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Discussion Starter #1
United meet Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday, 06 Jan 2007.

With Louis Saha out for 2 weeks, an all Scandinavian strike force is expected to greet the Villains with Rooney expected to be rested too. Here's a provisional line-up and formation. Nothing official yet except that Larsson & 20LEgend will start up front.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
There have been ten FA Cup ties between Man Utd and Aston Villa and the respective histories of the two clubs, and the Red Devils have won eight of those encounters compared to just two victories for the Midlands-based Villains. United should enhance this record further when entertaining Martin 0'Neill's men at the Theatre Of Dreams in this third round match on Sunday.

An even more worrying stat for the visitors is that you have to go back to 1983 for when they last beat United at Old Trafford - they've not won at the now 76,000 capacity stadium in 21 subsequent visits. And current form suggests they have little chance of bucking that trend. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson's charges visited Villa Park on December 23 and served up a 3-0 beating to Villa.

The Premiership title is, of course, the core objective for Sir Alex, but with his side firmly in the driving seat, I reckon that the evergreen manager will be sniffing the alluring scent of a Premiership-FA Cup double, something which United have achieved thee times in a glittering history which has seen them lift the FA Cup on 11 occasions, which remains a record in itself.

The signs are, therefore, ominous for the Villains. If they expect to play an under-strength United in Lancashire on Sunday, they'll be disappointed. Fergie may opt to switch some players around, perhaps bringing Alan Smith into the equation, Heinze maybe starting in place of Evra, while Larson might get a first sighting in a United jersey. But any such changes will be almost like-for-like and certainly won't make Villa's task any easier.

The Red Devils' gung-ho approach can sometimes leave them vulnerable at the back - both Newcastle and Reading have managed to put two past Edwin van der Sar in their two most recent matches - but Villa, who will, incidentally, be returning to Old Trafford just six days later for a Premiership fixture, lack the requisite firepower to take advantage of any such chinks in the United armour.

Despite all of this, it's a knockout cup tie and cannot envisage Villa disgracing themselves - they'll give it a good go, that's for sure - but when push comes to shove they will be outclassed by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired United side that have been utterly rampant this season.
 

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Match Preview: Aston Villa v United

FA Cup | KO 14:00 | Sun 07 Jan

Team News: United are set to ring the changes following a hectic Christmas schedule which yielded 10 points of a possible 12 in just 10 days. Sir Alex Ferguson has already hinted that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will partner debutant Henrik Larsson upfront, and is likely to freshen up his squad throughout. Martin O'Neill's side are set to retain the services of on-loan Gabor Kiraly in goal, although Stuart Taylor is almost ready to return to action. Gareth Barry should return after suspension, but Chris Sutton, Martin Laursen and Luke Moore are doubts.

Form: United followed the disappointment of losing at West Ham with consecutive wins over Villa, Wigan and Reading, and had looked set to beat Newcastle until David Edgar's late equaliser. Sir Alex Ferguson's side retained their six point lead over Chelsea, however, thanks to Villa's stubborn draw with the champions on Tuesday. That point was the midlanders' first in four games, and Martin O'Neill's side haven't notched a league win since beating Everton on 11 November.

Last Five Meetings

When Where Result First Goal

23.12.06 Away Won 3-0 Ronaldo (58)
17.12.05 Away Won 2-0 Van Nistelrooy (10)
20.08.05 Home Won 1-0 Van Nistelrooy (66)
22.01.05 Home Won 3-1 Ronaldo (8)
28.12.04 Away Won 1-0 Giggs (41)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
UPDATE - Tomasz Kuszczak will make his fourth appearance of the season, replacing Edwin van der Sar in goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah.. especially since Vidic is a doubt too. Guess this will all about the marauding Scandihoovians then!

Come on, lads all together now...


Ole ! Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!
 
