Opposition View: The news from the Aston Villa camp ahead of visit to Old Trafford

Manchester United are back in Premier League action and take on an Aston Villa side who suffered the same fate in midweek, an exit from the Carabao Cup. To help get us up to speed on the Villains, we’ve sought the help of our sister website BirminghamWorld’s Ben Ramsdale to provide us the lowdown.
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What’s the feeling around Villa Park right now? Is Wednesday’s Cup defeat a missed opportunity for Cup glory or is preserving their Premier League status the main objective?

It’s still very positive. The biggest frustration comes from the injury to Leon Bailey whom it was revealed will be out until the next international break.

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Yes, it’s frustrating for many that they didn’t get to progress further in the cup but it ultimately came down to the lottery that is penalties so there can be no complaints about the performance itself.

That’s twice this season Villa have travelled to Stamford Bridge and played very well against the champions of Europe with two very different looking sides. That’s left most feeling a lot more positive than negative.

You have to go back to December 2009 for the last time Villa beat United in the league. Are Villa fearful when it comes to playing big teams like United?

Again, similar to above, if they can put in performances against Chelsea - why can’t they against Manchester United?

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United will pose a much different challenge to that of Chelsea but I don’t think this Villa side fear anyone - as they shouldn’t.

How will Villa approach this game do you think?

I’m expecting a similar set-up to that of the one from the league visit to Stamford Bridge.

They actually had more attempts both overall and on target than Chelsea that day. Yes they lost the game but they played with no fear and didn’t play conservative at any point.

I expect that same approach and with some better luck in front of goal, they may get better rewards on Saturday.

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Leon Bailey is out until the international break, how big of a blow is that going to be for the Villains?

There’s no sugar-coating it really. It’s a huge blow. The difference he made when he came on against Everton was massive. He lifted the entire crowd and there was a buzz every time he got on the ball.

Had he been fit I think he’d have given Wan-Bissaka hell on the left-wing. But, he isn’t, so it’s next man up and unlike previous years, there are options there for Dean Smith.

Axel Tuanzebe is unable to play, do you think Dean Smith will stick with a back three or revert to a back four?

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If we’re going off the game at Stamford Bridge like previously mentioned, he goes with a back three but Tuanzebe being unavailable could certainly affect that choice.

Kortney Hause played very well mid-week though so he may take up that third central role alongside Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.

Are there any other significant absentees for Saturday’s match?

Along with the Leon Bailey injury news there was also more negative news for Morgan Sanson who can’t seem to catch a break in a Villa shirt. He limped off in the first-half during the cup game in mid-week and it was confirmed that he has a hamstring strain which will likely keep him out a little longer than Bailey. Other than that, though, it should be a fully fit squad ready to go.

How do you think Villa will line up?

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(3-5-2): Martinez; Konsa, Mings, Hause, Cash, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey, Watkins, Ings.

Score prediction?

2-2. I’ll be brave and say Villa get a draw. I think United have too much fire power not to be able to grab a goal or two on the day but I also think Villa have a team full of confidence that fully believe they can get something from Old Trafford.

Make sure to follow Ben Ramsdale of Birmingham World on Twitter here.