Manchester United v Aston Villa: Premier League – live | Premier League

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Key events

8 min: John Mcginn wins the first corner of the game for Villa. He takes it himself, sending the ball into the penalty area in front of the Stretford End. United clear at the near post.

7 min: It’s been a scrappy start, with plenty of throw-ins punctuating the play. The game has yet to find its rhythm and there have been no chances of any kind for either team so far.

5 min: The ball’s played from deep for Ollie Watkins to chase but the Villa striker fails to prevent it from going out for a goal-kick.

3 min: Manchester United throw-in, deep inside their own half. Aaron Wan-Bissaka takes it and Villa steal possession. Leon Bailey tries to send in a cross from the right but it’s blocked. The ball ends up in the clutches of Onana.

2 min: An early cross from the left into the VIlla box is headed onwards across the face of goal by Rasmus Hojlund. He’s immediately flagged for offside.

Manchester United v Aston Villa is go …

1 min: Manchester United get the ball rolling in the last of today’s Boxing Day fixtures. It’s played back to Andre Onana, who immediately boots it upfield.

Not long now: Led by their captains Bruno Fernandes and John McGinn, the players of both teams make their way out on to the Old Trafford sward. They line up either side of Craig Pawson and his team of match officials for the last of the pre-match formalities ahead of kick off, which is just a couple of minutes away.

David Brailsford, pictured here giving the players of Newcastle United’s a pre-season pep-talk, is in attendance at Old Trafford tonight on a reconaissance mission for his boss Jim Ratcliffe.
David Brailsford, pictured here giving the players of Newcastle United’s a pre-season pep-talk, is in attendance at Old Trafford tonight on a reconaissance mission for his boss Jim Ratcliffe. Photograph: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United/Getty Images

Erik ten Hag: “In every game, they have to step up,” said the Manchester United of his players in the buildd-up to this game. “I said the word two or three times now: the players have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility and the players have to take responsibility.

“Maybe in moments you expect from the seniors even more with young players around. But if you are good enough, you are also old enough. We have to do it together. It doesn’t matter what age it is. We have to put a team [out] who has to win the game.

“I am not disappointed by the attitude. But of course we know what the standard is at Manchester United and we have to win as a team. So I take the word responsibility. We have to take that as a team and every individual has to contribute 100% in that responsibility we have.”

Erik ten Hag has watched his Manchester United side lose 13 games in all competitions so far this season.
Erik ten Hag has watched his Manchester United side lose 13 games in all competitions so far this season. Photograph: Rob Newell/CameraSport/Getty Images

Unai Emery: While you were stuffing your face with mince pies and booze yesterday, the Grinchy Aston Villa boss and his players were concentrating on their final preparations for tonight’s match.

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“The main thing for me and the most important thing is to prepare the best as possible the match,” said Emery upon asked how he’d be spending Christmas Day. “I am going to enjoy Christmas after the match on Tuesday, or even after the match against Burnley because when we are playing matches, the most important thing is to prepare and try to focus.

“We are happy and I am proud of our work, but I want to finish on Tuesday trying to face Manchester United about being in this moment better than them in the table. They are contenders to be in the top seven or the top four more than us. This is a good match for how we can face them, how we are with them until the day 19 how we are facing the teams we are competing with to be there.”

All Aston Villa manager Unai Emery wants for Christmas is a win at Old Trafford.
All Aston Villa manager Unai Emery wants for Christmas is a win at Old Trafford. Photograph: Ryan Browne/ProSports/Shutterstock

Those teams: Manchester United have made four changes to the team that lost against West Ham last time out. Diogo Dalot returns from suspension and lines up at left-back in place of Luke Shaw, who is injured. Raphael Varane returns from illness in place of Willy Kambala, whilie Antony is dropped to the bench, with Marcus Rashford coming in as United look for their first goal in four games. Christian Eriksen starts for the first time since getting injured in mid-November and replaces Scott McTominay in midfield.

Unai Emery makes two changes from the VIlla side that drew with Sheffield United. Diego Carlos comes in at centre-back, with Ezri Konsa likely to move to right-back as cover for the suspended Matty Cash. Leander Dendoncker starts in midfield, in place of Moussa Diaby.

Back in the Manchester United starting line-up for the first time in six weeks, Christian Eriksen signs autographs on his way into Old Trafford.
Back in the Manchester United starting line-up for the first time in six weeks, Christian Eriksen signs autographs on his way into Old Trafford. Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

Manchester United v Aston Villa line-ups

Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Evans, Varane, Dalot, Mainoo, Eriksen, Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho, Hojlund.

Subs: Bayindir, Reguilon, Antony, Pellistri, van de Beek, McTominay, Gore, Mejbri, Kambwala.

Aston Villa: Martinez, Konsa, Diego Carlos, Lenglet, Digne, Bailey, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Ramsey, Dendoncker, Watkins.

Subs: Torres, Alex Moreno, Chambers, Diaby, Zaniolo, Duran, Marschall, Iroegbunam, Proctor.

Tonight’s match officials

  • Referee: Craig Pawson

  • Referee’s assistants: Richard West and Steve Meredith

  • Fourth official: Rob Jones

  • Video Assistant: Referee: Stuart Attwell

  • Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Craig Pawson will take charge of his 16th game of the season in all competitions at Old Trafford tonight.
Craig Pawson will take charge of his 16th game of the season in all competitions at Old Trafford tonight. Photograph: Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock

Early team news

Diogo Dalot returns from suspension, but with Amad Diallo, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia all injured, Erik ten Hag will be hoping that the virus which ruled both Raphael Varane and Antony Martial out of his side’s defeat at West Ham has done its worst. Rasmus Hojlund was also reported to be suffering from illness and was forced off after 57 minutes of ineffective huffing and puffing at the London Stadium.

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The United’s striker came in for some criticism on the back of his ineffective performance but barely got a touch of the ball during the hour he spent on the field. Jadon Sancho, who has not kicked a ball in competition for United since August, remains in his manager’s bad books and won’t feature tonight.

Villa right-back Matty Cash has to sit this one out after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Sheffield United and joins Boubacar Kamara on the Naughty Step. The French midfielder is serving the second game of the ban he picked up for his small role in the pantomime brawl initiated by his team-mate Emi Martinez towards the end of Villa’s recent win over Brentford. The fitness of Pau Torres is also in doubt, while Unai Emery is also without Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings, Bertrand Traore and Youri Tielemans remain out.

Premier League: Manchester United v Aston Villa

Manchester United fans enjoyed some long overdue festive cheer on Christmas Eve when it was confirmed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe had finally completed a deal to buy a 25% minority stake in their club.

Quite how the British billionaire’s investment will pan out remains to be seen but it means he and his staff are now in control of football operations in the club and will surely be hard pushed to make a bigger mess of them than those currently in charge.

Or will they? As somebody who takes a keen reasonably keen interest in professional bike-racing, the news that Sir David Brailsford is likely to be given a major say in how things are run at Old Trafford would be a major source of concern if I was a United fan. Other opinions are, of course, available but expect any “gains” made by the players to be of the famously “marginal” variety that Dave loves so much.

Having posted their worth set of pre-Christmas results since 1931, United come into this game on the back of a humbling defeat at the hands of West Ham at the London Stadium. In third place in the title race, their visitors failed to win at home in the league for the first time in 16 games last time out. Indeed, they were lucky to escape with a draw against Sheffield United courtesy of a late, late Nicolo Zaniolo equaliser in added time.

Both sides will be eager to get back to winning ways under the Tuesday night lights at Old Trafford in a Boxing Day fixture that kicks off at 8pm (GMT).



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