Manchester United's run to continue at Villa Park
Aston Villa host Manchester United on Thursday with the Villans running out of time to save themselves against the drop. Can they get anything against an improving Red Devils? Have a read of our preview here:
Dean Smith’s future in some doubt
Dean Smith was recently given the dreaded vote of confidence by the Villa owners, does this mean the writing is on the wall for the former Brentford boss? Possibly, but if he can keep them up then you’d expect it to be enough for him to keep his job.
Easier said than done though. Villa have Liverpool to play before hosting United on Thursday and they are on a run of eight games without a win, losing six in that run.
Bleak stuff indeed. The key players could still change their fate and Jack Grealish is a wonderful talent who is always being linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Despite Villa’s struggles, Grealish has directly contributed to 13 goals this season with seven strikes and six assists in 30 appearances.
Conor Hourihane and John McGinn are excellent midfielders while Tyrone Mings is a monster at the back. If Villa can stay up then they have a spine around which to build.
West Ham’s win against Chelsea was a big blow but the Hammers are not out of sight yet and Watford certainly aren’t. It only takes one win to move Aston Villa out of the relegation zone, however, this is unlikely to be the game in which they do it.
The Bruno Fernandes effect
We all know football is a game of fine margins and this has been put into stark focus by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes at Old Trafford.
He only one player in a squad of many, but his ability and impact have not only brought United some good results but it has also changed the mood and feel of the entire club.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job was the focus of much attention prior to lockdown but he appears to slowly be winning his detractors round and maybe he is the man to finally get United moving towards the pinnacle of English football again.
No one is fooling themselves, this side are still miles behind Liverpool and Manchester City but Fernandes has added something sorely missing to the United make-up.
In his eight appearances for the Red Devils, Bruno Fernandes has directly contributed to eight goals (five goals and three assists).
This has seen United go eight unbeaten in the Premier League at the time of writing and you’d expect them to make it nine against Bournemouth.
Anthony Martial has also been superb of late and he is the club’s joint-top scorer with 14 goals along with Sir Marcus Rashford (the knighthood is merely a formality). With Mason Greenwood waiting in the wings, this is a United squad that is taking shape nicely and they should have no problems at Villa Park.
Aston Villa v Manchester United betting tip
Villa have really struggled since returning to the pitch and survival is looking less and less likely. United, on the other hand, are improving and so we are backing Manchester United to win at odds of 1.35 with 888sport in this one.