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Preview: Manchester United vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester United play host to Aston Villa on Friday night looking to extend their unbeaten record in the Premier League to 10 matches.

Meanwhile, Villa travel to Old Trafford knowing that victory will move them to within one point of their second-placed opponents in the standings.

Match preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected after seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League on December 8, 2020© Reuters

Man United have made a habit of prevailing in high-scoring matches this season, particularly away from home when they have often conceded an early goal.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have taken a great deal of satisfaction from a scrappy 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night, a result earned through a deflected 93rd-minute winner from Marcus Rashford.

The result was harsh on a much-changed visitors who inevitably tired in their second game in 48 hours, but Solskjaer will prefer to focus on the perseverance of his players in a match where they were nullified effectively for the most part.

Rashford's decisive strike is currently the difference between fourth and second, and a second successive win over Midlands opposition will put further distance between themselves and the most improved side in the division.

While Solskjaer and his United squad may not regard Villa as long-term rivals in the hunt for the Champions League places, they will be aware that defeat on Friday evening would leave Dean Smith's side in a strong position.

Sitting four points adrift of second position with a game in hand, Smith deserves the widespread praise that he has received for transforming Villa from a relegation-threatened side into a club which now have genuine ambitions to finish in the top four.

However, Villa's recent performances have come without any added pressure on their shoulders, and it remains to be seen how they will cope with expectations rising significantly among their fanbase.

With 24 matches still to play, Smith will stress that his players cannot afford to get ahead of themselves when consistency could be a deciding factor come the end of the season.

Nevertheless, Villa were outstanding during the second half of their meeting with Chelsea on Monday, and having an extra day's rest can only benefit them ahead of a fixture of this magnitude.

Manchester United Premier League form: WDWWDW
Manchester United form (all competitions): DWWWDW

Aston Villa Premier League form: LWDWWD

Team News

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Anthony Martial is expected to earn a recall for United, taking the place of Edinson Cavani in attack.

Luke Shaw, Fred and Scott McTominay should also come into the side as replacements for Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.

While Eric Bailly is showing no ill-effects on his return to the starting lineup, Solskjaer could avoid taking any risks with Victor Lindelof's back problem.

With Villa defender Tyrone Mings returning from suspension, one of Kortney Hause or Ezri Konsa will drop down to the substitutes' bench.

Having recovered from a hamstring injury, Ross Barkley is in line to replace Bertrand Traore.

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

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins

SM words green background

We say: Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa

Having performed so impressively during the second half at Chelsea, Villa will fancy their chances of taking more points off their rivals for a European place. However, having more options to rotate will help Solskjaer, and the home side should have enough quality to outlast their in-form opponents.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


How you voted: Man Utd vs Aston Villa

Manchester United
Aston Villa
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Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on November 8, 2020
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