Aston Villa vs Manchester United has huge ramifications at both ends of the table. Football expert Ryan Elliott previews their clash.
Man Utd & Under 3.5 Goals
It’s pretty evident how big of a game this is.
Aston Villa’s plight got a whole lot more serious as Watford beat Norwich on Tuesday, and should Dean Smith’s men lose to Manchester United, they’ll be four points from safety with four tough games to play – and a less-than-impressive goal difference.
As for United, a victory takes them to within one point of Leicester and two of Chelsea, and the Red Devils won’t want to slip-up at Villa Park to squander this excellent opportunity.
If we’re playing this game on paper, it’s hard to see anything other than an away win. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been irresistible in recent weeks, scoring 11 goals in their last three league games, and you have to say they’re currently less likely to blow it than Leicester or Chelsea.
However, there is still cause for optimism at Villa. Though they’re winless since the lockdown, Villa have seemingly tightened up a the back—conceding just six goals in their five games back—although this has come at the expense of goals, which is ultimately where points are won.
Furthermore, their performance at Anfield last time out was really impressive. Villa can genuinely feel a little aggrieved they failed to get anything from the game, as they defended resolutely and countered with real purpose.
With all this in mind, Manchester United to win and under 3.5 goals looks a bet.
While United have been banging them in since the break, Villa have defended really well, and have never been far from nicking results, but as I mentioned, a real bluntness up front has been costing them. Despite United’s excellence, Villa may well turn this game into a bit of a slog.
Furthermore, their goal difference is currently inferior to Watford’s by four goals and better than Bournemouth’s by one, so Smith, like against Liverpool, will make sure his side avoid a hammering at the very least.
Mason Greenwood To Score
I also like Mason Greenwood scoring at any time at 15/8, which looks a decent price.
Greenwood has been a revelation this season—scoring eight Premier League goals, as well as five in the Europa League—and his performance against Bournemouth last time out, where he scored two great goals, felt like a real seminal moment.
With Villa likely to sit deep and make life difficult for United, it may take a moment of magic to prize open their defences. As Greenwood showed against Bournemouth, he can score goals out of nothing, with his right foot or his left, and that’s a huge weapon to have.
He looks a real player, and I’m backing him to find the net.