The final Premier League game on Boxing Day 2023 takes place at Old Trafford. We look forward to the clash with our Manchester United vs Aston Villa prediction and preview.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer believes that Manchester United can end their poor run of form with a win against Aston Villa. They won 44.1% of pre-match simulations.
  • Man Utd haven’t scored a goal in four games – the last time that they went five games without a goal was 42 years ago.
  • Manchester United (53) and Aston Villa (46) are the two sides with the most wins on Boxing Day in English Football League history.

Match Preview

Erik ten Hag wouldn’t have enjoyed his Christmas too much following Manchester United’s latest defeat – a 2-0 loss at West Ham on Saturday. However, one of the positives of the jam-packed festive footballing calendar is that you are able to attempt to make amends quickly – they face Aston Villa in this match just three days after that loss in London.

West Ham 2-0 Manchester United Timeline

Defensive injuries haven’t helped Ten Hag’s cause, with Raphaël Varane’s latest knock adding to those suffered by Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez and Victor Lindelöf. That meant that Ten Hag was forced to hand 19-year-old Willy Kambwala a debut at West Ham in central defence alongside Jonny Evans – the ninth different centre-back pairing that United have used in the Premier League already this season. It’s likely that they will also still be without Casemiro, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial on Boxing Day, while Marcus Rashford may take Rasmus Højlund’s place in attack – the Danish striker is still yet to score a goal in 15 hours and 45 minutes of Premier League action.

Rasmus Højlund Goals Man Utd

Aston Villa had the chance to temporarily move to the top of the Premier League table on Friday night, but they were unable to beat relegation-threatened Sheffield United at Villa Park, as they were held to a 1-1 draw. It could have been worse had Nicolò Zaniolo not equalised seven minutes into stoppage time.

Villa will still be without suspended midfielder Boubacar Kamara for this game, with it being the second of a three-match ban following his red card in the 2-1 win at Brentford on Matchday 17. Pau Torres is unlikely to make it back from an ankle injury in time, with the Spanish defender expected to return in 2024, while Youri Tielemans also looks set to miss out again.

Across English Football League history, Manchester United (53) and Aston Villa (46) are the two sides with the most wins on Boxing Day. The Red Devils also hold the record for most such victories in the top flight (44) and Premier League (21) and they’ll certainly be hoping to extend that record and end a poor run of form.

Recent Form

United come into this match on a four-game scoreless run in all competitions (vs Bournemouth, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and West Ham), last scoring a goal on 6 December in the 2-1 win over Chelsea. They haven’t been on a run of five successive matches without a goal since March 1981 – they ended that run with three goals against Aston Villa, however.

That victory over Chelsea in early December is their only victory across the last seven games (L4 D2), with the Red Devils outscored 11-5 in those matches.

Manchester United have lost four of their last seven Premier League home games (W3) – double the tally they had across their previous 34 at Old Trafford (W25 D7 L2). They’ve conceded 3+ goals in three different Premier League games at home this season, only doing so more often in 2020-21 (4).

In all competitions, United have lost seven of their last 12 home games (W5). They’ve had three runs of consecutive defeats in that time (including losing their last two), last losing three in a row at home in October 1962 under Matt Busby.

Their form in front of goal at Old Trafford this season hasn’t been good. They’ve scored just 10 goals at home in the Premier League this season, their joint-fewest after nine games in the competition (also 10 in 2015-16). Of those, 40% have been scored by Scott McTominay (4), with the Scot the only player to score more than once for the Red Devils at home so far in the league.

Unai Emery’s side come into this Boxing Day clash at Old Trafford on a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W7 D3) but dropped points unexpectedly on Friday night in the 1-1 home draw with Sheffield United. Nicolò Zaniolo rescued a point for the Villans with his first Premier League goal deep into added time.

Villa have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games (W3 D2), going down 2-0 at Nottingham Forest in November. However, they’re yet to win consecutive league games on the road this season, while three of their four away wins overall have come in London (v Chelsea, Tottenham and Brentford).

Ollie Watkins has been a key reason behind Villa’s amazing start to the 2023-24 season. He’s been directly involved in eight goals in his nine Premier League away games this season, scoring four and assisting four. All eight of these have either put Aston Villa in the lead (4) or drawn them level (4) in the match.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Head-to-Head

Manchester United have won 38 of their 56 Premier League games against Aston Villa (D13 L5), the highest win rate of any side to have faced another at least 40 times in the competition (68%). However, recent history in this fixture might suggest the tide is turning for Villa. They’ve won two of their last four Premier League games against Man Utd (D1 L1), as many as they had in their previous 51 against them (D12 L37).

The Red Devils won twice against Villa last season, though, defeating them in the Premier League at Old Trafford on 30 April thanks to a single Bruno Fernandes strike, after knocking them out of the League Cup at home on 10 November with a 4-2 victory.

Villa’s 3-1 win over United at Villa Park on 6 November 2022 was Unai Emery’s first game in charge of the club.

Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off in this Premier League match, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Opta Player Ratings

The Opta Player Ratings are something we introduced ahead of 2023-24. For a quick primer on how they’re calculated, you can check our explainer here.

Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:

Manchester United

André Onana: 76.8 (out of 100)
Diogo Dalot: 74.5
Victor Lindelöf: 64.6
Scott McTominay: 64.1
Bruno Fernandes: 63.4

Aston Villa

Douglas Luiz: 76.2 (out of 100)
Ollie Watkins: 74.3
John McGinn: 73.0
Ezri Konsa: 71.9
Leon Bailey: 71.3

These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Prediction

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Prediction Opta

Home advantage is evidently key for the Opta supercomputer’s pre-match prediction, here. Across the 10,000 pre-match simulations before kick-off, United won 44.1% of the time, while Aston Villa picked up all three points on their travels on 27.5% of occasions.

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