Manchester United begin their run of four matches in eight days against Aston Villa on Sunday, and Jake Pearson thinks United's unbeaten away record could be under threat.
1pt Aston Villa to win at 7/2 (General)
Manchester United need just four points from their five remaining fixtures to guarantee a place in this season’s top four, and though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like to get that nailed down as soon as possible, focus must now surely be on the Europa League final for the Red Devils.
Despite losing 3-2 away in Rome on Thursday evening, Manchester United progressed through to the final of the competition they won in 2017 thanks to their 6-2 victory in the first leg last week.
The result will be a huge weight off the shoulders of Solskjaer, who finally broke his semi-final hoodoo at the fifth attempt.
It means Solskjaer will be keen to rest as many players as possible, something that has become increasingly important after United's postponed fixture against Liverpool was rescheduled for Thursday, May 13, meaning Solskjaer's men will now play four times in eight days.
What that also means is, despite the absence of Jack Grealish, Aston Villa have a real chance of claiming a famous scalp here.
Grealish was ruled out of this fixture by manager Dean Smith, but the England playmaker will reportedly start training with his teammates again this weekend, and while there is clearly an overreliance on Grealish, Villa do seem to be coming to terms with playing without their skipper.
After scoring just four times in the first six games of his absence, Villa have now found the net seven times in their last five.
Defensively, Villa have been much better this season, conceding an average of 1.15 goals per game, as opposed to the 1.76 they conceded last season, and in fact, Villa have kept 14 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, second only to Manchester City and Chelsea.
Villa's 2-1 victory over Everton last week will give them plenty of confidence heading into this fixture, and Manchester United will need to be wary, particularly if a little complacency begins to set in among Solskjaer's ranks.
A lot has been made of Manchester United’s away record this season, and rightly so, the Red Devils are still unbeaten on their travels in the Premier League, but they have failed to win seven of their last 10 matches away from Old Trafford, and with a potentially weakened starting XI, that unbeaten record could come under serious pressure against Aston Villa.
United have two away games remaining this season, here and at Wolves, but with alternate engagements likely to take priority, their unbeaten record does look under threat.
A price of 7/2 for an ASTON VILLA WIN looks to represent a slight edge in terms of value, particularly considering Solskjaer’s selection dilemma, so that is the recommended bet in this fixture.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 1-0 Man United (Sky Bet odds: 12/1)
Odds correct 1600 BST (07/05/21)
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