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Aston Villa v Man United
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Aston Villa resume their pursuit of a top four finish in the Premier League as they host Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
The Villans got their quest for Champions League qualification truly back on track with a thumping 5-0 of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane last Saturday, lifting the West Midlands hosts up into fourth spot. However, the Villans have since slumped to a deflating 3-1 defeat v Chelsea in the FA Cup in midweek. And, they know they cannot afford another defeat on Sunday with the likes of Tottenham breathing down their necks with just two points separating them.
The Red Devils have embarked on a mini-revival of sorts in recent weeks, having won their last three matches in all competitions. As such, United have moved to within eight points of the top four, and we all know how much drama can unravel in the run towards the end of the season.
Aston Villa v Man United Cheat Sheet
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🥅 Goals stats: A fixture that regularly brings goals
Speaking of action at Villa Park, we know one thing that’s been consistent when big games go down here and that is goals. Eight of the last 11 home outings for Villa have produced three goals or more, in which Villa scored 28 goals – a force to be reckoned with at home.
The Villans’ games have been known for goals this season, with both teams scoring and over 2.5 goals landing in 70% of their league matches. Aston Villa have also shown their vulnerability in defence, as they’re without a clean sheet at home since the start of December – a worrying feat when facing a Man Utd side that have scored 11 goals over their last three games.
Man Utd have just one clean sheet in their last seven games across all competitions, but have scored at least twice in six of their last seven matches. The goals markets certainly look the strongest option here. Five of the last six meetings have resulted in both teams scoring with a minimum of four goals being scored in four of their last five meetings, so there’s a strong history of goals in this clash.
There have been at least three goals in 61% of Man Utd’s league games this season, and considering their Sunday hosts desire to bombard their opponents with pressure, we should expect another goal-fest.
⚽ Both teams to score @ 1.44
⚽ Over 2.5 goals @ 1.50
⚽ Over 3.5 goals @ 2.25
🎯 Shooting stats: Watkins to cause more danger again
Ollie Watkins was nothing short of superb during Aston Villa’s last Premier League outing, which saw them claim a 5-0 victory over rock bottom Sheffield United. Watkins picked up a very impressive hat-trick of assists and a goal which sees him reach double digits for both goals and assists this season.
Watkins has now racked up 11 goals and 10 assists in the league, meaning only Mohamed Salah is ahead of him for goal involvements this season. With Euro 2024 rapidly approaching he needs to keep up this electric form, especially in the big fixtures, if hoping to get on the plane to Germany in the summer. He is averaging a very impressive 0.93 xG+A per 90 this season, and he’s back in goalscoring form having netted in his last two league outings.
The Englishman has been having great success in creating chances to score as he averages 3.02 shots per 90 this season, and 1.25 shots on target per 90. He has hit the target in each of his last five matches and has only failed to hit the target in three league games this term – Mr Reliable.
Manchester United are having some joy in front of goal of late, and that is no surprise considering how many shots they’re having. The Red Devils are averaging 14 shots per 90 this season and have managed to record 12+ shots in all of their last eight fixtures across all competitions.
This has been especially clear away from home, with Man Utd registering 87 shots across their last five games in all competitions, including their games against Wigan and Newport. Albeit they were expected to have slightly more efforts at goal in those matchups, but this has translated reasonably well into their league performances. Aston Villa conceded 15 shots in both their defeats to Chelsea and Newcastle, so there’s certainly a vulnerability there at the moment that Man Utd can capitalise on.
⚽ Ollie Watkins to have 1+ shots on target @ 1.33
⚽ Ollie Watkins to score or assist @ 1.91
⚽ Man United to have 12+ shots @ 1.57
⚽ Man United to have 13+ shots @ 1.91
🛑 Fouls stats: A tight contest in midfield
Aston Villa skipper John McGinn is sure to be in the thick of the midfield battle on Sunday and he is one of the key candidates to get on the wrong side of the referee.
The Villa powerhouse is averaging 1.38 fouls per game in the Premier League this season, committing at least one foul in seven of his last 10 top-flight appearances, which extends out to 11 across his last 14 games in all competitions.
The Scotsman committed two fouls against Chelsea midweek, and three during their defeat to Newcastle at Villa Park last week. In fact, McGinn has committed three fouls in four of his last five games on home soil, and with such a hotly contested midfield battle here once again, we expect him to give away a couple of fouls at least.
Shifting the attention to the Manchester United engine room, Casemiro looks to be a strong candidate to clock up some fouls in this contest. The Brazilian’s fouls per game average currently sits at 1.56 and this trend looks likely to continue in the West Midlands.
He’s committed seven fouls in the three games since his return and the Brazilian has racked up three fouls in three of his last five Premier League appearances, so siding with Casemiro to commit 2+ fouls on Sunday looks great value.
Facing up against the likes of John McGinn, Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz who draw 1.84, 1.65 and 1.20 fouls per 90, Casemiro could really have his hands full.
⚽ John McGinn to commit 1+ fouls @ 1.25
⚽ John McGinn to commit 2+ fouls @ 2.25
⚽ Casemiro to commit 2+ fouls @ 1.67
🟨 Cards stats: A busy afternoon in store for Rob Jones
Both teams have shown their poor disciplinary records so far this season, with Aston Villa boasting the third worst in the league, collecting 63 total yellows in comparison to seventh spot Man Utd, who trail by only nine yellows with 54.
The hosts have been vicious with their collection of yellows in recent games, receiving a whopping 26 yellows across their last 8 Premier League fixtures, racking up at least 3 yellows in all but one of those matchups. This recent form makes their 2.74 cards per 90 seem almost tame.
Man Utd have picked up 19 cards across their last six games on the road. Villa have drawn an average of 12.70 fouls per 90 so far this season, with quick feet dotted all across this side.
Both sides have really shown their tendency to rack up the cards, and the markets suggest the away side will be the more ruthless on Sunday.
⚽ Over 4.5 total cards @ 1.44
⚽ Aston Villa to receive the most cards @ 3.0
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets.
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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