Manchester United’s strong start to 2024 has left them with an outside chance of challenging for the coveted top four spots in the Premier League.
Back-to-back league wins have left United in 6th with the top three expected to remain as it is, with the Red Devils hoping to dislodge Aston Villa and Tottenham who sit in 4th and 5th, respectively.
United travel to Villa Park on Sunday in what is a crunch clash in the race for Champions League places.
Given it may be the top five that qualify for Europe’s premier competition next season, should United hunt down one of the teams above them, they may be able to salvage a campaign that has been poor up till now.
As reported by Manchester World, United will fancy their chances on Sunday with Unai Emery facing somewhat of an injury crisis.
The Spaniard is expected to be without multiple first team players including; Ezri Konsa, Pau Torres, Tyrone Mings, Nicolo Zaniolo, Emiliano Buendia and Jhon Duran.
Emery’s issues, particularly in defence, will give United’s in-form front men an opportunity to add to their numbers in recent weeks.
United have found their goalscoring boots since the turn of the year, netting 15 goals in their five games in 2024.
However, Erik ten Hag will be well aware of the threat the home side will pose having lost only one game at Villa Park in their last 17 in the league – an exceptional record.
Villa also beat United in the same fixture last season which was incidentally Emery’s first game in charge of the club.
However, United did win the most recent fixture between the team, coming from behind on Boxing Day to win by three goals to two.
A win for United on Sunday would move them to within five points of their hosts and they will fancy their chances of overhauling Emery’s men.
A loss would mean a double figure gap would open up and given Villa’s excellent form, it would be unlikely that United could catch them in the second half of the season.
Ten Hag will be desperate for a positive result and with the issues Villa are facing, Sunday represents a wonderful opportunity to launch a late assault toward the top of the table.