Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United

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Manchester United is the hottest team in the Premier League, but can Christian Benteke and his club use Villa Park to cool off the Red Devils on Saturday? (Watch live on NBCSN at 10am ET and online via Live Extra).

It would’ve been juicier with former Manchester United captain Roy Keane still in the Aston Villa dugout, but we’ll make due with the hosts looking to beat the Red Devils for the first time in more than half a decade.

Villa Park hasn’t been a fortress for the Villans, and that’s underlined when bigger teams visit. Villa’s been beaten by Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City at home, and drew Southampton 1-1.

As for United, they could have Angel Di Maria back in the fold. Marouane Fellaini will be unavailable due to illness, but Di Maria’s participation will come down to match fitness.

Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph are back for Villa.

WATCH LIVE SATURDAY ON NBCSN AT 10AM ET AND ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

What they’re saying

United’s Louis van Gaal on getting the form to match the results: “Okay, the results are very good, but we can improve the performances of the team. I don’t think it was a great surprise that we won against Liverpool, neither for the players. The game against Hull City was a good game.”

Villa boss Paul Lambert on facing United: “I have the belief. We are playing well. I can see that in training, the confidence is there. We will go and try to win. We are up against a good team but also we have players who can hurt them. I am not going to sit here and be negative about it. I have total belief that we will go out there and try to win a game of football.”

Prediction

Like so many top strikers, Benteke is key as Villa tests the United back line. Di Maria’s return could be a lift for an already-flying squad, though, too. It’s hard to imagine either side keeping a clean sheet, even with top-end matches from keepers Brad Guzan and David De Gea. Call it 3-2 to the visitors, who keep up their long winning streak.