Rafa is ready to manage ChelseaGO ON THEN, I'LL DO IT ... Rafa Benitez would be happy to manage ChelseaPublished: 3 hrs ago
CHELSEA aim to name Roberto Di Matteo’s replacement by the end of the day — with Rafa Benitez top of their wanted list.
Di Matteo was ruthlessly sacked this morning after the Blues returned to London following a 3-0 defeat to Juventus.
Last night’s result left the Champions League holders facing elimination from the tournament’s group stage as Juve leapfrogged them to close the gap on leaders Shakhtar Donetsk.
Benitez, 52, has been out of work since since parting company with Inter Milan in 2010.
And the former Liverpool boss has made it clear he would be interested in taking charge at Stamford Bridge.
Spaniard Benitez said: “In football a lot of people are talking so we will see what happens in the next few days.
“I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies and Chelsea is one of these clubs.
“I have to talk with my agent and see what he has been doing the last couple of days.
“But I am just trying to go to a team that can win.”
SACKED! Di Matteo pays price for Chelsea's Euro woes as Abramovich targets Guardiola (with Benitez also in frame)
Game over: Di Matteo has been sacked, six months after landing the Champions League
Chelsea statement on Di Matteo - in full
Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with Manager Roberto Di Matteo.
The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.
The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.
The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.
The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.
Roman Abramovich fired Roberto Di Matteo this morning after an 'unacceptable' run of results.
The Chelsea owner, furious with the club's disastrous Champions League campaign, sacked him this morning just hours after their 3-0 defeat at Juventus.
Chelsea executives met at Stamford Bridge to tell Di Matteo that his reign was over just six months after leading them to glory in the European Cup.
Abramovich's No 1 target is former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, but the Blues owner needs to persuade him to end his year-long sabbatical from football. If he fails in this bid, he will turn to Rafa Benitez to take the helm.
Guardiola is spending time in Manhattan with his family after four years in charge at the Nou Camp and is the Russian's top target to take over.
Sources close to the 41-year-old say it will take a 'phenomenal' offer for the manager to change his mind.
However, it is understood Guardiola's advisers are willing to begin negotiations with prospective employers ahead of next season.
Discreet enquires from Chelsea, City and Milan have already taken place, with all three clubs keen to steal a march on their rivals in the race to land the talented manager.
Benitez is understood to be willing to take the job until the end of the season. This is despite turning down a similar offer last season after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked.
The former Liverpool and Inter Milan boss is addressing a conference in Abu Dhabi today and is scheduled to fly back into London tomorrow.
Abramovich was furious that the team, who started the season with the chance to win seven trophies, are already in freefall.
Although he was prepared to overlook the Community Shield defeat against Manchester City, he was furious with the 4-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup.
Abramovich’s circle made it clear that they had to play seven games to 'qualify' for the Community shield and that it should be treated seriously.
Down and out? Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus in the Champions League last night
Likewise the 4-1 defeat against Atletico in Monaco came after they won the Champions League final against Bayern Munich and they wanted to win it.
Chelsea need a miracle to qualify from Group E of the Champions League and are in danger of becoming the first holders in the history of the competition to go out in the group phase.
They are four points behind this weekend’s opponents Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League and cannot afford another defeat after last week’s 2-1 loss at West Bromwich.
Shortest reigns under Roman
Guus Hiddink 105 days
Felipe Scolari 223 days
Avram Grand 247 days
Andre Villas-Boas 256 days
Roberto Di Matteo 262 days
Who's next? Guardiola and Benitez are in the frame to take the helm at Stamford Bridge
A Chelsea spokesman said: ‘Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo.
‘The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.
‘The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.
‘The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup.
'We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.
‘The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.’Edited by zocoss 21 Nov `12, 6:23PM
Liverpool star Raheem Sterling questioned by police over alleged assault on woman
The Liverpool winger, who made his international debut last week, was quizzed under caution after he went to a police station by prior appointment<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Rising star: Raheem Sterling playing for England
England's new teenage wonderkid Raheem Sterling has been interviewed by detectives in connection with an alleged attack on a woman.
Liverpool winger Sterling, 17, was quizzed under caution after he went to a police station by prior appointment.
The player, who made his England debut against Sweden last week, has not been arrested and police say investigations are continuing into the alleged assault.
A force spokeswoman said yesterday: “Merseyside police can confirm that a 17-year-old male from the Woolton area was interviewed under caution following a report of an assault on Friday, November 2.
“A 27-year-old woman received slight injuries during the incident in the Liverpool 8 area.
"The investigation is ongoing and no formal action has been taken.”
