‘I’m worried’: Paul Merson predicts Aston Villa v Man United

Paul Merson is tipping Aston Villa to ease to a commanding 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday evening

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson is predicting that Aston Villa will notch up a resounding 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday evening.

Steven Gerrard’s men will have a point to prove after losing 1-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup third round on Monday night.

Danny Ings had an equaliser controversially ruled out of offside in the second half in a decision that was roundly criticised by BBC Sport‘s pundits during their live coverage of the cup tie.

Aston Villa will be buoyed by the signing of FC Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho and Everton full-back Lucas Digne to bolster Gerrard’s squad ahead of the visit of Manchester United.

Manchester United have continued to underwhelm in all competitions despite dismissing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appointing Ralf Rangnick as their interim head coach.

The Red Devils have won five of their last eight games but the 20-time English champions have struggled to turn a corner under their new German boss.

Manchester United were fortunate to scrape into the FA Cup fourth round after Villa produced an excellent performance at Old Trafford last week.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson reckons Villa will exact revenge for their FA Cup setback and ease to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday evening.

“Manchester United are currently all over the place and I called this a long time ago,” Merson told Sportskeeda.

“I know they’ve won a few games under Ralf Rangnick but their performances have been terrible, so I don’t see them beating Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend.

“Villa are 14th in the table but I can’t see Manchester United winning – that tells you everything you need to know.

“A good team always beats a bunch of individuals, and that’s what Manchester United are at the moment – a bunch of individuals.

“Look at their last two Premier League away games – a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to beat Norwich City and a draw against Newcastle!

“As for the recently concluded FA Cup tie, Villa were much better in that game despite losing and I expect them to take Manchester United to the cleaners this time around.

“I’m worried for Manchester United, I really am and it’ll be unbelievable if they secure a top-four finish. There’s been lots said about them, particularly about Cristiano Ronaldo, but I still think he should still start.

“He didn’t play in the FA Cup and they weren’t any better. Manchester United don’t create too many chances and Ronaldo is one of the best finishers in world football, so they need him on the pitch to score goals.

“As for Marcus Rashford, people seem to forget that he’s still a young kid because he’s played a lot of football. Inconsistency is always a problem with youngsters, so I’d give him a bit more time to prove his worth.”

Aston Villa have lost four of their last five games in all competitions, including losses to Manchester United, Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC.

However, Gerrard has won all of his games against the lesser teams in the top flight apart from a surprise defeat by Brentford.

Author’s Verdict

Manchester United still haven’t convinced under Rangnick, while Villa have a renewed sense of ambition and optimism since Gerrard took over the reins of the Villa Park outfit.

The Birmingham side will be hoping to finish in the top half of the table following the additions of Coutinho and Digne – and beating Manchester United will be the perfect momentum builder.

A Saturday night clash at Villa Park represents a difficult assignment for Manchester United and it’s hard to see past Gerrard masterminding a win against the auld enemy.

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