Van Gaal Wary of Villa as Lambert Must Consider a Grealish Start

Aston Villa v Manchester United 2014/15

After a deflating derby day defeat it’s hard to see us getting anything against United, who always seem to beat us. Despite this, van Gaal’s men are still dodgy defensively and are nowhere near past Fergie heights…

Lambert on United

“They might not be able to lose many more games if they are going to win the title but they’re certainly in with a shout.

“It is still a brilliant club with great players.

“The players they have brought in, there’s not many teams in world football who can do that. They’re a really good side.”

van Gaal on Villa

“When you see their last matches, they haven’t lost so much. They draw, they win, and when they lose it’s always with a one goal difference.

“It shall be very difficult and that’s the Premier League. ”

Form is Temporary

Aston Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1 , D 1, L 3

Manchester United – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2

Villa have lost three of the last five clashes with United at Villa Park.

One to Watch

Robin Van Persie – The striker has been in excellent form recently and could cause problems for compatriot Vlaar, especially as he has scored five goals in his last five league games against Villa.

Memory Match

15th December 2013 Aston Villa 0 Manchester United 3

Despite giving United a fright in Lambert’s first season (when we surrendered a 2-0 lead) there was little in the way of competitiveness in this match as we were comfortably beaten by Moyes’ team.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

The loss against the Baggies was frustrating. After playing quite well in the weeks before, there’s a worrying chance that confidence might have been knocked. This season we’ve disappointed against the teams higher up in the league and it’s likely that United will be no exception.

We’ve only won once of the last 37 Premier League encounters with United.  While it might have looked like United were there for the taking earlier in the season, they have turned their form around, and have won more points from their last six games than any other side.

Absences in the defensive department including Alan Hutton, could be very costly for Villa, especially given the amount of goals that we tend to concede in this fixture. We’ve shipped at least three goals in each of the last five Premier League games against United, who have di Maria returning for this game.  We have, of course, beat United at home before – but the last time was in 1995!

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Whatever the circumstances it’s always nice to see players who have progressed from the academy playing for the first team. The introduction of Grealish to the team in recent months has been a rare highlight for Villa fans, and if reports are to be believed, Henry Cowans and Riccardo Calder could be on the bench as Lambert makes up for key absentees. Jonathan Hogg once received a baptism of fire under Houllier, while these two probably won’t, lets hope Grealish gets the nod to start.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Four points in our last two home games against Southampton and Leicester is a decent return, and it might at least mean the atmosphere improves at Villa Park. With United on such a good run they will probably expect a comfortable away win in B6, but this could prove to be their undoing.

We’ve got important players missing this match but we also have Delph and Vlaar available. Look back at the corresponding match in the 2012/13 season and you’ll see we have the players to cause problems against United.

David de Gea’s excellent form has spared the blushes of United, who seem to have picked up three points even when not playing particularly well, but surely this has to change at some point. We’ve played reasonably well in the last couple of games, and what better early Christmas present for Villa fans than a first home win against United in nearly 20 years? UTV.

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