Wednesday, January 20

Aston Villa-Manchester United Preview – Sports Illustrated


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes there has been a big change in the mindset of the Manchester United team since he took over two years ago, with his team second in the Premier League.

Despite a dubious start to the campaign, United follow leader Liverpool by just three points heading into 2021, and have a game in hand over the defending champions.

United are undefeated in the league since Nov. 1, when they lost 1-0 to Arsenal, and have won seven of their nine games in that streak. They will host Aston Villa in shape on Friday, and Solskjaer is delighted with his team’s performance.

“We have to know that a lot of games are decided towards the end,” Solskjaer said. “We can’t blow up teams and win at half time. The discipline is there and we can play in a certain way, have players who can win a game in a second.

“They are two years older than when I arrived and some strong personalities have been a good influence. We have strong competition for places, which is good, they just deserve to be on a team that you contribute to. Everyone has the privilege of being part of Unido. . “

Villa is one of the league’s surprise packages this season, and Dean Smith’s team, which drew with Chelsea last time, would move to one point from United with a win.

“We are looking forward to it,” Smith said. “We had a good result there last year with a good performance in a 2-2 draw. They have added their team since then and they are a strong team.

“With our results – against Liverpool, going to Arsenal, going to Leicester and getting a point here – we have shown ourselves that we can compete against anyone. We will have total respect for them, but we certainly will not fear them.”

PLAYERS TO SEE

Manchester United – Bruno Fernandes

Since his debut in February, Bruno Fernandes has directly participated in 32 goals in 29 Premier League games (18 goals, 14 assists). United have lost just three of their 29 Premier League games since the Portugal midfielder made his first appearance.

Aston Villa – Jack Grealish

Grealish had a starting performance in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford last season, and the Villa captain has been one of the league’s most prominent players this season. He has created 51 chances in 14 games this season, four more than Fernandes, who is second in the Premier League.

OPTA KEY FACTS

• United have lost just one of their last 43 Premier League games against Aston Villa (31 wins, 11 draws) and are unbeaten in the last 15 since losing 1-0 at home in December 2009.

• Villa has not avoided defeat in consecutive league visits to Old Trafford since drawing 0-0 in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

• United have won more games on New Year’s Day than any other team in the history of the English Football League (35), while of the teams that have played at least 10 games on January 1, the Red Devils have also won. they have the highest win rate (61 percent – 35/57).

• Villa has added 26 points from 14 Premier League games this season, 11 more than after so many games last season (15). This 11-point increase between seasons is his biggest improvement at this stage in a top flight since 1998-99 (14 more than in 1997-98).

• Anwar El Ghazi has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances for Aston Villa, the last player to score in four consecutive top flight games for the club was Christian Benteke in April 2013.



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