The Reds have made an unbeaten start to 2024, in all competitions, and defeated Unai Emery’s side 3-2 on Boxing Day at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, Newcastle United ended Villa’s outstanding 17-match streak without losing on home turf, with the 3-1 result on 30 January ensuring a first loss since being overcome by Arsenal a year ago.
Erik ten Hag’s men can cut the gap on our opponents to five points with victory, after succeeding in overtaking West Ham United last time out, with an excellent 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Villa will be tough nuts to crack as manager Emery bids to become the first man ever to beat United in his opening three Premier League home games against the Reds, following his previous exploits with Arsenal and the 3-1 win at Villa Park last term.
The Midlanders have won each of their last seven home league games on a Sunday, scoring 23 goals in the process, and bounced back from the Newcastle defeat to hammer Sheffield United at the weekend.
However, their overall record against the Reds is not good - we have won 17 of our 28 away games at Villa Park and it has often been a happy hunting ground in the past for the club.
The cup clash with Chelsea will provide midweek distractions but they look in good form again, with top scorer Ollie Watkins an obvious danger man and the players perfectly implementing Unai’s strategy and system.
United ended a poor run on the road in the league (one point from four games) with the 4-3 victory at Wolves, however Ten Hag’s men have also overcome away hurdles at Wigan Athletic and Newport County in the FA Cup.
We have started to click going forwards, scoring 13 goals in our last five league games, with Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho netting four apiece, and fellow forward Marcus Rashford contributing three.
It has been well documented that United need a statement win away to a leading team - we have not won at a side starting the day in the top eight since defeating Spurs in October 2021, so hopefully that stat can be put to bed this weekend.
Villa were on red-hot form before surrendering a two-goal lead and coming a cropper at Old Trafford - since then, they have had a goalless draw at Everton, a narrow home win over Burnley and the comprehensive win at Sheffield United. The other result, the 3-1 loss to Newcastle, does seem an outlier, but maybe the Magpies are something of a bogey team as the result on the opening weekend was 5-1 to Eddie Howe’s men at St James’ Park.
Lisandro Martinez’s knee injury will keep him out for at least eight weeks, a major blow to the Reds, but Ten Hag has made it clear he has other options to play in the middle of the defence.
Raphael Varane came off the bench against West Ham to partner Harry Maguire, while Victor Lindelof made his first appearance since undergoing a groin operation. Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be pushing for a return after injury.
Sofyan Amrabat returned to the squad, after Africa Cup of Nations duty, but Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial are all absent.
Villa play Chelsea in a home Emirates FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday night, when Ezra Konsa could join fellow defender Tyrone Mings on the sidelines, after being hurt in the 5-0 away win at Sheffield United.
Douglas Luiz was withdrawn at half-time at Bramall Lane, due to feeling ill, while Pau Torres could be available.
Premier League schedule
It’s a 4:30 PM kickoff in the UK, which means 11:30 AM on the east coast of the U.S.
Premier League channel
Sky Sports Premier League in the UK. Those Stateside can watch on USA or NBC streaming. If you’re in Canada, you can stream the game through FuboTV.
Everyone else, head on over to LiveSoccerTV to find your viewing options.
Manchester United possible starting lineup: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Mainoo, McTominay; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund