Aston Villa host Premier League champions Manchester United on Sunday knowing their opponents have won on their last two visits to the West Midlands.
David Moyes’s men are 13 points off the pace in the title race this term going into the weekend fixtures. The Red Devils also have a mounting injury crisis which keeps key names from the spine of their side out.
Paul Lambert prepares for the champions knowing his charges have been better on the road than at Villa Park this season. Eleventh place in the table might look comfortable, but Villa are only six points above the relegation zone after 15 matches.
Lambert will definitely be missing midfield Fabian Delph as he serves a ban after picking up his fifth booking in the away defeat at Fulham. Villa captain Ron Vlaar is likely to remain sidelined with a calf problem. Czech striker Libor Kozak and Spanish left back Antonio Luna have both resumed training, however, and could feature against United.
The Red Devils are without Robin van Persie for up to a month as he picked up a thigh strain in the Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk. He joins Marouane Fellaini (back) and Michael Carrick (Achilles) in missing out.
Defensive trio Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Patrice Evra carry doubts because of knocks. Moyes may play Shinji Kagawa off Wayne Rooney in attack on the England talisman’s 500th club career appearance.
Aston Villa: 1 Brad Guzan, 7 Leandro Bacuna, 2 Nathan Baker, 6 Ciaran Clark, 14 Antonio Luna, 8 Karim El Ahmadi, 15 Ashley Westwood, 10 Andreas Weimann, 24 Aleksandar Tonev, 11 Gabriel Agbonlahor, 20 Christian Benteke/27 Libor Kozak 4-2-3-1
Man Utd: 1 David De Gea, 2 Rafael, 4 Phil Jones, 6 Jonny Evans, 28 Alex Buttner, 23 Tom Cleverley, 11 Ryan Giggs/8 Anderson, 25 Antonio Valencia, 26 Shinji Kagawa, 44 Adnan Januzaj, 10 Wayne Rooney 4-2-3-1
- 30 Sexiest WAGs (Pictures)
- 8 Actresses Who Tricked You Into Thinking You Saw Them Nude
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 8 Amazing Football Stadiums That Are Being Built
- Newcastle: 10 Craziest Players Ever To Wear Black & White
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
This article was first posted on December 15, 2013