Manchester United return to Premier League action against Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon after the International break. Manchester United will be looking to build on the four successive wins in the Premier League after the 2-1 defeat to Swansea City. The recent results has seen Manchester United consolidate their place in the top four of the Premier League and opened up a six point gap between themselves and rivals Liverpool. The last two victories have been significant in this with a 3-0 victory over Tottenham and last time out beating Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. It wasn’t just the victories in these games but the performances that United put in to win these games was impressive. Going into these games a lot of pundits within the media were backing against Manchester United.
One of the pivotal factors in Manchester United’s recent form has been the return to fitness of Michael Carrick, Carrick is finally getting the recognition he has deserved for a long time. Michael Carrick is a player a lot of fans, both of Manchester United and England won’t fully appreciate until he is not there anymore. Carrick suffered a ruptured muscle at the end of January and returned as an unused substitute in the first of the four recent victories against Sunderland. He then made an appearance from the bench away at Newcastle and started the games against Tottenham and Liverpool. He has returned at the heart of the United’s midfield as the most defensive player in the midfield. He offers so much to the team, he shields his defence superbly and is always looking to pass the ball forward.
After starting the last two games with the same line-up, surely Louis Van Gaal with opt for the same starting eleven barring any injuries. In these last two games we have seen combinations developing all over the pitch. Down the left hand side, Daley Blind has looked more comfortable at left-back than he did in the midfield. He has developed a good relationship with Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini down that side. While down the right side we have seen Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are combining just as well down the right hand side of the pitch. On both sides United are overloading their opponents in their full back areas.
Despite struggling this season, Aston Villa will not come to Old Trafford and roll over. This could actually turn out to be a tougher game for United than those against Tottenham and Liverpool. In those games both Tottenham and Liverpool were looking to attack United. While Aston Villa will be happy to sit back, invite United onto them and then look to break on United especially with the pace they have in Agbonlahor, Weinmann and Sinclair. The appointment of Tim Sherwood at Villa Park at Villa Park has seen a slight upturn in their fortunes. With Premier League wins against West Brom and Sunderland, he has also guided Villa to the Fa Cup semi-finals.
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