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I've read that it wil be kuzcak who will be the goalkeeper that real?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
best of Cristiano said:
I've read that it wil be kuzcak who will be the goalkeeper that real?
Correct. Refer Post #4 in this very thread. Source - Manutd.com where the boss was giving a pre-match interview.
 

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a late winner to ensure opening goalscorer Henrik Larsson enjoyed a dream debut for Manchester United.

Larsson capped a fine display when he volleyed in on 55 minutes to score in his first FA Cup tie.

United almost doubled their lead when Ryan Giggs' free-kick hit the bar before substitute Milan Baros equalised when he slid a low shot in the corner.

Solskjaer had the final say when a tame shot embarrassed keeper Gabor Kiraly.
It was tough on Villa, who battled bravely and soaked up intense United pressure.

After a lethargic opening, United began to up their tempo and the movement of Larsson and Wayne Rooney started to cause Villa problems.

A sublime one-two led to Larsson flicking a return volley into Rooney's path but the England forward shot tamely at the keeper.

However, that effort proved to be one of Rooney's best in a first half where his touch often deserted him in the box and his shots from distance were slashed high and wide.

Yet when Rooney did produce the kind of effort expected of him, swivelling and stabbing a shot at the near post after sparkling wing work from Cristiano Ronaldo, Kiraly made a smart save.

And there was better to come from Kiraly, who superbly diverted a low shot from Larsson after the Swede had been played through by Michael Carrick.

Moments before, Larsson had been the provider when he unselfishly squared the ball to Rooney, who wasted the chance by hesitating and allowing Wilfred Bouma to make a challenge.

It typified stubborn Villa defending, although United's profligate finishing contributed to the deadlock remaining intact.

While the visitors soaked up the pressure, they carried very little attacking threat of their own - a Gareth Barry free-kick that curled over the bar was their only shot of note in the opening half.

That clearly had not been lost on manager Martin O'Neill, who waited only seven minutes after the break before replacing striker Juan Pablo Angel with Baros.

However, two minutes later Larsson - who used to play under O'Neill at Celtic - made the breakthrough.

After collecting Rooney's pass on the edge of the area, Larsson flipped up the ball with one touch and with his second, lashed a volley into the top corner.

The goal should have led to United assuming full control and had Giggs' free-kick hit the bar and gone in rather than over, the contest would have been finished.

But somehow, Villa dragged themselves back in contention and for the first time in the match began to create chances.

Gary Cahill almost levelled the score when he shaved the post with a header after connecting with Gavin McCann's corner.

And shortly afterwards, Barry's precise pass found Isaiah Osbourne but his effort was well saved by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Villa may have felt they had wasted their best chance but then Cahill's shot was trapped by Baros, who coolly slid the ball into the bottom left corner.

However, the drama was not over as Solskjaer prevented the replay Villa arguably deserved when he shot from the right and the ball squirmed underneath the unfortunate Kiraly.

Give your thoughts on this match
 

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I must admit I expected a problem here with Villa maybe shading a replay. But, once again, thanks to Ole, we survived which is more than I can say for the Merseyside duo!!! ;)

I thought our passing was sloppy and we ran out of ideas as we got into the box. Delighted with Larsson's debut, he and Wayne really played well together, like they had been "united" for years.

Relief more than celebration I suppose.
 
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All I wanna to say is Wazza is super unlucky not to score goals for us in wks... Hope his scoring forms will be BACK by this weekend... :)
 

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OldTrafford said:
All I wanna to say is Wazza is super unlucky not to score goals for us in wks... Hope his scoring forms will be BACK by this weekend... :)
Why do MU have to meet PREMIERSHIP member????? Next time vs The Pompey!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
girl_in_red said:
Why do MU have to meet PREMIERSHIP member????? Next time vs The Pompey!!!!

Simple... so when Chelski are humbled by lowly Nottingham Forest, we can all lean back and laugh our combined ar$es off @ them.

No, seriously, it's just the luck of the draw, i guess. Portsmouth are a high flying side who are gelling well together and we must be ruthless and clinical against them.
 
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