It is understood that Sterling was quizzed by police on Merseyside on November 5, three days after the alleged bust-up.
Last night Liverpool FC declined to comment on the police interview.
Jamaican-born Sterling, who will turn 18 on December 8, is the fifth youngest footballer to represent the senior England team.
He joined the academy at QPR when he was 10 but two years ago he was snapped up by the Anfield club and made his debut eight months ago.
Sterling’s explosive performances this season earned him the international call-up and he is expected to sign a new £30,000-a-week contract with the Reds.
He has a daughter, five-month-old Melody Rose.
EPL - Match 13 - November 24 / 25 Fixtures
Saturday, November 24th, 2012
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion 8:45 Mio 102
Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers 11:00 Mio 102
Everton v Norwich City 11:00 Mio 103
Stoke City v Fulham 11:00 Mio 104
Wigan Athletic v Reading 11:00 Mio 105
Aston Villa v Arsenal 1:30 am Mio 102
Sunday, November 25th, 2012
Swansea City v Liverpool 11:00 Mio 102
Chelsea v Manchester City 12:00mn Mio 102
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United 12:00mn Mio 103
Southampton v Newcastle United 11:00 Mio 104
EPL - Match 14 - November 27 / 28 Fixtures
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Sunderland v Queens Park Rangers 3:45 Mio 102
Aston Villa v Reading 4:00 Mio 103
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool 3:45 Mio 102
Manchester United v West Ham United 4:00 Mio 103
Chelsea v Fulham 3:45 Mio 104
Everton v Arsenal 3:45 Mio 105
Wigan Athletic v Manchester City 4:00 Mio 106
Stoke City v Newcastle United 3:45 Mio 107
Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion 3:45 Mio 108
Southampton v Norwich City 3:45 Mio 109
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United debt remains eye-watering £360m but Chevrolet deal boosts profits
Under pressure: Some United fans remain opposed to the Glazer family
Reason to be cheerful? Manchester United have reduced their debt
Manchester United’s gross debt was reduced to £359.7million after the club’s owners ‘retired’ a further £62.6million-worth of bonds during the first financial quarter.
A 32.4 per cent increase in sponsorship revenues, underpinned by that massive shirt deal with Chevrolet, contributed to commercial revenues rising by 24 per cent to £43million over the quarter and an overall profit of £20.5million.
United estimate overall income will reach £350million and £360million over the entire financial year to June 30, 2013.The results are bound to receive a negative reaction from some fans groups, particularly as reports in the United States overnight indicated the club had to be forced to disclose greater information than they initially wanted when they launched their IPO in the summer. But commercially, at least, the results underline how successful United have been.
In the last quarter alone, United entered into 10 sponsorship arrangements, including that incredible £357million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.
That eye-boggling sum persuaded United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for United’s training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.
'Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising & sponsorship,; said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
'The team has also made a strong start to the 12/13 season - currently 1st place in the Premier League and 1st place (and undefeated) in our Champions League Group.'
United confirmed the 'exceptional item' of £3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO.
This sum will be seized on by critics of the Glazer family, who continue to point to the massive sums incurred by the club as a direct result of their controversial leveraged takeover in 2005.
Yet United now appear set on a campaign to maximise commercial revenues.
They have opened an office in Hong Kong and confirmed staff costs had risen to £40.3 million 'primarily due to growth in commercial headcount'.
Reverse: United bought out the deal with DHL to sponsor the training kit
United also confirmed they received £1.3million due to their players being selected for Euro 2012.
United's broadcast revenues have dipped substantially by 37.4 per cent, although most of this is being put down to the fact the Red Devils played only one home Champions League game during the period concerned compared to two 12 months ago.
And, as United have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition compared to their catastrophic group stage exit last term, further rises in revenue will be anticipated.
It also seems United pocketed around £2million as a result of Old Trafford being an Olympic venue given a 13.3 per cent rise in matchday revenue to £19.6million.
Premier League TV rights set to top £5bn for first time
• Clubs set for huge hike from 2013-14 season
• Final overseas deals to be concluded next monthThe global appeal of teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea is one of the reasons the Premier League clubs are set to break the £5bn barrier for TV rights. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Domestic rights = £3.018bn + £178m
Overseas contracts = ?
US, NBC bid US$250m (£157m)
Brazil US$50m (£31.5m)
Overseas income is shared out on an equal basis between all 20 clubs.
Domestic rights income is allocated according to a sliding scale based on league position and the number of appearances on TV.
Premier League clubs are in line for a huge hike in television income from next season, with revenue from domestic and global TV rights deals on course to top £5bn by the time the final overseas contracts are tied up next month.
