The loss to Wigan, at the DW Stadium, on Wednesday night was both unexpected but deserved. Did United go into cruise mode for that game and take the opposition to lightly believing the title was already won? If so then that defeat should act as the kick up the backside that United need to ease them over the finishing line to retain their crown.
Our opposition, this Sunday, though will be no walkover. It has been a troubled season for Villa and results gave them a nervous flirtation with relegation, although we believe there are certainly five teams worse than them that will contest the relegation spots. But whilst they may be safe, the relief at not being dragged into an unwanted battle could stir them into opening up and playing the type of football that they`ve bene trying to achieve all season.
All in all it has the prospect of being an entertaining fixture as United strive to get the three points needed to make retaining the Premier League crown that more achievable.
Looking ahead, after the defeat to Wigan, Sir Alex Ferguson, at his pre-match press conference
Had this to say about making sure we don`t have a repeat of Wednesday`s outcome, remarking,
You don`t want to lose games at this time of the year but it does happen.”
“We want to get back on the road again and Sunday obviously givres us that chance. You do drop points in the run-in. We and City have both experienced that.”
“But from the position we were in a few months ago to where we are today, we have to be absolutely delighted.”
“In the Treble season we went from December to the end of the season without losing.”
“And then there was another season when we went 16 games without losing.”
“But a few seasons ago we lost 4-1 at home to Liverpool and won the league by nine points.”
“The great part of our club is that we do recover and we have to recover from Wednesday.”
And I reckon we will do just that.
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson would not have been impressed with how the side played at the DW Stadium. Having only one shot on target was criminal for a side chasing the title. Therefore we expect that Sir Alex will ring the changes in a midfield that looked to be struggling against their spirited opposition
We fully expect Paul Scholes to start and use his skills to dictate the tempo of the game, possibly replacing another veteran in Ryan Giggs. Elsewhere, Nani made an appearance form the bench on Wednesday night and Sir Alex could be tempted to give the Portuguese player a start.
Definitely out, through injury, are Nemanja Vidic, Michael Owen, Anders Lindegaard and Darren Fletcher.
United could line up as:-
De Gea, Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
On Wednesday night, during the defeat to Wigan, Wayne Rooney was one of those hauled off as Sir Alex Ferguson sought to turn the match around. It`s a rare event to see Wayne hauled off and we reckon he may well have been stung into giving the perfect response in this fixture, so stand by for some fireworks.
Aston Villa Team News:
Aston Villa will arrive at Old Trafford with two key figures missing. Their Bulgarian skipper, Stilyan Petrov, has begun a course of treatment to fight the Acute Leukemia he was diagnosed with recently and to him we extend our best wishes. Also out is their highly priced striker, Darren Bent, who is sidelined with an injury that will prevent him participating in the Euro 2012 finals, this summer.
As for other team news, Villa have injury concerns about Chris Herd, Stephen Warnock and Marc Albrighton with Fabian Delph already ruled out.
Player to watch: Stephen Ireland
A self-confessed United fan who has admitted his idol was Eric Cantana. Delivered some decent performances whilst wearing the blue of Manchester City but has struggled to produce the goods on a regular basis since moving.
Match Facts & Stats
In the reciprocating game, at Villa Park, this season, United own by a solitary goal with Phil Jones scoring his first ever United goal.
I`m taking United to get back to winning ways based on the belief that the defeat against Wigan, at the DW Stadium, will kick us back into life. If we can get an early goal the floodgates could open the floodgates, but I`ll just be glad with any kind of win, so I`ll go for a 2-0 United win!
It`s another home fixture next up, with Everton visiting Old Trafford.