Man Utd vs Aston Villa predictions: Cup specialist Emery to taste victory again
- Manchester United have lost each of their last three home Carabao Cup games against Premier League opposition
- Aston Villa won Sunday's encounter 3-1 at Villa Park
- Recommended bet: Aston Villa to win
Aston Villa will attempt to follow up their Premier League victory over Manchester United by knocking the five-time winners out of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
Unai Emery enjoyed a superb debut as Villa boss on Sunday by engineering a first home league victory for the club against United in 27 years.
The former Villarreal chief stated his "dream is to win a trophy" when he arrived at a club that has been starved of major silverware since they last triumphed in this competition in 1996.
Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag described his team's performance as "not acceptable" in Sunday's 3-1 defeat and he is likely to make a host of changes for various reasons.
The Dutchman must perform a fine balancing act as he attempts to give some tired players a rest while also ensuring the line-up is strong enough to withstand another energetic Villa display.
Bruno Fernandes could be in the reckoning to start after missing Sunday's game in the Midlands through suspension, while fellow Portugal international Diogo Dalot can feature, even though he is banned for Sunday's game at Fulham after receiving his fifth yellow card of the campaign.
Wingers Antony and Jadon Sancho are injury doubts, but Anthony Martial made his return to action as a second-half substitute on Sunday and could be involved again.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been training with the main group for the first time in over a month and could be on the bench.
Martin Dubravka will be hoping to make his United debut in goal, with two of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martinez likely to feature in central defence while Raphael Varane recovers from an injury that threatens to keep him out of the World Cup.
Shola Shoretire, who was among the substitutes in United's last two first-team fixtures against Real Sociedad and Villa, could see some minutes on the pitch too.
Villa will be denied the services of two recent signings that are cup-tied after already appearing in the competition — defender Jan Bednarek and midfielder Leander Dendoncker.
Ashley Young, Morgan Sanson, John McGinn, Danny Ings and Boubacar Kamara, who all came off the bench at the weekend, will be hoping to impress Emery if the new manager brings them into the starting XI in Manchester.
Diego Carlos (Achilles) and Philippe Coutinho (thigh) are sidelined through injury, while Leon Bailey came off on Sunday complaining of some pain in the rib area and may be rested.
Emery won France's Coupe de la Ligue in both of his seasons at Paris Saint-Germain. He has also lifted the Coupe de France twice and Europa League four times, while also guiding Arsenal to the final of the latter competition in 2019 to establish a reputation as a cup specialist.
The Spaniard was the first manager, including caretakers, to win when their first Premier League game in charge of their new club was against Manchester United since Alan Curbishley did so with West Ham in December 2006.
Jacob Ramsey was involved in all four goals in Sunday's game. The Villa midfielder claimed an assist for his side's early opener, was fouled for the free-kick which led to Lucas Digne's second and then slammed home the third goal himself, minutes after seeing an own goal attributed to him.
The Red Devils have lost their last three home Carabao Cup matches to Premier League opposition — their last win at Old Trafford against another top-flight club in the competition came in January 2017 over a Hull side featuring Maguire.
The difference between the two teams on Sunday in terms of energy and sharpness was so stark that it makes you wonder how much can change within the space of four days.
United looked jaded after a run of 11 games in 35 days while Villa, who had played just seven times within the same period, were fresh and desperate to impress their new manager.
That will be the case again if Emery gives some of Sunday's substitutes a chance from the start at Old Trafford.