On top of the blockbuster £3.018bn deal announced in June for domestic live rights with Sky and BT for the three seasons from 2013-14, and the £178m banked from the BBC for Match of the Day highlights, the Premier League is well on course to improve on the £1.4bn it brought in from overseas broadcasters under the current deal.
If the total revenue breaks through the £5bn barrier as expected, the amount that the title-winning club receives from 2013-14 is likely to top £100m for the first time.
Premier League clubs will be updated on the latest deals to be signed at a meeting this week, when they will also discuss proposals to try to introduce a domestic version of Uefa's Financial Fair Play policy or other cost-control measures such as a restriction on wage growth.
The hike in income will be cheered by clubs trying to balance their budgets to comply with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules and looking to exploit their commercial potential around the world, but will also increase fears that it will simply be passed on to players in the form of increased wages.
The existing TV deals, which run to the end of this season, themselves marked a huge increase in overseas income from £650m for the previous three years to around £1.4bn for 2010 to 2013. In total the current deals are worth around £3.5bn, meaning that the Premier League clubs are on course to collectively achieve an uplift of more than £500m a year.
Overseas income is shared out on an equal basis between all 20 clubs, while income from domestic rights is allocated according to a sliding scale based on league position and the number of appearances on TV. Just as the exponential rise in domestic income has been driven by competition between Sky and various challengers over the past 20 years, so the same process is starting to play out across the world.
In the US, NBC outbid the incumbents Fox and ESPN and will pay around $250m (£157m) over three seasons, triple the existing contract, and show more matches on its national network.
Manchester United's vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, recently said that the US represented the number one growth target for the club, because a number of factors had coalesced to make it ready to take off.
In Brazil, rights have been stripped out for the first time from a pan-continental deal and sold to Fox and ESPN for $50m, more than four times what the rights were believed to be worth as part of the previous South American deal.
In China, in contrast, the focus has been on expanding reach rather than maximising revenue. A six-year contract was last week signed with the agency SuperSports Media to sub-licence matches to regional and IPTV broadcasters across the country. It goes beyond a traditional rights deal and also includes a joint marketing agreement to promote clubs in the country.
Deals have already been concluded in the US and South America, South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, China, Singapore and Scandinavia. Deals for Asia and Australasia and the Middle East and north Africa are expected to be wrapped up within the next fortnight.
Increases in income from the middle east, in particular, are expected to be driven by competition between al-Jazeera and its rivals.
The rest of Europe, excluding Scandinavia, is expected to be concluded by Christmas. It had been speculated in the wake of the partial victory of a Portsmouth landlady in the European courts that the rights could be sold as a single pan-European deal to avoid the prospect of rival broadcasters undercutting one another.
But instead the Premier League will continue to sell its rights on a territory by territory basis and limit the number of 3pm kick-offs on offer.
City are the best team in the Premier League... nobody can beat us, claims Kolarov
Up for the battle: Kolarov (left) believes City can now go unbeaten
Aleksandar Kolarov rounded on Manchester City's critics on Tuesday and claimed they are unbeatable when they show the spirit that carried them to a dramatic win over Tottenham.
Despite not hitting peak form so far, City remain the only unbeaten side in the Barclays Premier League and are just two points off top spot after overturning a 1-0 deficit against Tottenham on Sunday.
'I understand why we get so much criticism, but if we carry on playing with the same spirit we showed against Spurs, nobody can beat us,' declared the City left-back.
'Everyone wants to, because we are the champions and we haven't lost this season. The smallest teams and the biggest teams, they all want to beat us and they all give 200 per cent to try and do it.
'We may have lost games in the Champions' League, but I think we are still the best team in the Premier League. Beating Spurs was a big step, not just for the three points but because we had a good spirit. We need to stay on this road, train well and keep playing to this level.'
Kolarov admitted misgivings over City's zonal marking system and urged team-mate Edin Dzeko to shrug aside any frustration at not being in the starting line-up.
'We need to improve on set-pieces, because we conceded two goals against Ajax in the Champions' League and then another on Sunday,' he said.
On target: Kolarov urged unsettled Dzeko to concentrate on the job in hand
'We mark from zone to zone but nobody knows who needs to mark the player.
'It is important for us that Edin continues to score, whether from the bench or starting. It is tough, but not just for him. It is the same for me and others who do not play every game. It is hard to keep your form at a high level, but we are professional and need to accept it is the manager's choice.'
MARK CLATTENBURG PROBE IS DROPPED BY THE POLICE
Referee Mark Clattenburg still faces an FA inquiry
MARK CLATTENBURG'S fight to clear his name gathered momentum when the police last night dropped their investigation into allegations against him.
