Match Preview: Aston Villa v Manchester United at Old Trafford

Does this result matter? There is no shame in losing at Old Trafford, most teams do and despite the much talked about defensive frailties, they beat the German champions last night and only let in one goal.

But, there will be a lot of optimism going into this match on the back of victories against Pompey and Hull and having scored seven goals and maybe that optimism is justified and maybe, just maybe, those defensive frailties will be a factor in us ending our horrid run at Old Trafford.


On the other hand, Manchester United are such a threat going forward and have a level of composure and confidence in possession, that we might find that most of the game is played in our half and if we are to get anything out of this game, we're going to need our defensive strengths to be on top of their game.

So, to answer my own question, yes the result matters, but if we leave Manchester on Saturday evening having lost, while it might not be easy to accept, it will be accepted. If we win however, I can confidently say that it will need a display much like the ones we put in against Liverpool and Chelsea and for some, it will mean that we have finally turned a corner and if we do leave Manchester with three points, it is going to be hard to disagree for a while.

But, how do you leave Manchester with three points? Some will say we have to set ourselves up much like we did against Liverpool at Anfield earlier this season with one out and out striker, but I can't see O'Neill dropping Heskey, not now he seems to have found his place in the team.

So, if Heskey starts, which I fully expect him too, we will likely see him dropping deep, making it difficult for the Manchester United midfielders that like to spray the ball around, forcing them higher and almost, to some extent, pushing them exactly where we want them.

You see, while it's madness to say we want Manchester United in our half, it does suit our style of play and if Milner, Webcam and Downing can can get hold of the ball and look at releasing Gabby we are going to create chances and as long as Gabby has space ahead of him, he'll beat any player Manchester United can put on him.

So, what will the result be? My heart tells me that we can win this, but my head says United will. They are used to playing two games a week and they will be confident after last night and they have won six of their seven games at Old Trafford this season and they've not lost. We've also only one twice away from home, but then my heart tells me one of those was at Anfield.

So, when it comes to my bet on Friday night, I'll follow my heart but on Saturday morning, when all things are equal, I'm still going to follow my heart, but I have to say my head will take control and I'll bet on us leaving Manchester with a point and if it was offered up today, I think Martin O'Neill will take it as will most of us.

So, when we leave Old Trafford with a point on Saturday, I'll be happy and I'll be even happier if we pass the ball about a bit, but I certainly wont be surprised if for 85 minutes we sit deep, fight for everything, counter attack at every opportunity, score from a corner or two and end up with ten men on the pitch.

Oh and before I forget, Luke, who is too busy to write a post these days, did an interview for the RedCafe podcast (Episode 18), which is now available to listen too. He is towards the end, but you'll get his views on the match and a very honest prediction.