Aston Villa vs. Manchester United live stream: Time, TV schedule and how to watch the EPL online
Manchester United look to extend their six-match winning streak as they head to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa, who have won just two of their last twelve matches.
We’re in the middle of watching Manchester United rocket their way up the pitch, rising from tenth place after losing to Manchester City in November and finding themselves in third place heading in to this weekend. The Red Devils have ripped off six straight wins since losing to City six weeks ago, and are eagerly looking at making it seven in a row today against Aston Villa.
It looked for a moment like Villa might have found a way to start clawing their way back to relevance, snatching two wins against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, but then got cut off at the knees in a flat performance against West Brom a week ago. Though they’ve recently risen to thirteenth in the table, Villa are just five points clear of the relegation zone, looking as though they’ll be fighting to stave off the drop yet again under Paul Lambert. They’ve struggled to find any kind of consistent form at all this season, and even after getting a couple key players back from injury lately, they still seemingly need to hope for one of their best performances of the season if they’re going to have a realistic chance of beating a red-hot Manchester United side.
Key player – Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
Aston Villa have long struggled dealing with strong attacks from wide areas, especially on Aly Cissokho’s side of the pitch. The French defender has a tough time against top-notch speed, and a lot of dangerous chances against Villa’s defense come from his area of the pitch. That means this could be Valencia’s chance to shine as long as Louis Van Gaal lets him off the chain a bit to start running at Cissokho. Valecia has all the pace and just enough ability in the final third to leave Cissokho twisted up in a heap, watching the Ecuadorian winger race past him in to the box. Unless Villa can slow Valencia down, United could have a field day down his flank.
Key Matchup – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) vs. Jores Okore (Aston Villa)
While much of the focus of this match will be on how well Ron Vlaar handles his Netherlands international teammate Robin van Persie, the more important matchup for Aston Villa will be how Jores Okore deals with Wayne Rooney’s attempts to exploit the space van Persie leaves in his wake. Okore seemed to be out of favor at the beginning of the season, hardly playing before a litany of injuries forced him in to the lineup last month. He’s been rock-solid since then, though, reminding fans of the talents that brought him to Villa in the first place. Rooney is a tough assignment to manage for a young defender, but if Okore can keep him contained, it will make the day a whole lot easier on Villa’s back line.
Aston Villa injuries and suspensions
Out: Ashley Westwood (knee), Joe Cole (hamstring), Philippe Senderos (calf), Nathan Baker (knee), Libor Kozak (leg)
Manchester United injuries and suspensions
Out: Marouane Fellaini (ill), Chris Smalling (groin), Tom Thorpe (ankle), Luke Shaw (ankle), Daley Blind (knee) In doubt: Marcos Rojo (thigh), Angel Di Maria (hamstring)
Manchester United have been playing a heavily battered side of late, and the fresh loss of Fellaini hurts an already-thin midfield. They may get a boost, though, as both Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria might be able to return to action for this match. Villa are finally on the downhill slide of their own injury crisis, having gotten Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar back from their spells off the pitch recently and with other hoping to return soon.
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. local, 10:00 a.m. ET
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham, England
TV: NBCSN (U.S. – English), Mun2 (U.S. – Spanish)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.), Deportes Telemundo En Vivo Extra (U.S. – Spanish)