Harry Redknapp predicts Aston Villa will bounce back from their midweek FA Cup elimination at the hands Chelsea to beat Manchester United in the Premier League, with Leon Bailey ready to ’cause problems’.
Villa’s confidence will have taken a knock on Wednesday night as goals from Conor Gallagher, Nicolas Jackson and Enzo Fernandez sealed Mauricio Pochettino’s under-fire Chelsea side a resounding 3-1 victory to reach the fifth round of the cup.
Moussa Diaby’s late strike proved the only consolation for Unai Emery’s men, who just days earlier had ran out 5-0 winners in a near perfect performance away to Sheffield United in the English top flight.
Fourth-placed Villa could rise to as high as second in the table should results go their way this weekend, but United were the victors when the two sides met in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Alejandro Garnacho grabbed a brace and Rasmus Hojlund scored a dramatic late winner as the Red Devils completed a stunning turnaround – after going two goals behind – and Erik ten Hag will no doubt use that display as a source of inspiration.
Previewing Sunday’s intriguing clash for BetVictor, ex-Tottenham manager Redknapp said he was delighted to see Hojlund prove his doubters wrong in recent weeks but backed Villa to come away with all three points.
‘What a game this should be. I was shocked to see Aston Villa lose in the FA Cup during the week, they’re normally so strong at home,’ he said.
‘That being said, they were superb at Sheffield United last week and could have scored seven or eight!
‘Manchester United have turned a corner and are beginning to salvage this season.
‘I’ve got to say, I’m happy for the boy Rasmus Hojlund to get amongst the goals in recent weeks.
‘Some of the stick he was getting earlier in the season was ridiculous.’
‘Having said that, I’m going with Villa; I just can’t see them losing two home games on the bounce.
‘Sheffield United couldn’t get near Leon Bailey last week and he’ll look to cause United problems here.’
At his pre-match press conference, Ten Hag said he been very impressed with Emery’s job at Villa and stressed that his side would have to perform at their ‘maximum level’ to come away from Birmingham with a result.
‘I think it is very good how he developed his team and how they want to play, in and out of position,’ the Dutchman told reporters.
‘The players know what they have to do and cooperate with each other.
‘They are a real team with weapons in their team, we have to play our maximum level.’
Asked whether Sunday’s encounter could be deemed a must-win match for United, Ten Hag replied: ‘I said to the team from the start of January every game is now a final.
‘That was also our approach to West Ham, this is a final, we have to take this challenge and see it as a final.
‘That will be every day now from on.’
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