Manchester United will be looking to secure a record 20th league championship on Monday as they host an Aston Villa side still dangerously close to the bottom three despite losing just once in their last five games.
The table-toppers go into the game on the back of Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw at West Ham United, when they twice came from behind to eventually take a share of the spoils.
Winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up an ankle injury in the derby defeat to Manchester City earlier in the month and joins Chris Smalling, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher on the sidelines.
Paul Lambert’s men are just one place and three points above the dotted line and are as long as 11/1 to claim a major upset at Old Trafford, with United 1/5 favourites and the draw an 11/2 chance.
However, only Arsenal, Liverpool and champions Manchester City have beaten them since January, with the Villans boasting the best form over the last eight games of all of the sides in the bottom eight of the division.
The match may come too soon for Gabriel Agbonlahor, who missed last weekend’s draw with Fulham after picking up a thigh injury before kick-off, but in 15-goal Christian Benteke they have a man who can make United’s defenders sweat.
United came from two goals down to take all three points in the reverse fixture at Villa Park back in November, and below are five key stats to help you decide where to put your money this time around.
2: Villa have failed to score in just two league games in 2013, while United have netted in all but two games all season. You can get odds of 3/4 for both teams to score in the game.
2: The league leaders have scored two or fewer goals in 11 of their 12 games since the 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Day. You can get a price of 31/10 for the hosts to win with fewer than three goals scored in the game.
3: Alternatively, as United are the only side to have averaged over two goals per game in the Premier League this season, you can back them to score at least three times at 9/10.
5: Aston Villa have opened the scoring in five of the last eight meetings between the sides and are a 29/10 shot to do so this time around.
11: Wayne Rooney has scored 11 times against Villa since signing for United in 2004 and is priced at 7/2 to open the scoring this evening or 13/20 to notch at any time.