“Let’s Surprise a Few People” says Eric Black with a Straight Face Ahead of Imminent Relegation

Manchester United vs Aston Villa 2016

When 3pm comes around, Villa could already be relegated, so it’s only fitting Saturday’s match pits us against a team we never seem to beat.

Eric Black has said he wants to ‘surprise’ a few people at the weekend, but in truth, any kind of respectable performance would be a shock to Villa fans.

With Man United chasing the Champions League, it could be yet another unpleasant afternoon for Villa fans. Let’s get it over with.

Van Gaal on Saturday’s clash

(With the Van Gaal sack race dominating the news as usual, nobody thought to ask his thoughts on Villa, it seems).

The players, also the manager and his staff, have been frustrated because we were not consistent this season.

“When you have to line up every week another team because of injuries, it is difficult to make a consistent team-building process.

“But still we are in the race for the first positions in the league and still we are in the FA Cup so I am very happy that we can do that.”

Eric Black on Man United

“Man United are Man United. I know people will say they are probably not the Man United of five years ago. But they a top, top football team.
“They went into a very hostile atmosphere and coped with it.
“Yes, there was a little flurry near the end for West Ham who gave it everything they had but Man United coped.
“They have a lot of good players and it’s a huge, huge task for us on Saturday.
“But I have to be honest – watching our players out there in training – I am relishing it.
“I am looking forward to getting there. Let’s surprise a few people.
“In the last 10 days the lads have been very good. They have applied themselves in training. I couldn’t fault them.”

United have lost just one of their last 40 Premier League matches against Villa

Memory Match

04 Apr 2015 Man United 3 Aston Villa 1 

Just over a year ago today, Benteke scored as Sherwood’s men suffered defeat at Old Trafford.

Man United – Last five matches at home: W 4, L 1

Villa – Last five matches away: D 1, L 4   

One to Watch

Wayne Rooney – The striker has scored 13 Premier League goals against Villa

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Isn’t it ironic? While Villa fans have grown frustrated by Black’s refusal to play Villa’s youth (aside from Lyden), van Gaal has been rewarded by the faith he showed in 19-year-old Marcus Rashford.

Black’s likelihood to stick with “experience” (ahem) will see more of the same at Old Trafford – a traditionally unhappy hunting ground for Villa.

Remarkably, United have lost just one of their last 40 Premier League matches against Villa, and despite the never-ending circus that surrounds van Gaal’s employment status, United’s form is very good at home.

They’ve won four of the last five games at Old Trafford, and kept clean sheets in 10 of their last 15 home matches. Against Villa’s toothless attack, there’s little to suggest United won’t keep another on Saturday.

We’ve won none of our last 15 league away games, and with relegation all but a certainty it will be interesting to see how the Villa players act in the face of that indignity.

Will the players be eager to impress future suitors, or will they play with the indifference that has characterised this season’s performances?
Fifty of United’s thousand Premier League goals at Old Trafford have been against Villa, which is (of course) the highest record against any opponent. It will be a busy day for Guzan or Bunn, if nothing else..

“In the last 10 days the lads have been very good. They have applied themselves in training. I couldn’t fault them.” – Eric black (HMMm)

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag (for the optimistic)

Ander Herrera, who scored twice against Villa last season, is set to miss this weekend’s match, and that’s where the good news ends.

After a season of bottling key moments, Villa’s 28 year stay in the Premier League will mathematically end this weekend, so there really is no point in winning.

Who’d have thought we’d lose to Norwich and Sunderland at the turn of the year? One thing Villa have been good at this season is repeatedly lowering the bar, so it’s frightening to think of what will go wrong next.

With literally nothing to play for, it’s possible that Villa will play without the nerves that have accompanied so many performances this season. It may seem like Black has been appointed to watch over as the ship sinks, but professional pride is at stake, so a win isn’t impossible. 

They didn’t show any signs of life against Bournemouth last week. Can Villa’s players give a better account of themselves on another team’s territory?

Probably not, but with several thousand fans giving them their undeserved backing, you’d like to think Villa will try.


Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


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