View from the Opposition: Aston Villa insider predicts win over United and says Tuanzebe wasn’t good enough

Manchester United are looking to make it two wins in a week over Aston Villa as the Reds travel to Birmingham for the late kick-off on Saturday in the Premier League.

I think most fans can accept that were lucky to beat Villa 1-0 on Monday night in the FA Cup. They had an array of chances to change the outcome of the match, including two goals ruled out.

The Reds must perform better at Villa Park or it could easily end up being another defeat in the league.

To prepare ourselves for the match, I caught up with Gregg Evans, who does a brilliant job covering Aston Villa for The Athletic.

Steven Gerrard turned to face the Stretford End on Monday night. Did the Villa fans enjoy that?

Gregg Evans: “Not sure they paid too much attention to it. Gerrard held his head high and didn’t let the taunting get to him. Clearly, though, he wanted to leave Old Trafford with Villa in the next round of the FA Cup. Villa fans aren’t bothered about the rivalry between Man Utd and Liverpool, they just want to see Gerrard doing well as boss.”

With the signings of Digne and Coutinho, Villa should become a better attacking outfit. They also had enough chances on Monday night to win two cup ties, but failed to score one. Are these two signings that Villa needed?

Evans: “Yes, I’m not sure Digne is any better than Matt Targett defensively, so Villa will have to get the balance right still. But going forward he’ll bring plenty more creativity and should link up well with Coutinho. The left side of attack has been considerably strengthened with the two of them arriving.”

Dean Smith put a lot of work into Axel Tuanzebe but Gerrard was less interested, so I think you will agree that moving to Napoli was right for the player. Could Gerrard have done anything differently because Tuanzebe’s brother/agent said the manager couldn’t let go his rivalry with United?

Evans: “Gerrard favoured Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings. Tuanzebe didn’t get a chance because the other two players were performing well. I heard about the rivalry suggestions but didn’t read too much into that. If Gerrard believed Tuanzebe was good enough to play, he would have played him.”

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Any complaints about the VAR decision on Monday night which ruled out an equaliser for Danny Ings?

Evans: “No real complaints about the actual decision, just the time it had taken to come to a decision. Wasn’t that complex so it should have been picked up earlier. That said, it did feel like the officials were doing everything possible to find a way to chalk off the goal.”

How disappointed are you after getting knocked out of the third round of the FA Cup again?

Evans: “Villa will be disappointed because they felt the competition was one they could win this season. Gerrard spoke about the FA Cup at his unveiling and fielded his strongest team at OT which showed how serious he was about it. Villa haven’t won it since 1957 when they beat United all those years ago so it’s high on their list of priorities.”

Finally, a score prediction?

Evans: “2-0 to Villa.”

More Stories Aston Villa Axel Tuanzebe Dean Smith Manchester United Matt Targett Steven Gerrard


  1. I think if united aren’t strong enough, then villa will actually take all the 3 points tommorow.. My score prediction: 2-1 for villa

  2. Yes we were robbed and now is our chance to make amends and I’m sure SG and all of his players will be champing at the bit for this one.
    Coutinho looking sharp in training and he will surely make an appearance off the bench.
    SG will want his players to go all out from the off and albeit John Mc Ginn is suspended I think we have a fine player in Sanson who will do a good job for us. Looking forward to the match.

    1. Villa weren’t “robbed” it was close game, either side could have won. The luck was with Utd, that’s all.

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