Manchester United are preparing for more action, but this time, a new competition starts. The FA Cup third round matches are upon us and the Red Devils will be hosting Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Monday night. Ralf Rangnick’s side will be looking to make a strong start in this historic competition, as it has the only realistic opportunity for the team to actually win some silverware this season. That will be far from an easy task, but the Red Devils should start with making the first step in that potential run. Here is everything you need to know ahead of this clash.
Man United will be without at least three players for this match. Paul Pogba is still getting back from injury and is not ready, while his compatriot Anthony Martial will not be in contention due to his uncertain future at the club, as he has been vocal about wanting to leave in the January transfer window. Eric Bailly left for Africa Cup of Nations to play for Ivory Coast, but there might be another ommission. Harry Maguire is having problems with another injury and he might not play against Aston Villa.
As for our opposition this time around, they will have a very interesting situation. Phillippe Coutinho joined them from Barcelona and this match might be too early for him to play for Steven Gerrard’s team. But he could be in the starting lineup for the next match between the two sides, coming right fter this one. As for others, Leon Bailey and Marvelous Nakamba will not feature, while former Man United player Ashley Young could miss out as he is a doubt for the game. Villa are also without Bertrand Traore and Trezeguet due to Africa Cup of Nations.
Manchester United’s form has been far from ideal. They have won just two games from their last five and during the run that had seen them face Young Boys, Norwich, Newcastle, Burnley and Wolves. That is certainly not good enough for Ralf Rangnick’s side, who have been failing to make some big improvements in display in the recent weeks. The 1-0 loss to Wolves at home especially proved sobering, as the visitors knew exactly what to do in order to get the most out of the limitations of United’s display.
Aston Villa have not been so much better in terms of winning the points recently, but they have had a drastically tougher schedule. After their consecutive wins in late November against Brighton and Crystal Palace, they have two wins and four losses. But only the loss at Brentford was unexpected, as the other three came at the hands of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea, three of the clearly best teams in England. Their FA Cup campaign starts at Old Trafford and they will try to finally make surprise against a stronger opposition.
We predict Manchester United will edge Villa out 1-0, as Ralf Rangnick will make some changes to the starting lineup. Villa’s recent issues mixed with their selection problems will give them enough problems at Old Trafford, while United will be expected to make a strong start following their poor performance against Wolves.