Alex Ferguson takes his Man United side to Villa Park on Saturday as he looks to bounce back from the midweek Carling Cup defeat to Crystal Palace. Alex McLeish's team are not in the best shape either, with a dreadful performance against Spurs followed by a bore draw with Swansea in their previous games, while the club are having their worst start to a season since 2005/06 - despite sitting in eighth, they are only seven points off the relegation zone.
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Captain Stiliyan Petrov returns from injury.
Emile Heskey looks set to make his 500th Premier League appearance.
Barry Bannan is likely to play and Marc Albrighton could be handed his first Premier League start of the season.
Dimitar Berbatov is out with with an ankle injury picked up in the Carling Cup match against Crystal Palace.
Fabio and Rafael are both struggling with injury.
Striker Danny Welbeck is a doubt with a muscle strain.
Darren Bent v Nemanja Vidic
The big Serbian centre-back will need to keep his eye on England's finest goal poacher as former Sunderland striker Bent has hit five Premier League goals this season and every one of them has been scored at Villa Park. Vidic, meanwhile, has only made six Premier League appearances so far this season after suffering an injury during the opening game of the season. His leadership will be vital in lifting a United side looking far from their best.
GABRIEL AGBONLAHOR v PHIL JONES
Gabriel Agbonlahor has been in terrific form so far this season, racking up five Premier League goals and four assists. His speed and strength led to a deserved call-up from Fabio Capello for the recent England friendlies, but unfortunately he was unable to play after picking up an injury. It is likely to be Phil Jones or Chris Smalling in at right-back and they will have the challenge of preventing the majority of play going through Agbonlahor on the left side, which is what has been happening due to the unproductive performances of Charles N'Zogbia on the right.
Richard Dunne v JAVIER HERNANDEZ
United have scored 10 league goals from set pieces this season, more than any other team and the man who keeps putting the ball in the net is Hernandez. The Mexican has scored four goals in his last six matches and will certainly keep the heaviest player in the league, Richard Dunne, on his toes. Sir Alex Ferguson's side will be relying on his goals with Welbeck, Berbatov and Owen all injured and Wayne Rooney struggling to find the net in his last seven league appearances.
RECENT FORM (Last 5 home and away):
ASTON VILLA: D-L-W-D-L
The draw at Swansea last weekend was achieved in the wake of shocking news concerning Wales manager Gary Speed's death, with goalkeeper Shay Given - a close friend of Speed's - visibly moved before kick off. The defeat to Tottenham earlier that the week, meanwhile, proved just how inconsistent Villa can be. They were lucky to finish the game only two goals down and had just one shot on target.
MAN UNITED: D-W-W-W-L
United dropped points at home to Newcastle last weekend and lost to Palace midweek. Their recent form has not been the quality they started the season with and they are now five points behind league leaders Man City. Wayne Rooney hasn't scored a Premier League goal since their 3-1 win over Chelsea in September, but is still the club's leading goal scorer.
It's not looking good for Villa, who have only beaten United once in the last 31 Premier League encounters between the two sides home and away. The last time United were beaten at Villa Park was in 1995 when the 3-1 defeat led Alan Hansen to proclaim Fergie would "win nothing with kids." They subsequently went on to win the title and FA Cup that season.
IT'S A BIG DAY FOR: Ashley Young
The winger signed for United from Villa this summer for £17m and, since then, has scored four goals and become a first-choice for England. Returning to the club he spent four years at might be daunting for the 26-year-old, but the odds suggest he is likely to be on the winning side.
This will be the 69th time Sir Alex Ferguson has faced a former player-turned-manager. Alex McLeish played under Ferguson at Aberdeen in the 1980s and of the last 68 encounters between the master and his former players-turned-managers, Ferguson has lost only five games, with the last being a 4-3 defeat to Mark Hughes' Blackburn in 2006.
MATCH ODDS WITH LADBROKES
Aston Villa to win 4/1
Man United to win 4/6
1-0 Villa 10/1
0-0 Draw 10/1
1-0 United 6/1
2-0 Villa 20/1
1-1 Draw 13/2
2-0 United 7/1
2-1 Villa 16/1
2-2 Draw 16/1
3-0 United 12/1