A statement by the Metropolitan Police revealed that they are “no longer investigating” a complaint that the referee racially abused Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel.
That leaves the way clear for the FA to conclude their own investigation without fear of compromising a criminal case, and the fact the police found no grounds for a charge must strengthen Clattenburg’s hand.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck gave a long interview yesterday which refereeing insiders interpreted as a defensive move – “getting his retaliation in first” – because the case against Clattenburg could now unravel.
Clattenburg is facing a third weekend without a game.
The FIFA official has not been given a fixture since Chelsea alleged that at least one player had heard the referee call Mikel “a monkey” during the home Premier League defeat against Manchester United on October 28.
Clattenburg vehemently denies the accusation. The police became involved when Peter Herbert, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, complained.
The police statement read: “Inquiries were made and no victims have come forward.
“If the situation changes and a victim and/or evidence to support an allegation of a crime comes to police attention, then further inquiries will, if appropriate, be made.”
The statement’s reference to no victims coming forward infers that Chelsea did not contact the police and that the police did not interview any players. Now the pressure will be on the FA to decide quickly whether to bring a misconduct charge against the 37-year-old County Durham official.
There is frustration within the Premier League and the Professional Game Match Officials Board that, again, the FA appear to be dragging their heels.
Buck’s interview, with a friendly journalist in a London newspaper, gave the club’s authorised version of events.
Buck, an American lawyer, maintained that Chelsea were duty bound to report the accusation against Clattenburg. But he confirmed that Mikel and manager Roberto Di Matteo did try to confront Clattenburg after the match.
They could face a charge for their behaviour if the FA, like the police, decide not to proceed.
In the interview, Buck said: “I spoke to the players involved, either because they were allegedly the recipient of that abuse or had heard it, three separate times.
“I asked them if they could be mistaken. I asked them if they might have heard ‘Mikel’ instead of ‘monkey’.
“I thought I had covered the base.”Edited by zocoss 14 Nov `12, 11:56AM
PREMIER LEAGUE 2012
Norwich vs Manchester United
Saturday, 17 November 2012
Time: 1:30am - (Live) (Sun Morning)
Mio Channel 102 in HD
EPL Game 12
Manchester United :
De Gea, Ferdinand, Rafael, Smalling, Buttner, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Cleverley, Fletcher, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Robin Van Persie, Young, Lindegaard.
Powell, Macheda, Bebe.
Doubtful : Evans, Jones, Nani, Rooney.
Injured : Vidic, Kagawa.
EPL - Match 12 - November 17 / 18 / 19 Fixtures
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur 8:45 Mio 102
Manchester City v Aston Villa 11:00 Mio 102
Liverpool v Wigan Athletic 11:00 Mio 103
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea 11:00 Mio 104
Newcastle United v Swansea City 11:00 Mio 105
Reading v Everton 11:00 Mio 106
Queens Park Rangers v Southampton 11:00 Mio 107
Norwich City v Manchester United 1:30 Mio 102
Sunday November 18
Fulham v Sunderland 12:00am (Mon) Mio 102
Monday November 19
West Ham United v Stoke City 4:00am (Tue) Mio 102
Next Weekend Fixtures , November 24th , 2012
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Chelsea v Manchester City
Everton v Norwich City
Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers
Southampton v Newcastle United
Stoke City v Fulham
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City v Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Wigan Athletic v ReadingEdited by zocoss 12 Nov `12, 4:05PM
A Funny Game Of Two Racist !
Both were the only scorer of goals in the match.
One Black guy attack a racist only for that racist to attack that black guy's racist and injured him badly... The script couldn't have been written any better...
Rather please with the result at the end.Edited by zocoss 12 Nov `12, 11:09AM
Hair raising! Chelsea line up £30m January move for Marouane Fellaini
Everton midfielder scored his sixth goal of the season against Sunderland - and would be eligible for the Champions League<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Fel guy: Everton midfielder has hinted he wants to leave
Chelsea will make a sensational £30million move for Everton talisman Marouane Fellaini in the January transfer window, writes the Sunday People.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich has given the green light to a huge offer for the powerful Goodison hero who has been one of the major successes of the Premier League this season.
Boss Roberto di Matteo wants more strength in his side and an alternative to Fernando Torres, with fearsome Fellaini top of his wish list. And the fact Belgian Fellaini would be eligible for the Champions League is a major plus as the Londoners set up one of the biggest deals of the January market.
Fellaini scored his sixth goal of the season yesterday before setting up Nikica Jelavic for the winner in Everton’s 2-1 comeback win over Sunderland.
