Aston Villa predicted XI v Manchester United: Ashley Young axed, Calum Chambers to return
Aston Villa stretched their stunning Premier League unbeaten run to ten games with a comfortable 1-0 win over Fulham at Villa Park on Tuesday [25 April].
Unai Emery’s side were looking to get back to winning ways on Tuesday having dropped points away at Brentford last weekend, and they were able to do just that with a fairly routine victory over a Fulham side lacking a potent force capable of troubling the Villa defence.
Tyrone Mings found the back of the net after 21 minutes with a perfectly-placed header from John McGinn’s stunning cross in what was a totally dominant first-half performance.
The in-form Ollie Watkins looked a constant threat throughout and came close with a couple of efforts but Mings’ goal was enough to seal another vital three points.
The result means Aston Villa have now picked up the most wins (13) and the second-most points (42) of any Premier League side since Emery’s arrival in November – where they sat just a few points from the bottom.
As the Villans look to continue their stunning upward trajectory under the Spaniard against Erik ten Hag’s side on Sunday [30 April], we anticipate that the former Villarreal coach could make just one alteration to his team for their travels to Old Trafford and that should come at full-back.
Veteran defender Ashley Young has struggled over the past couple of fixtures, proving at fault for Brentford’s opener in their last away day and again failed to make an impression against Fulham, losing possession of the ball a whopping 14 times, committing two fouls and winning just three of his total duels [SofaScore].
Young was also widely seen to be at fault for Ivan Toney’s goal for Brentford at the weekend when he failed to mark the Bees striker closely despite being told to by Leander Dendoncker.
Emery will be desperate for defensive solidity once again and could bring centre-back Calum Chambers to fill in Young’s place at right-back along with Ezri Konsa who was superb once again alongside Mings and Alex Moreno on Tuesday.
The ever-consistent Douglas Luiz has proven a shining light throughout the campaign under Emery’s management and he was at his brilliant best again on Tuesday, winning five of his six ground duels, and successfully completing 84% of his passes [SofaScore] and should form the heart of the midfield alongside Leandro Dendoncker.
The attacking positions should pick itself, with Emery lacking alternative options on the bench aside from the returning Bertrand Traore and the inexperienced Jhon Duran, with Leon Bailey and Philippe Coutinho not likely to return to action before the end of the campaign, according to injury expert Ben Dinnery.
McGinn was fabulous once again playing an unfamiliar position and has emerged as one of Emery’s MVPs in recent weeks. As per Sofascore, the former Hearts midfielder would earn an impressive 7.6/10 rating for his performance on Tuesday, which was the best of any player to feature in the game from both sides.
As well as notching the assist, the 28-year-old managed an impressive three key passes, completing 16/18 on the night with a solid success rate of 89% and also registering 11 final third passes. If Villa are to pull off another masterclass at Old Trafford, McGinn will be central to their chances.
The Scottish international should fill in on the right side of midfield once again, alongside Emiliano Buendia in the no.10 position.
The Argentinian maestro was awful against Fulham, picking up the worst average rating of any player to feature at Aston Villa Park on Tuesday at a dreadful 5.6/10, winning just five of his 20 duels and losing possession 15 times [SofaScore].
However, because of Emery’s lack of alternatives, Buendia should start on Sunday with Jacob Ramsey filling in on the left side of midfield.
Watkins should be handed another chance to regain his purple patch this weekend and there may be no better platform to kick it off again after two blanks than at Old Trafford.
In other Aston Villa news, this “outstanding” outfielder is expected to quit the club for good in the summer transfer window.