process so of course you have new players, a new team and the team dynamics are different so you have to survive the start.
"Nobody is 100% fit and they have to play in the beginning, I think that we have to pay attention to it and develop, but it cannot cost as many points as last year and that is our main objective."

Van Gaal was asked if he is happy with his squad or if he wants to strengthen, and added:

"Always, our aim is to improve our squad and when it is possible we shall do that but I have said more than once that we shall only buy when we think it is a contribution to our squad."

Referee: Mike Dean
Match odds: Villa 5/1 Draw 3/1 United 4/6

Form guide: Both of these sides won 1-0 on the opening day- we beat Spurs and Villa edged past newly promoted Bournemouth.

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