MUFO - Villa vs. United - Match Preview
By Andrew Cuff
Saturday 22 Nov 2008 15:45:00
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A late kick off sees United travelling to meet Aston Villa in this weekend’s Premier League clash. United who have won their last 3 games at home, drew to Celtic away and lost to Arsenal have a massive task ahead to regain top spot in the Premier League. United’s solitary goal victory against QPR on the 11th of this month and dramatic five goal thriller against Stoke City have started the revival of the Champions. United have history on their side to as they have not yet lost at Villa Park since the first game of the 95/96 season, however the dismal away form of United will be compounded by the countless injuries to the squad this week.

United have drawn two and lost the third of their last three trips away from Old Trafford and on top of that United have lost some key players to injury this last week. The United midfield has seen the return of Carrick to the choice for first team positions, though still lacks the experience of Scholes and Hargreaves who are both out due to long term injuries. Scholes should hopefully be fit for the Club World Cup in Japan which takes place within the next month. This weeks international match saw Berbatov taken off after an injury to his hamstring which means Tevez is likely to get a start in both today’s match and the mid week clash against Villarreal, the club are hoping Berbatov will be fit to tackle City next Saturday, but may be out until United meet Blackburn at the beginning of December.

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Wes Brown has also been ruled out for the rest of 2008 after undergoing surgery this past week to examine his ongoing ankle injury worries. Ferdinand is also unlikely to take part in this match after missing the England mid week clash with a back injury. This means Vidic is likely to line up alongside the youngster Johnny Evans, who is getting more and more exposure to United starting line up and has already made a great impact on the strength of the United defence. On the right we are likely to see the experience of Gary Neville being chosen over Rafael’s youth for the next two matches, however I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him substituted during the match. United also have O’Shea who can fill any defensive role.

Rooney has also been doubtful to play at Villa Park this week after missing international duty, however he has been back in training for the past two days and seems fit enough o take part in this weekend’s clash, though again I expect he will be one of Ferguson’s priorities to substitute off at the 60 minute mark. Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson all returned late on Thursday from their travels to Brazil and Ferguson may use his striking force sparingly this weekend ahead of the midweek clash against Villarreal who are joint group leaders at the moment.

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