Wednesday, January 19

Aston Villa v Man United: New faces to help Villa get the win

Villa on the upswing

It’s not three defeats on the bounce for Steven Gerrard’s side, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

They played well in their 1-3 loss to Chelsea on Boxing Day, and it’s fair to say that they were more than a shade unlucky to exit the FA Cup on Monday at Old Trafford.

Villa were the better team for the most part against Manchester United, and I am confident that Gerrard would take the same level of performance for this return in the Premier League.

There will be a couple of new faces in the Villa squad on Saturday too, as both Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne go straight into the squad to face the Red Devils.

The two of them bring a touch of class to the Villa team, but Gerrard will be without the services of the departing, Anwar El Ghazi, and the suspended, John McGinn.

Problems remain at Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo was the latest United player to come out in support of Ralf Rangnick this week, but Ronaldo and co. haven’t been doing it for him on the pitch yet.

They did manage to put their 0-1 league defeat to Wolves behind them by progressing in the FA Cup, but as touched on already, they more than a touch fortunate.

Rangnick’s men come into the weekend sitting in seventh, and while they are six points off fourth, they do have two games in hand over the Hammers – it’s worth noting however that Spurs have two more points and have played a game less.

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As for the team news, Ronaldo missed out in the cup, but he’s set to return here, but scorer, Scott McTominay is suspended, as is Luke Shaw. Alex Telles will likely slot in at left back, but perhaps the most interesting aspect will be if Marcus Rashford keeps his place in the XI.

The Betfair Exchange is forecasting this to be a really tight game, and it’s hard to argue with that. The visitors are the favourites at 2.526/4, but the hosts are only 3.02/1 and the draw isn’t much bigger at 3.55.

If you just glance at the respective recent results of each side, you would say that United are the worthy favourites and perhaps should be shorter.

If you’ve actually watched some of those matches though, you might say that a home win is a shade overpriced and worth a bet.

I am in the camp of the latter, and I can see Villa exacting some revenge here. They have a renewed steel about that under Gerrard, and if the former Liverpool legend can get Coutinho playing how he did when he played alongside him, they could still make a late bid for Europe.

Since Rangnick took over at Old Trafford, only one of United’s seven matches have gone Over 2.5 Goals. In fact, four of them have actually finished with just one goal being scored – including the game with Villa.

So it’s quite surprising then that Over 2.5 Goals is actually the marginal favourite for this Saturday teatime clash, with it currently trading at around the 1.9210/11 mark.

Admittedly, two of Villa’s last three have finished with the ball in the net on three occasions or more, but their tow prior to that did go Under.

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I do like Under 2.5 Goals for this one, especially as it’s available to back at 2.0421/20. There is more than a 50% chance of this having two goals or fewer, so above evens is a bit of value.

My Bet Builder for this fixture starts with picks I have already outlined above, albeit I am playing it slightly safer with the match result as I am going to go with Aston Villa Double Chance (to win or draw), along with my Under 2.5 Goals selection.

Cards are quite short in the betting too, so I am going to take the slightly bigger price on offer than what you would normally expect for Under 4.5 Cards.

Add in Over 9.5 Corners and we have a nice little 11/2 Bet Builder.

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