Aston Villa V Man Utd at Villa Park : Match Preview

15 December 2013 11:59
Aston Villa V Man Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Delph suspended for United clash

Aston Villa will be without midfielder Fabian Delph for Sunday's Barclays Premier League home clash with Manchester United.

Delph is suspended having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 2-0 defeat at Fulham last weekend.

In terms of injuries, Villa boss Paul Lambert has reported that centre-back Ron Vlaar is "struggling" with his calf problem, but indicated that full-back Antonio Luna and striker Libor Kozak, recently sidelined by groin and toe complaints respectively, may be available on Sunday.

Lambert has given his backing to under-pressure United manager David Moyes.

The Red Devils, the defending Premier League champions, have so far had a hugely disappointing 2013-14 campaign following Moyes' appointment over the summer, and they are currently ninth in the table, 13 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

The way things have gone for the Old Trafford club under their new boss has generated plenty of talk of a crisis, but Lambert said: "I think people are getting carried away by where United are in the table.

"They are still a top club with top players.

"Any manager going in there - it doesn't matter who it was, what country they came from, anything - after probably the most successful manager Britain has ever produced was always going to find that really hard to do.

"So I think the criticism is a bit over the top.

"They have had success for years and years, and when you fall below that really high standard, then people jump on the bandwagon and say they are a spent force. I never really buy into that.

"I'm pretty sure David Moyes will get that job right.

"He is a really good manager and a good guy - I'm convinced he will get that job right.

"He is just in the door. I think some of the criticism has been pretty harsh."

Moyes has been dealt an injury hammer-blow after striker Robin van Persie was ruled out for four weeks with a thigh injury.

After a largely uninterrupted debut campaign with the Old Trafford outfit, Van Persie has suffered a series of setbacks this time around.

Troubled by groin and toe problems, Van Persie was making only his 16th appearance of the campaign when he was introduced as a substitute during Tuesday's Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

But the Dutchman had been on the field for only four minutes before he swung over the corner that Phil Jones' swept home for United's winner.

Elation at the goal, which confirmed United as group stage winners, was tempered by news that Van Persie had strained his thigh as he was taking the corner.

It means the 30-year-old is now set to miss the entire festive programme, Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final against Stoke, plus the first leg of any subsequent semi-final and the FA Cup third round encounter with Swansea on January 5.

For Moyes it is a major setback given Van Persie's status as Golden Boot winner for the past two seasons.

"It is a big blow to us," he said.

"He picked up a thigh strain in taking a corner kick which led to the goal.

"It is unfortunate because if you look at our record with Wayne Rooney and Robin in the team it is actually very good and we have not had them for quite a period recently."

Source: PA