Manchester United could all but seal their twentieth League title this upcoming Monday evening with a win at home to relegation candidates Aston Villa. United following a victory away at Stoke last weekend and a midweek 2-2 draw at Upton Park currently sit on eighty-one points, thirteen ahead of Manchester City who have sixty-eight. City do have a game in hand on Manchester United and play first with a tough away trip to Spurs however United can ensure they will need just a point from their trip to the Emirates to secure the title with a victory against Villa. If you place a £20 bet with bwin for United to win you’d get £24.40 back – that’s how the odds favour United. Villa on the other hand would win you £210 for the same bet – big outsiders at Old Trafford – can they spoil the party?
Aston Villa head into their trip to Old Trafford in a run of relatively good form with the performances of Christian Benteke, Charles N’Zogbia and Brad Guzan aiding Paul Lambert’s men’s particular success in recent weeks, such as a 3-1 victory away at fellow relegation candidates Stoke. It could be said that there is not a better time for this Aston Villa side to travel to the home of the Premier League leaders with the Villains hoping their recent form and the confidence within the squad it has created is enough to save the club from the drop. Villa will be more than well aware of the fixture in hand Wigan Athletic have over them and will look to take anything they can from Monday’s match. Despite their recent good form however it will be a worry for Lambert about his young and at times naïve defence coming up against such a potent strike force with it being unlikely that the Midlands club will be able to keep a clean sheet.
United performed professionally in both away fixtures in the past week with the victory at Stoke coming without more than a handful of individual brilliance with the same being said for the trip to East London to face a West Ham Side who are pretty much safe for another season in the English top flight. Whilst the League leaders have come into some criticism recently, particularly from within their own fan base, Sir Alex Ferguson appeared pleased following the two tough away trips with his side putting considerable pressure on the opponents for long spells in both matches.
Ashley Young will miss his third consecutive match as a result of the ankle injury suffered in the Manchester derby earlier this month and will not get the opportunity to face his former club with Sir Alex Ferguson confirming Young will miss the rest of the season. Paul Scholes once again misses out through his long-standing knee injury with it being muted that it is this injury that may keep Scholes out for the remainder of the Premier League season. However it will be only Scholes and Young missing from the United squad on Monday evening with Sir Alex confirming in his pre-match press conference this morning that there are no fresh injury worries as United head into their final five matches.
Gabriel Agbonlahor will face a late fitness test ahead of Monday’s trip to Old Trafford with Paul Lambert hoping to have the quick forward back into his squad to face Manchester United with Agbonlahor having caused United sizeable difficulties in matches gone by between the two sides with Agbonlahor scoring the Villa winner in a famous 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in 2009. Agbonlahor has been back in training this past week after he missed last week’s match with Fulham through a groin complaint. Aston Villa will still be definitely without Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton and Richard Dunne who are all still suffering from foot and groin complaints respectively.
- Should Tottenham Hotspur record a victory over Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United can mathematically secure the League title with a victory over Aston Villa on Monday night.
- Christian Benteke currently has fifteen League goals this season which sits him in fifth place in the goal scoring rankings.
- Aston Villa has the most registered Premier League defeats against Manchester United with twenty-eight which is six more than any other side.
- Aston Villa has emerged victorious from just one of their last thirty-four fixtures against Manchester United with this victory being the aforementioned 1-0 at Old Trafford in December 2009.
Nemanja Vidic will have a sizeable job on his hands come Monday evening to keep Christian Benteke under control with the Belgian international being in prolific form thus far in his debut season in England. Benteke’s physical presence as well as clever close control has seen him cause defences up and down the land all sorts of problems this season not least Manchester United with Benteke out-muscling Jonny Evans in the build-up to Villa’s opening goal in the first fixture between the two sides at Villa Park earlier this season. Vidic having faced the physical might of Stoke City and West Ham United’s Andy Carroll has been well briefed at how to deal with Benteke but it will be a test none the less and Manchester United’s success does to a degree depend on how Vidic deals with Villa’s front man on Monday. Nemanja Vidic holds a very impressive stat in the Premier League this season with the Serbian international having made no defensive errors at all this season which has in the sixteen games Vidic has taken part in definitely contributed to United’s impressive season.
Benteke as previously mentioned has already caused United difficulties this season and it is expected that he will attempt to do the same on Monday, the Belgian International is excellent at out-muscling a defender, holding the ball up and then bringing another attacker ion play as well as having a fantastic eye for goal. Villa will certainly find it difficult to hold onto him this summer regardless of whether they stay in the Premier League. A key for Villa’s game plan on Monday will be the inclusion of Andreas Weimann with him and Benteke forming an effective forward partnership this season. Benteke in holding up the play brings Weimann into play well and this has contributed to the Austrian’s highest Premier League goal tally of his career this season.
In addition former Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has confirmed to the press that he is now in the remission stage of his treatment for acute leukaemia following a year-long spell of full treatment. Petrov went on to thank all the Aston Villa supporters for their continued support throughout his illness with the Villa Park faithful holding applause in the nineteenth minute of every game this season with Petrov having worn the number nineteen for the club. “The support from all the fans, the club, the players, has been amazing.”
£20 Wins You:
Exactly 4 goals in the game: £95
Rooney to score 1st: £90
Benteke to score 1st: £260
van Persie to score 2: £65