Aston Villa haven’t won against Manchester United since 2009, but pundits are split on what they predict the outcome will be at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.
Former Aston Villa player Paul Merson has backed his former club to pick up a positive result on Saturday against Manchester United.
The sides return to Premier League action looking to get back to winning ways after both exiting the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Dean Smith ‘s side were edged out on penalties by Chelsea, while Man United suffered a shock at home to West Ham United after a solitary goal from Manuel Lanzini was enough for the Hammers to progress at their expense.
Whether a second claret and blue club can triumph at Old Trafford in the space of four days remains to be seen, with pundits far from writing off Villa, despite their injury issues.
Merson has backed his former club to belatedly pick up their first away point of the season this weekend and believes a good start will be key to taking home a result.
“Aston Villa played well against Chelsea in the first half and should have been in front,” Merson told sportskeeda, “but they failed to put away their chances.”
“If they start like that against Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co could be in trouble! “I’ve seen enough this season to think that Villa can cause a few problems, so I think this game will finish 1-1.
“Manchester United always hope for Cristiano Ronaldo to come to the party, but the rest of the team needs to show up in the weeks ahead. “They know they can’t keep riding their luck, so this will be an interesting game.”
Michael Owen is less confident about Villa’s ability to secure a result, despite lauding their performance against Everton.
“That was a thrilling second-half performance from Villa last week against Everton, he told BetVictor.
“I fancy United here though. They’ve got a remarkable record against Villa and haven’t lost to them since 2009. “I’d expect a straightforward win, could Ronaldo score again?”
BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson was less assured in his prediction but still expects Smith’s side to fall again on their travels.
“Manchester United are still not quite right for me,” he told BBC Sport ‘s Chris Bevan. “They are going to win a load of games this season, but there will be times where they unexpectedly come unstuck.
“The big question for me is can United win without playing well? “Aston Villa beat Everton comfortably last time out and, before that, they showed against Chelsea how they can make life difficult for the top sides.
“United should still win this one, but it might not be straightforward.”