‘Deep-rooted problems’: Mark Lawrenson predicts Aston Villa v Man United
BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson is predicting that Aston Villa will edge to a 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Saturday evening
Mark Lawrenson is predicting that Aston Villa will edge to a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Villa Park on Saturday evening.
The Villains will be looking to exact revenge for their FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford last week after Scott McTominay scored an eighth-minute winner in the third-round tie.
Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Villa in the FA Cup had a touch of fortune after Danny Ings had a second-half equaliser controversially ruled out following a long consultation with VAR.
The Red Devils have struggled to improve their performance level under interim head coach Ralf Rangnick despite a slight upturn in results over the past couple of months.
Aston Villa are looking to complete the league double over Manchester United for the first time in 74 years after their 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League earlier this season.
Steven Gerrard’s side have suffered defeats by Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Manchester City since the former Rangers boss replaced Dean Smith at Villa Park.
But the ex-Liverpool FC captain will want to see a response from his Villa side following successive losses to Brentford and Manchester United.
BBC Sport pundit Lawrenson is backing Aston Villa to beat Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.
“Aston Villa were hard done by when they lost at Manchester United in the FA Cup on Monday night, and I reckon they will reverse that result at Villa Park,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.
“New Villa midfielder Philippe Coutinho will be available, but I don’t know whether he will start because he has not played many minutes recently. He’ll probably be on the bench and if they need a lift – and a trick or two – they can bring him on.
“It is United who have got more problems at the moment, though. I really thought we would see an improvement under Ralf Rangnick.
“Their results haven’t been that bad, other than their loss to Wolves at the start of the year, but their performances have mostly been poor and there are obviously some deep-rooted problems inside the club that need to be sorted out.”
Villa have lost 10 of their last 14 games in all competitions despite Gerrard’s appointment.
Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League after a 1-0 loss to Wolves on 3 January.
The Red Devils haven’t lost to Aston Villa at Villa Park in 22 games.
Rangnick confirmed ahead of the trip to Villa Park that Harry Maguire would continue as his captain.
“Right now I don’t see a reason to change that role,” Rangnick told his pre-match media conference.
“Harry has been the captain and as long as he is playing he will continue to do so.
“If he is not playing Cristiano, will obviously step in but this can change from game to game.
“As I said before, it’s all dependent on who is playing and who is not.”