More frustration in store for Man Utd away to Aston Villa
Manchester United boss David Moyes needs his team of champions to stand up and fight in their Premier League clash at Aston Villa, but Paul Lambert’s men have shown they’re no pushovers in recent weeks.
After two league losses in a row at home United can stop the rot now back on their travels, but another close encounter to match last season’s Villa Park thriller is expected.
Aston Villa v Man Utd – Draw @ 5/2
The champions are without a win since their vital 1-0 defeat of league-leaders Arsenal at Old Trafford in early November, with their last top-flight victory on the road coming over a week before then at Fulham.
Their away form since prefaced the recent week of nightmares at the Theatre of Dreams, as a pair of 2-2 draws at Cardiff and Spurs were followed by 1-0 home reverses against Everton and Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Lambert has got his Villa ducks in a row of late, with his side going down just once in their last six matches, claiming four points from their pair of home games during that period.
On Sir Alex Ferguson’s last visit to Villa Park United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, but his beleaguered successor David Moyes can expect no such concessions from fellow former Celtic man Lambert and honours even looks the percentage call in this clash.
Andreas Weimann to score the first goal @ 9/1
The Austrian’s status as second-lowest priced Villa player in this market – despite only being able to chirp about one Premier League goal since April – must be due to Weimann’s impact in this fixture last term.
Goals either side of half-time from the 22-year-old had the Villa Park faithful dreaming of a first home win against United since 1995, before the visitors rallied to victory thanks to Javier Hernandez’s brace and Ron Vlaar’s own goal off Rafael’s shot.
The 10-cap international’s sole top-flight strike so far this season was the winner against Manchester City and he is the pick to raise his game again when similarly vaunted company hit Birmingham.
Rafael to score at anytime @ 12/1
Having failed to get on the scoresheet away from home since scoring his first goal for United as an 18-year-old at the Emirates back in 2008, two of Rafael’s three strikes last season came on the road.
The Brazilian bagged his team’s equaliser in the Red Devils’ 2-1 win at Anfield 15 months ago and cracked a stunning 25-yard opener against QPR at Loftus Road in February.
Moyes has been reluctant to use the slight right-back since taking over at Old Trafford, with sturdier options Chris Smalling and Phil Jones often preferred.
Smalling is struggling with a hamstring complaint and Jones is needed in midfield, so Rafael is likely to keep his place in the starting line-up in Birmingham and considering the amount of times the marauding full-back gets involved in attacks, he looks good value to grab his first goal of the campaign here.