Manchester United will be hoping to keep hold of top spot in the league when they travel to Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

Last weekend proved perfect for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, as they beat Arsenal and watched as their nearest rivals all went on to drop points over the course of the weekend.

And with Chelsea and Manchester City not in action until Sunday, United will be hoping to widen the gap further and pile the pressure on with a win.

Paul Lambert was delighted to see his side pick up a much needed win last time out, beating Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. However he will be fully aware of the task in front of him, with United unbeaten in their last 16 league games at Villa Park, and with Villa winning just once in their last 33 league meetings.

Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi will return after a one-match ban for Saturday’s home clash, but defender Eric Lichaj will miss out through suspension this week, after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign during the win at Sunderland.

Meanwhile United centre back Jonny Evans is a doubt for the game, suffering with a niggling groin problem. Chris Smalling is likely to start his second game in four days.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United