And he has been dropping hints he would like to move on soon – much to the annoyance of Everton boss David Moyes.
It will take a big bid to make it happen but Chelsea are happy to spend, knowing Torres cannot lead their attack on his own if they are to challenge for the title or get anywhere near retaining the Champions League.
Fellaini – who turns 25 next week – fits the bill as he can lead the line, support the main attacker or add his 6ft 4ins frame to a talented but small attacking midfield.
Top three stories from the Sunday People:
Premier League: Manchester City v Tottenham match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at the Etihad Stadium
After a promising start, Spurs have been lacklustre in their last two domestic fixtures, going down 2-1 to Norwich in the League Cup before losing 1-0 at home to Wigan in their last league match.
But Andre Villas-Boas' men bounced back to form on Thursday with a 3-1 over Maribor in the Europa League, and they will enter the match with a bit of confidence on the back of that win.
Roberto Mancini's City team, meanwhile, have stumbled in recent matches themselves - with their last outing in the league resulting in a 0-0 draw at West Ham before they were forced to come from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.
A win for either side would get things back on track.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 9.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Manchester City 3 (Nasri, Lescott, Balotelli) Tottenham 2 (Defoe, Bale), Premier League, January 2012
Tottenham 1 (Kaboul) Manchester City 5 (Dzeko 4, Aguero), Premier League, August 2011
Manchester City 1 (Crouch OG) Spurs 0, Premier League, May 2011
Samir Nasri has scored in three of his last four league appearances against Tottenham, and provided three assists in the one game he failed to register a goal.
Andre Villas-Boas' side are one win away from 300 in the Premier League.
The north London outfit have won seven of their last 11 league visits to City.
Manchester City will be hoping to capitalise on Tottenham's patchy form in the Premier League when they welcome them to Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Aston Villa v Manchester United: Squad sheets
Since a 3-1 victory over Sir Alex Ferguson's kids 17 years ago, Villa have crumbled when United visit. Paul Lambert's revolution is making slow but steady progress, his young side's three-match unbeaten run putting a relatively comfortable four-point buffer between themselves and the relegation zone. Villa are boosted by the return after suspension of Karim El Ahmadi, whose crisp passing has brought some vital composure to an otherwise inexperienced midfield; Villa have held the majority of possession on only two occasions this season. The hosts will need significantly higher ball retention than in recent weeks if they are to stunt a visiting side that seem to be steadily growing in confidence as the season progresses. United have won four successive league games since the shock 3-2 defeat by Tottenham, and with a relatively straight forward run of games until the Manchester derby in early December, Ferguson will be keen to ensure his team do not drop points against sides as depleted as Villa.
Venue Villa Park, Saturday 5.30pm
Tickets £25-45 (0800 612 0970 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 0800 612 0970 end_of_the_skype_highlighting )
Last season Aston Villa 0 Man Utd 1
Referee Kevin Friend
This season's matches 5 Y19, R1, 4.00 cards per game
Odds Aston Villa 5-1 Man Utd 4-7 Draw 3-1
Subs from Given, Hutton, Albrighton, Holman, Westwood, Bowery, Weimann, Stevens, Herd, Baker, Burke, Williams
Doubtful Baker (ankle), Bennett (knee), Herd (knee)
Injured Dunne (groin, 17 Nov), Gardner (knee, May), Bent (ankle, unknown), N'Zogbia (knee, unknown), Petrov (leukaemia, unknown)
Suspended Lichaj (one match)
Form guide WDLLDL
Disciplinary record Y23 R2
Leading scorers Bent, Benteke 2
Subs from Johnstone, Lindegaard, Giggs, Anderson, Smalling, Welbeck, Henríquez, Cleverley, Fletcher, Powell, Hernández, Buttner, Macheda, Bébé
Doubtful Evans (groin)
Injured Nani (hamstring, 17 Nov), Jones (knee, 24 Nov), Kagawa (knee, 28 Nov), Vidic (knee, 15 Dec)
Form guide WWWWLW
Disciplinary record Y18 R0
Leading scorer Van Persie 8
• Villa have won only one of their past 33 top-flight matches against United – 3-1 in August 1995
• United's 16-match unbeaten run at Villa Park is the longest of any team away from home against the same side in the Premier League
• Villa won last week but have gone 48 matches since they last had consecutive victories
• Wayne Rooney has missed seven of the 20 penalty kicks that he has taken in the top flight (35%)
• Villa have kept just three clean sheets in their past 15 games in all competitions
• United have caught an opponent offside just six times so far this season – the fewest in the division