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United look to return to winning ways at Villa

After ending November with a shock home loss to Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup quarterfinals, Manchester United will look to open a busy and pivotal December with a win, as they visit Aston Villa this weekend. United are always a popular Premier League betting pick, and they’ll be favored to take the spoils in Saturday’s showdown at Villa Park.

After last Saturday’s controversial 1-1 home draw with Newcastle and City’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Sunday, United come into December five points behind City in second. With City facing Chelsea and Arsenal later in the month, the opportunity could be there to close the gap, but with City hosting Norwich City this weekend, United can’t afford to settle for another stalemate.

In last season’s visit to Villa Park, United needed two goals in the last 10 minutes to draw 2-2, but there’s reason to expect United to get three points this time around.

After winning only five away matches all of last season, United have four wins and two draws in six away league matches so far this season, and they’ve conceded only three goals in those six matches.

United are also facing an opponent they’ve dominated in recent history. Villa haven’t won at home against United in the league since August 1995, and in the 31 league meetings since, their only win is a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in December 2009.

One thing that will be noted at least a few times leading up to this weekend and on Saturday will be the fact that this will be Ashley Young’s first match against his former side since his summer move to United, and the Villains certainly look to be missing both Young and Stewart Downing, who also departed this past summer, moving to Liverpool for 20m.

England internationals Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent both have five league wins, and Agbonlahor has contributed six assists, but there’s been little production elsewhere, as Villa have notched only 16 goals in 13 matches this season.

Not properly replacing their two best playmakers is certainly a big reason why Alex McLeish’s side has had trouble picking up wins thus far. Villa have only three league wins, but they lead the league in draws with seven. It is worth noting that all three of those wins were at home, but it’s also worth noting that they come into their meeting with United with only one win in their last six matches.

Along with failing to hit the back of the net on a consistent basis, defending has also been an issue for Villa. Prior to Sunday’s goalless draw at Swansea, Villa had allowed 12 goals in their previous five matches. Also, three times this season, Villa have given up second-half equalizers in matches that ended in a draw, and they also surrendered an early 1-0 lead in a 2-1 home defeat to Midlands rivals West Brom in October.

This weekend would be a fine time for Young and the United attack to have a big game, especially with a crucial Champions League match at Basel ahead next Wednesday.

United haven’t scored multiple Premier League goals in a game since a 2-0 home win against Norwich City on 1 October, a run of six matches. And after scoring 21 goals in winning their first five league matches this season, United have scored only eight goals in their last eight league matches. Wayne Rooney, while still ranking in the top five in the Premier League scoring charts, hasn’t scored in the league since netting in the 3-1 win over Chelsea in September, and Young hasn’t produced much since his magnificent performance in the 8-2 rout of Arsenal in August.

Injury spells for impressive young talents Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck have hurt United, and Young also had a short spell on the sidelines as well. But with Young now fit again and Welbeck potentially back in action this weekend, United won’t be lacking the firepower to show their class in attack.

In last week’s draws against Benfica and Newcastle, United looked far more threatening in attack than they had been recently, but numerous chances went begging due to poor passes, crosses, and finishes. In fact, in United’s draw with Newcastle, United had an astounding 28 shots on goal, but only seven of those shots were on target. So, things are perhaps headed in the right direction, but United need to start converting more of those numerous chances into goals, starting on Saturday.

Not only do United need to win at Villa to at least keep pace with City, a quality performance – on both ends – will be a major confidence builder heading into United’s most important match of the season.


 

99 Comments

  1. CedarsDevil says:

    You seem like an educated young man using such intelligent quotes, now tell where on earth did I say you should not react when we lose or play badly? I simply said United never make me sad, well unless I am remembering those who perished

    Capiche?

  2. Costas says:

    Just for the record, “Chris Brown (famous woman beater) is LEGEND” was trending worldwide on twitter a couple of weeks back.

    The folks on twitter are famous for NEVER trending utter nonsense…

  3. Quiza says:

    @ samuel we dont need 2 compete with anyone. We got a goal scorer in d Little Pea for 7 mil without competing with anyone. There are lots of good creative attacking mid fielders who would give there right arm to play for us. Its either our scouts are not working hard enough, or we are unwilling to bring them in. Look at Ben Arfa for instance, what’s he still doing at Newcastle?

