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Manchester United to respond by thumping Jekyll and Hyde side Villa

A Manchester United forward has scored two goals or more in each of the last four meetings with Aston Villa.

Robin van Persie may be unable to contribute towards that run continuing because of injury, but back the Red Devils to bounce back from derby defeat, despite disgruntled fans planning a fly-past.

David Moyes’ men are odds-on 4/9 favourites for three points in the lunchtime Premier League offering. Villa, who last won at Old Trafford in 2009, are massive 13/2 outsiders, and the draw is priced at 16/5.

Wayne Rooney could once again be the man to step up in Van Persie’s absence. He has 12 goals in 24 career appearances against Villa, and bagged the decisive brace at West Ham. Take odds of 5/2 on the England talisman netting two or more here.

Fellow Three Lions and United forward Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, has seven wins out of seven when paired with this opposition. He has also scored three times in these fixtures, so is a safe bet at 11/10 for a goal anytime.

It is very difficult to make a case, meanwhile, for Villa at ‘the Theatre of Dreams’ – even if recent matches there have resembled nightmares. They have picked up as many points on the road as at home, but Paul Lambert’s lads are unpredictable when coming up against top-half opposition.

West Midlands outfit Villa have scored just twice (both in the same game) in their last five encounters with the Red Devils. Lambert must hope that Austrian attacker Andreas Weimann, who got both those goals, shakes off the dead leg he suffered against Stoke City, and is fit to play. If punters fancy him to find the target here, then take odds of 11/4 on him netting anytime.

It is Villa forwards, thrust wide, that have tended to score against United. Gabriel Agbonlahor, who grabbed the winner in 2009, is 5/2 to do so again, and 9/1 to net first, or last. Karim El Ahmadi may miss out for the visitors because of a thigh strain, so Mali international Yacouba Sylla could be deployed in the midfield battle as anchor.

Outgoing Red Devils club captain Nemanja Vidic returns from suspension, so that will strengthen the hosts’ rear-guard and keep Christian Benteke quiet. United have kept clean sheets in four of the last five meetings with Villa, so back a shut-out at 21/20 or a win to nil 27/20.

There is great value if you look to the handicap markets here. Give Moyes’ men, who have invariably scored three or four against Villa recently, a deficit of two or three goals, and receive odds of 29/10 or 7/1. Back the Red Devils to net a total over 3.5 and enjoy a 5/1 price.

A 3-0 victory for the home side is attractively priced at 9/1, so bank on Rooney and the other attackers who usually have a field day when facing the Birmingham-based club.