Can the Red Devils get lucky on Round 2 against Villa?

Can the Red Devils get lucky on Round 2 against Villa?

Aston Villa and Manchester United face off for the second time in a week at Villa Park, with Villa fans hungry for retribution after United edged Aston Villa out for a 1-0 win, knocking Villa out of the FA Cup.

On Tuesday at Old Trafford, Scott McTominay headed United into the lead in the 8th minute following a curling delivery from Fred, placing the ball just beyond Villa keeper Emiliano Martínez.

Apart from the lone goal, Villa were the better team throughout the 90 minutes. The away team staged several comeback attempts, coming painfully close to leveling the score on 3 occasions. After Victor Lindelof failed to control a stray ball, Ollie Watkins pounced on the opportunity, soundly beating De Gea but was denied by the crossbar.

Villa found the back of the net twice after the break, but both goals were disallowed. After Danny Ings put the ball past De Gea at point blank range, Jacob Ramsey was determined to have fouled Edison Cavani as the ball went in, leading to a controversial overturn of the would-have-been equalizer. Just minutes later, Ollie Watkins once again thought he had put Villa back on level terms, only for the offside flag to go up.

To be fair, while Villa dominated the game, United had their fair share of opportunities in front of the goal, with Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, and Rashford coming close to extending United’s lead.

As they welcome United for Round 2 at Villa park, head coach Steven Gerrard will be without Marvelous Nakamba (knee), Leon Bailey (thigh), Trezeguet (international), Bertrand Traore (international), while Ashley Young remains doubtful due to a foot injury.

United fare slightly better on this front, with only Paul Pogba doubtful for Saturday’s clash, after suffering a thigh injury on international duty. Harry Maguire and Phil Jones also return to give Ralf Rangnick more options at the back, and will be welcome news as United’s shaky back line continues to be a problem.

As United find themselves sitting at 7th on the PL standings and 6 points behind 4th placed West Ham, there is an urgent need to get all the points they can to keep alive hopes of Champions League football next season. Ralf Rangnick will have his work cut out for him amid talks of dressing room splits, unhappy players wanting out of the club, and Cristiano Ronaldo being himself. Despite having won 4 of their last 5 encounters, United remain as inconsistent as they have been since Rangnick took over, and the news coming out of Old Trafford only seem to suggest that this is only the beginning. 

Aston Villa are at 14th place on the table and realistically are playing to avoid relegation. Having been practically robbed of their only chance of silverware this season, the Villans will definitely be seeking to inflict more hurt onto the Red Devils at home.

Overall, we say that United will draw 2-2 at Villa Park this Saturday, with both teams with their own agendas, with United seeking a top 4 finish and Aston Villa seeking retribution.