  4. CedarsDevil says:

    Costas

    You beauty

  5. smartalex says:

    True fans aren’t all about gimme.

    Other ‘fans’ only come to the table to take what they want. The personal glory of proudly supporting an admired winning team is their demand from United. Anything less, and that pride falls into angry fits of childish frustration.

    It’s not about the club for them, it’s about their experience and benefits as part of the club.

  6. marshawash says:

    @CedarsDevil.about your earlier comment, I wasn’t born in the 70′s so I wouldn’t know how it felt, like wise u weren’t around during the 20′s and guessing we alll won’t be around in 2150, but UNiTED will.

    @costas’s argument is with my “trending” word. And @smartalex is focused on “gimme”..LOL! #nuffsaid

  7. CedarsDevil says:

    smartalex

    You beauty too! Term glory hunting springs to mind ….’Only sing when you’re winning’ etc

  8. smartalex says:

    Glory Hunter is exactly the right term.

    For someone to rue watching United should they not perform well enough…

    At least they’re easy to spot.

  9. WillieRedNut says:

    Nice to see Ronnie airbrushed out of that picture. ;)

    This time, is what I like to call, RedNuts perspective:

    Start with a random thought.

    Kiko and Diouf? Do they need a loan spell in the premiership, or should we sell them both next summer?

    Onto last night. Wasn’t really that bad, and I’ll tell yous why. We had a makeshift side on the pitch. It’s not as easy as, simply putting a 11 players on the park, and expecting them to gel. You don’t fully understand football, if you believe that’s the case. Costas will love the next bit. Injuries? I love the twins, but they’re seriously starting to worry me. Rafael is just back ffs. Fabio is exactly the same way. Hope the boys aren’t made of glass! Berba suffered an injury as well. If he stays on, maybe we break Palace down? Hindsight, I know. Lets look at their 2 goals. One is a winder strike. The other, is quite clearly offside. That’s 2 shocking decisions went against us now. We won’t get sympathy though. As I said on a different thread, I’d rather lose in this cup. We haven’t won the FA cup since 2004. Isn’t it about time we won the bloody thing again? The usually suspects got the treatment. Gibbo and Evans. Didn’t think they played that poorly? Maybe it’s just me lol. The bosses apology wasn’t needed imo. We’ve experienced far worse times. The Leeds Fa cup loss, for example. We had a stronger team out that day. United’s next 2 games, could make or break our season. Win them both, and things look better. If we come a cropper in both, invest in a crash helmet! :)

  10. CedarsDevil says:

    marshawash

    My reference to the 70′s and 80′s era was not a brag or to try and give you an indication as to when I was born. You over state the obvious in your post…..

    I was merely highlighting the fact that loving United for me is not about winning, its a passion, a love affair and the fact that they NEVER make me sad! They have given me so much joy over the years, too many to mention…..

    Got it?

  11. CedarsDevil says:

    You see for me watching United is an honor, being at OT is an even bigger one. Singing your heart out for 90 minutes is a joy…. Win, lose or draw, how on earth can anyone say they’ve just wasted two hours of their lives over that!

  12. CedarsDevil says:

    Willie

    I think we need to have you undergo a drugs test, I am sure you must be on steroids! Cannot remember the last time you wrote so much haha

    Seriously, you raise some valid points, the twins are starting to worry me too with their constant injuries and like you say Costas will have a field day with this!

  13. smartalex says:

    Surely most United supporters revolve around the scheduled kick-offs in our season. When is it ever that you don’t know when the next game is? Never. Those 50-odd 90 minute spells are our existence. The rest of the time we spend kicking our heels, whiling away the days and hours to kick-off.

  14. CedarsDevil says:

    smartalex

    Trust me my good friend, over the years I have missed so many important occasions just because there was a United game on…… No occasion is more important as far as I am concerned

  15. Tgan says:

    The fact that we are pinning our hope on Clev says it all, this is just a kid. All of a sudden he is our saviour, when was that the case recently????. This lad has huge pressure on him as we can’t buy a quality player unless we sell first, look at the facts!!!!. We are playing rubbish and look wobbly at the back, grinding out games is not enough………………..buck up or we are on the slide!!!!!!

