Manchester United vs Aston Villa: Preview and Prediction￼
The pre-season caravan of Manchester United moves out from Melbourne to the city of Perth where they will be taking on another Premier League outfit Aston Villa. The Red Devils will be out to play their final fixture of the Australia Tour where they gained great momentum ahead of the upcoming EPL season. The action-packed encounter between these two English top-flight combatants will be played on the 23rd of July at the Optus Stadium.
Despite the number of big signings, Aston Villa could not perform up to expectations, especially after a mega boost during the transfer window. The Birmingham-based club is still yet to fill out the voids which came under the lights after the unwilling departure of Jack Grealish. The Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard who arrived at the Claret and Blue Army last November is now gearing up for his first full season for the Villans.
On the other hand, the Red Devils went down to 10 men in the 84th minute but still went on to register a comfortable victory over the Crystal Palace side. United has now won three out of three pre-season friendlies and each one with domination. The gaffer Erik ten Hag is setting a stage for his grand debut at Old Trafford against Brighton & Hove Albion in the opening fixture of the 2022-23 PL season.
What have they done so far?
The attacking unit of Manchester Reds is on fire as they have scored three or more goals in each and every pre-season game. Each member of their front-three Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho was able to put their name on the scoresheet against Crystal Palace FC. David de Gea made a return to the pitch in the previous fixture but couldn’t keep the clean sheet as Joel Ward’s 74th-minute strike broke the deadlock.
The Aston Lions kick-started their pre-season campaign with a convincing victory over the EFL League Two outfit Walsall FC. Leon Bailey, Cameron Archer, Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz netted one goal each in their 4-0 triumph over the English fourth division side. And then went on to win the Queensland Champions Cup by defeating Brisbane Roar in the one-off game on a 1-0 scoreline.
Head to Head record
Manchester United has dominated Aston Villa ever since the beginning of this rivalry back in 1892. They have faced each other 193 times in competitive games and the Red Devils have emerged victorious 102 while the Claret and Blue Army could win only 50 games.
However, United could not register a victory over the Birmingham-based club in the last Premier League campaign and also lost a home fixture against them.
Amidst the transfer window
The rise of Diogo Dalot is not a good sign for the 24-year-old English right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka who is reportedly looking for another destination. Many prominent media houses are reporting that the Manchester authorities have already initiated their search for AWB’s potential replacements. While the negotiations for the Barca midfielder Frenkie de Jong are also going on as we may expect the verdict of the deal very soon.
The 29-year-old Brazilian central defender Diego Carlos got his first start in the previous friendly fixture and formed a deadly partnership with the skipper Tyrion Mings. Another Seville defender Ludwig Augustinsson has also arrived at Villa Park for a season-long loan stint. Apart from them, Gerrard has also welcomed the former Roma keeper Robin Olsen and the french holding midfielder Boubacar Kamara to the Aston Villa roster.
Erik ten Hag is expected to field a full-fledged lineup in this encounter as he has done the same in all fixtures of the Australia Tour. Anthony Martial is in red-hot form ever since returning from the Sevilla loan stint and has scored goals in each pre-season friendly. The French central defender Raphael Varane has not even made it to the matchday squad of their last two fixtures hence it will be interesting to see if he is able to make a return or not.
Gerrard made hefty changes in both pre-season games to distribute enough game-time to deserving ones and is likely to do the same against the Red Devils too. The club captain Tyrone Mings made a second-half appearance against Brisbane Roar and will be starting in central defense along with Diego Carlos. Emiliano Martinez was the only player from the starting XI who played the full 90 minutes of the Queensland Champions Cup and will be keeping the Villa goal in this encounter too.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Manchester United (4-3-3): David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia; Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes; Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings, Diego Carlos, Ludwig Augustinsson; John McGinn, Boubacar Kamara, Phillippe Coutinho; Leon Bailey, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia
It seems like Erik ten Hag has already got the idea about his first-choice eleven players for the upcoming Premier League season and he will be trying to ensemble them in the remaining pre-season friendlies. Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is still in the testing mood however it is time to urge to establish a core and start making plans accordingly.
It is quite evident that Manchester United are favorites to win this encounter due to their recent domination and the unsteady form of their English counterparts.