Man United v Aston Villa: And so Villa come to the end of the road

Micah Richards' move to Aston Villa hasn't work out quite as well as he hoped
Micah Richards' move to Aston Villa hasn't work out quite as well as he hoped

Aston Villa's Premier League relegation is likely to be accompanied by the appropriate whimper...

"Defensive reliability has earned Man United ten clean sheets across 15 home league contests, including seven in nine attempts against opponents positioned outside the top eight."

Back Man United to win to nil @ 1.774/5

Man United 1.251/4 v Aston Villa 17.5; The Draw 6.86/1
Saturday, 15:00

Man United

Barring 21 minutes at White Hart Lane against the Premier League's second best team, the Red Devils have enjoyed one of their finest four-match stretches of 2015/16, beating two top-six rivals away (Man City and West Ham), holding another for 69 minutes (Tottenham) and seeing off Everton too.

Consequently, they have an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to look forward to and retain an outside chance of a second successive top-four finish, with the gap to their neighbours a bridgeable four points with six fixtures remaining.

As if a home clash with Aston Villa wasn't a huge enough boost to their bid, captain Wayne Rooney returned following two months out injured at the Boleyn Ground in midweek. Louis van Gaal won't be able to call on Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj though, while Ander Herrera is a doubt.

Aston Villa

Relegation still hasn't been mathematically confirmed, with Aston Villa's 15-point deficit to 17th place with five games to play just about presenting them with the slimmest of survival prospects, one that would involve them also initiating a goal difference swing of 20 strikes.

However, they are sufficiently doomed for their legion of board members to have decreed that there will be no end-of-season awards, not even comedy ones to allow disgruntled supporters to publicly shame their biggest underperformers.

That brings us seamlessly onto Gabriel Agbonlahor - one goal in 18 appearances - who will miss a further fortnight as he embarks on a personal fitness programme. Caretaker boss Eric Black did a pitch-perfect Pontius Pilate impression when asked to comment on the situation, observing that: "I have only been here five weeks so can't be held accountable for what's gone on with him before."

Joining the lifelong Villan in absentia is Jordan Amavi, who despite being out since early November would have been a leading candidate for the player of the year accolade if it wasn't ditched, with Libor Kozak potentially sitting out as well.

Match Odds

It would be cruel on Aston Villa to dwell on this section for too long, so let's simply rush through the key figures. Man United's recent run of four wins in six league outings is their joint-fiercest of the campaign, whereas the visitors are on their lengthiest losing streak of eight encounters.

The 20-time English champions won at Villa Park and have prevailed in seven of their ten Old Trafford showdowns with sides placed eighth or lower, while the manager-less guests have taken a single point from an available 24 away to top-half clubs. No wonder the hosts are 1.251/4 to triumph.

Man United Win To Nil

2016 has been the home-form high point of Man United's season, with six top-flight assignments yielding five victories, whereas their figures from August to December were a respectable but unspectacular P9 W4 D4 L1.

One theme throughout both sequences was the defensive reliability which earned them ten clean sheets across the 15 combined contests, including seven in nine attempts against opponents positioned outside the top eight.

Villa are in their poorest scoring shape this term, which is quite the statement when they have mustered a mere 23 goals over the duration. They have fired once during their last five games and the same is true of their past five road trips.

Backing Man United to win to nil at 1.774/5 might not be the move that makes you a millionaire, yet it certainly looks like a sensible smaller step on that journey.

Correct Score

If you are seeking a scoreline to hang your Homburg on then 2-0 is the option that entices this writer most at 6.25/1.

Two goals is the number that Villa have leaked most often on their 2015/16 league travels, doing so five times - including twice in four since February - and they have been beaten on every occasion, losing 2-0 in three of those instances.

Recommended Bet:

Back Man United to win to nil @ 1.774/5

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