  16. smartalex says:

    I think it’s fair to say that Diouf should probably brush up on his turkish.
    Bebe has been sidelined, so there may be an opening for a loan deal.

    Macheda is an enigma. I still believe he will develop into a top player, I don’t think he should go out in January, and it would likely damage what confidence he still retains. If he did, I think he would need a continental manager in the Premiership.

  17. MrKirie says:

    For your information Smartalex, I’m in my 3rd year of med school and have 9 exams coming over the next two weeks. Let me tell you that those two hours were more valuable than anything right now, and I feel I have a right to be dissapointed in the showing yesterday. I know we fielded a young inexperienced team, I was just expecting more desire.

    And please, save the whole “not a real fan” bullshit. Congratulations, perhaps you were born in Manchester and therefore have the privledge of being able to follow United closely. Perhaps your rich enough to do so. I’m a student, and I can’t. I watch as many games as I can, I follow the league, so get off your high horse and accept that not all people have the time, money or ability to follow the team as close as you! Some people have lives, other than football.

  18. CedarsDevil says:

    MrKirie

    Went to my first match aged 10, at 15 I was allowed to go on my own, used to save all week, doing the odd job here and there to earn a few bob so that I can attend… My parents were not rich, far from it.

    Never in my life did I ever feel like it was money wasted, and trust me, we hardly won games back then

  19. WillieRedNut says:

    MrKirie – Read the RedNuts perspective @11.45

    It will relieve your ills mate.

  20. smartalex says:

    CedarsDevil, I had at best a terribly intermittent stream for the game, yet kept feeling thankful that I had some viewing, for I felt despair in your inability to watch. You didn’t whine, but it is sad, and I was grateful for my small mercies.

    These ingrates likely had a decent viewing. Yet they rue the time lost.

    And do you want to know the best part? The really gob-smacking best part?
    They consider themselves to be United fans. They forget that they are just acting, for reward.

  21. MrKirie says:

    I’m Norwegian and saving for the match tickets wouldn’t have been enough. Airfare, hotels etc. I just don’t think anyone is entitled to the supreme opinion on how to be a United fan. How many are there worldwide? I doubt everyone is as committed as you. Had I been born in Manchester, I would have done as you Cedars, but thats the luck of the draw.

  22. smartalex says:

    MrKirie – United is not a priority for you. I understand. To each, his own.

  23. Costas says:

    Actually I can come up with another example of how seriously United fans on twitter should be taken. What happened with Gibson last season. #Plastics.

    At the end of the day, smartalex summed it up best. Some fans are all about “gimme gimme”. A nice dose of following United during the 80s would be therapeutic for them.

  24. smartalex says:

    It’s not about HOW to be a United fan, it’s just about BEING a United fan.

  25. Costas says:

    @willie

    Diouf in particular didn’t look good at all. But then again, neither striker has played a lot this season. It was Macheda’s first start I believe. So I don’t get how quickly one could label them dead wood. Imo Hernandez didn’t play any better against Newcastle…

  26. MrKirie says:

    All very valid points Willie, and you’ll note that I never said the players were too poor for United because I know it was a young and “un-gelled” team. I was bemoaning the lack of desire. I didn’t see much

  27. WillieRedNut says:

    Being a United fan, isn’t exclusive to being from Manchester. Choose life. Choose love. Choose United!

    One love, one United.

  28. CedarsDevil says:

    MrKirie

    And I am Lebanese, was not born in Manchester, just lucky enough to have lived there for many years…. Since leaving Manchester I try to make a trip back every 2 years or so just to watch the lads and sing my heart out, and trust me it would cost me far more than you to get there….

