Manchester United will be desperate to end their four-match winless run in the Premier League on Sunday when they travel to Villa Park.
Home manager Paul Lambert will himself be hoping for a response after the poor showing at Fulham last time out, where they were comprehensively outplayed. If anything, it was a result which summed up Villa’s inconsistency so far this season, with their smash and grab raid at Southampton their only convincing performance since the international break.
However, in that time, Villa have picked up more points than Man Utd, who are falling a long way behind the leaders, with Arsenal having opened up a 13 point gap ahead of the reigning champions. They earned a much-needed victory in the Champions League in midweek, though unconvincing, and manager David Moyes must surely be mystified as to their failure to carry their European form into the Premier League.
With this being a very important sequence of games after an unprecedented two home defeats on the spin, the news that Robin van Persie will be out for eight weeks comes as a major blow for Moyes, although he does at least have Wayne Rooney back from suspension. Midfield duo Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini are both sidelined.
Meanwhile Aston Villa will be without the suspended Fabian Delph, who picked up his fifth booking of the season at Craven Cottage. Ron Vlaar is a major doubt, but Libor Kozak and Antonio Luna could return.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston