For some reason, I've always thought of Aston Villa playing Manchester United as a Christmas fixture. There is something about it and even though Manchester United are not the Manchester United they once were, it's still a big game.
It's also a tough place to go and that means it will be tough for us tomorrow night, but it's a great opportunity for us to bounce back from the disappointing result from the other night.
And the result against Sheffield United was disappointing because we all thought we should have won, but when a team puts ten men behind the ball, it's always going to be tough. All in all, it could have been worse and not sitting top of the table at Christmas doesn't bother me that much.
It's where we end the season that counts. And the match tomorrow is important for that reason. Lose and you'll read pundits saying we've run out of steam, win and you'll read pundits saying we have a chance of winning the League. It's a fickle game and pundits write and say things for attention and clicks.
Match facts from the BBC
- Manchester United have won 38 of their 56 Premier League games against Aston Villa, drawing 13 and losing five.
- Villa have two wins from their previous four Premier League meetings with United, which is as many as they had mustered in their previous 51 against them (D12, L37).
- Manchester United could lose three successive games at Old Trafford for the first time since October 1962 under Sir Matt Busby.
- Erik ten Hag's side have lost four of their last seven home league games, winning the other three.
- United have lost 13 matches in all competitions this season, their most defeats before Christmas since 1930.
- The Red Devils have also failed to score in four successive games in all competitions for the first time since November 1992.
- United are unbeaten in their past 19 Boxing Day games at Old Trafford (W16, D3), a run dating back to 1978.
- No English side has won more league games on 26 December than Manchester United's 53.
- Scott McTominay has scored four of United's 10 Premier League goals at Old Trafford this season and he's the only player to score more than once for the Red Devils at home in the top flight.
- Rasmus Hojlund has failed to score in all 16 domestic appearances for United.
- Aston Villa are on a 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W7, D3), last losing away to Nottingham Forest at the start of November.
- Unai Emery's side have picked up seven points from their last nine available on the road.
- Villa have been beaten in their past two Boxing Day fixtures by the same 3-1 scoreline, losing to Chelsea in 2021 and then to Liverpool last year.
- Ollie Watkins has been involved in eight goals in nine Premier League away games this season, scoring four and assisting four.
And I know this has nothing to do with Aston Villa, but I've got a view on Poch and I have to write it because it bothers me that everyone seems to think he walks on water. Also because I firmly believe the most important person at a Club is the manager.
And it's very easy for me to say look at what Emery has done with us in just over a year, but it's not rocket science. It's hard work and it's knowing the job, but what has Poch done in the game to warrant this love in?
At PSG, Poch had a win rate of 65%, just 4% more than Emery has with us right now and 11% less than Emery had when he was the PSG manager. Granted, he had a 54% win rate as manager of Spurs, but what does a 54% win rate get you in the Premier League?
Mourinho had a 67% win rate at Chelsea during his first stint and a 51% win rate at Spurs before getting sacked. Why does a win rate of 3% greater than Mourinho who got sacked at Spurs warrant such belief?
I know this isn't the place for a section on the current Chelsea manager, but I heard so many Chelsea fans on the radio this week, I had to get it off my chest. Football is a strange game. Made stranger by us!