    Never have I said that was money wasted, the mere pleasure of being at OT is worth every penny for me

  29. CedarsDevil says:

    Costas

    Make that the 70′s buddy, we were far worse then, furthermore we did not have a certain Robbo back then…

  30. Costas says:

    @Cedars

    True that. Even got relegated at one point. Nonetheless,fans shouldn’t necessarily have to live through those times just to appreciate our current predicament but I guess the team has spoiled us too much in recent years…

  31. CedarsDevil says:

    Costas

    I fully agree my friend, its not about which era you started following United, or what age you are its merely about knowing what true support is all about

  32. CedarsDevil says:

    MrKirie

    Good luck with your exams, hopefully soon we will have a resident doctor on RoM…. Trust me, I need one!

  33. Paul Parker says:

    smartalex says:
    Some self-anointed fans wouldn’t be prepared to carry a fridge up a few flights of stairs to help United,

    :lol: ^^^

    In hindsight, Palace were always going to score. I knew they went into the game without scoring in God knows how long so a Palace goal was always on the cards against a team with kids. You have to give Championship teams credit, especially their first teams (ffs)… having said that, I didn’t think Kiko or Diouf had a “bad game” per se. On the night we didn’t get a performance from any of our strikers, but I didn’t see anything that warrants a P45. Kiko’s been looking decidedly average for a while but last night was possibly his best performance I’ve seen in ages, which isn’t saying much! He needs to take a leaf from Welbeck’s book and start knuckling down imo. We’ve got young players who would LOVE a loan move ‘back home’ or a loan anywhere just so they can get games and come back. As for Diouf, apart from a silly throw in I can’t recall any mistakes from him? If anything he held up the ball well to compensate for our lack of real pressure, he wasn’t exactly inundated with passes, and tbf we didn’t batter the final third until we were 2-1 down facing ten defenders. If Diouf was missing the opportunities created by Giggs, Evra, Young, Nani and Valencia v Newcastle I’d understand the condemnation, but him, Kiko and Berbatov didn’t get enough delivery to warrant that imo.

    Also, im not one for talking down the League Cup. Just because its not the biggest competition doesn’t mean its not big. We kicked on after being knocked out last year so lets hope he same happens from today. I’d love to hit form against Villa this weekend, and then go on to batter Basel. City don’t concern me in the slightest either, because when we hit form later in the season we are a sight to behold and they’ll have to live with us then. Even Newcastle will have to fight off Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Personally I don’t think City are up for all that just yet, we are still two thirds of the way from the finish line after all. Lets just make sure we’re still in Europe in 2012 aye?

    Chin up lads. Laters.

  34. King Eric says:

    I never slate players as people will know but I was pretty fucking disgusted with last night. No leaders. No bollockings. Diouf brings fuck all to the table and kiko needs to go on loan or do summat. It was a horror show. Shit deep crosses to the back stick, slack defending, sloppy passing. Whats wrong with beating a man on the bye line and putting a cross low across face of goal for a tap in? The senior players should have grabbed that game but didnt. It turned to shit. Park at fucking full back, Pogba at centre half. The fucking twins injured again. Funnily enough for all the stick Gibbo got I think he did ok. Nowt wrong with him last night. Some of those lads need to have a good hard think and buck the fuck up. They are representing Manchester United.

    Anyway as I say never slate players but cannot help it. Regards Pogba as I have said he isnt ready for the first team yet. The one player that should be playing is Tunnicliffe. At least he puts a fucking foot in and bollocks players. Get him back Fergie!! All in good time. Think last night has given Fergie food for thought and some of those may struggle to play again.

    Anyway lets hope our first team regain their early season form. Will still win the league I reckon but I actually like the Carling Cup. Gutted.

  35. Rotegzy says:

    @ Smartalex 10:43
    There is a saying in my part of the world that when two brothers lock themselves up in a room and come out smiling, they went in to deceive themselves, however, when they come out wearing genuine frowns on their faces, they’ve talked some senses into themselves. One, two, three or four poor performances will be judged as ‘outlier’, however persistent poor performances is a trend and unacceptable. This is home now buddy, no need to mince words, we are not doing well and we are beginning to accept mediocrity, this is not United standard. Saying it as it is does not amount to stabbing your own, we are in ROM, this is home and we just have to accept the truth. SIMPLE.

