Friday, February 23, 2024

Aston Villa v Manchester United: Premier League – live

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Key events

Last time out for both teams.

Oh dear, David Moyes. Very well played, Arsenal.

The top three streak away, leaving Villa chasing, and United chasing yet more for a European place.

All eyes on that United central midfield pairing of master and apprentice.

“I am happy he is back,” Ten Hag said of Casemiro. “For Kobbie, he can learn a lot from him. Kobbie is very coachable and Casemiro has so much experience, Kobbie will learn a lot from it and that will accelerate his development. I am happy to have him and when they play together they can benefit from each other.”

Asked if the two have a strong bond, Ten Hag said: “Absolutely, Casemiro takes that responsibility, he takes it to him, he’s talking to him. I see it in the dressing room, I see it on the pitch, on the training ground, in games. He is looking at his own game but he is looking to help and support Kobbie.”

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Just one Villa change, and that’s Youri Tielemans dropping out for Jacob Ramsey. For United, there’s no Lisandro Martinez after that knee injury last week and Raphael Varane comes back in.

Here are the teams

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Diego Carlos, Lenglet, Alex Moreno, Kamara, Douglas Luiz, Bailey, Ramsey, McGinn, Watkins. Subs: Tielemans, Digne, Torres, Diaby, Zaniolo, Olsen, Rogers, Kesler-Hayden, Iroegbunam.

Man Utd: Onana, Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw, Casemiro, Mainoo, Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund. Subs: Bayindir, Lindelof, Amrabat, Eriksen, Diallo, Antony, Evans, McTominay, Forson.

Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside)

Preamble

Manchester United are back, man. Or that’s how it’s felt the last few weeks, a semblance of calm descending, the wheels on the clown car actually turning. Of course, there’s been a few false dawns on the way, and the last of them was beating Villa 3-2 on Boxing Day but maybe with Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo and Rasmus Hojlund putting it together, Erik Ten Hag can create a decent legacy, whatever Big Sir Jim Ratcliffe has in mind for him at the end of the season. As for Villa, their amazing 2023 has not translated just yet into a good 2024. They’re still in touch with the top four though, and beating United would do damage to a rival for a top-four/five place. This could be a good one.

Kick-off at 4.30pm UK time. Join me.

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