  36. marshawash says:

    Spot on Rotegzy, king Eric, MrKirie..etc
    Once u have an opinion or argument of some sort here on RoM, “some” are so quick to state that you aint a “true Red”, plastic fan etc
    Every1 is entitled to their own opinion…

  37. Fred says:

    A picture of us winning the European Cup in 2008? Haha WTF? :?

  38. WillieRedNut says:

    Bleeding hearts club? ;) King Eric shouldn’t be on that list either.

  39. Paul Parker says:

    @Rotegzy – yeah but, no but, this is our best start to a campaign in ages is it not? Surely its too early to say “we’re accepting mediocracy” – its December 1st FFS!

    Also, if United did ever slip into mediocracy, what exactly would you do about it? In good times or bad, you either back your team or you don’t. Thats how I see it anyway, come what may.

    Not sure what you mean, but when people say the Club is falling behind they usually mean “transfer windows” and “new signings”. Thing is pal our success wasn’t built on big blockbuster transfers alone, it was built on clever signings like Solskjaer, Ronaldo and Hernandez, and by developing talent like Giggs, Scholes, and Welbeck. Let other teams piss money up the wall, thats not the United way. When we’ve gone 2 years without winning anything I’ll understand the impatience of some, but its only been 4 months and we haven’t even got to the January window yet FFS! Come on?

    Imo we’ve gotta take the rough with the smooth. But to say Alex is allowing mediocracy at our Club is fucking laughable. We’re talking about the man who set and maintained the bar that every the manager in club football wants to reach. We are constantly evolving, and we are literally in the best hands possible. What more can the faithful ask for? 50 million on Torres? I’d rather get 5 more like Hernandez and Smalling tbh.

  40. Costas says:

    Yeah, King Eric is the chief United player abuser. He led the campaign that drove Gibson away from twitter and he was among those booing Berbatov at Ewood Park 2 years ago. :lol:

    Anyway. KE’s opinion will always be respected in here because he doesn’t slam players on a regular basis. Unlike some others.

  41. rohan19 says:

    wow.. first few posts define over-reaction.
    @GAZZARO:our squad is good enough. going by your logic should we have cleared out our squad last year after we lost to west ham?? well if we had we wouldn’t be 19 time champions. so much for knee jerks reactions

    fact of the matter is we’re in transition.. i hope few on here remember the last transition years?
    getting knocked out of champs league after finishing 4th in the group. being hailed as a team thats past it. .
    we did rebuild right? and did that quite well i think
    this time we rebuild around a core group of english players.
    clev tunnicliffe morrison jones smalling young rooney welbeck.. thats three future stars and 4 current internationals..
    really some of the drivel on here is crazy.
    peace out people have a beer and calm down. every season has ups and downs..

  42. rohan19 says:

    well i meant to say 5 internationals and 3 future stars

  43. CedarsDevil says:

    So I take it that King Eric is no longer part of the ‘clique’ ? Hahaha

    What a bunch of morons

  44. King Eric says:

    Costas – Ha. Cheers mate!!

  45. Ndech...nairobi says:

    Pliz guys we all feel disapointed by the resault, to be honest we are tempted to give fergie the hair drier..BUT the end justifies the means..i am of the opinion that some players are nt to the standards of united but am sure the gaffer has realised that and must do something….lets come down and support our true love…united

  46. James21 says:

    Couldn’t Scott have airbrushed that Ugly Troll cunt Teves out of the Picture at the top of the Blog.

  47. smartalex says:

    marshawash says that “Every1 is entitled to their own opinion…”

    If that is taken to be true, then:
    - when that opinion is publicly expressed, ‘Every1′ is entitled to judge it.
    - when that opinion on RoM slates United, our players and Sir Alex, it will be criticised.
    - when that opinion reveals the truth that the poster is not a fan, but a selfish ingrate; the poster has outed himself. His opinion reveals the unfortunate truth that glory hunters abound.

  48. WillieRedNut says:

    Call me a fuddy duddy, but every1? This is a blog, not fucking FB, or twitter! I can’t take someone serious, who posts like that, sorry.

  49. smartalex says:

    FuddyRedDude – you’re a nut, Willie!

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