Manchester United's trip to Birmingham is Saturday's late EPL kick-off and it's likely that United will be eight points off table topping City before they get a chance to kick a ball, so expect them to take out their anger and frustration on Aston Villa.

The champions are in the unusual position of having to play second fiddle to somebody else, they sit second in the league on 35 points, that's five behind City and just two ahead of third placed Tottenham. Inconceivable as it may seem, Manchester United could start their game against Aston Villa third in the table; if Tottenham beat floundering Bolton. Even if City and Spurs both lose, the gum-chewing-title-winning machine that is Alex Ferguson will not be happy anywhere other than top of the table and is likely still fuming after the phantom penalty his team conceded last weekend against Newcastle, which saw them drop two points (at Old Trafford) and the shock Carling Cup exit midweek (also at home).

Javier HernandezIt's not a good time to face the reigning champions

Aston Villa are eighth in the league sitting on 16 points and -1 goal difference. They are a full seven points (at time of press) off Arsenal who are one place above them in the table, but they are tied with Everton and Norwich on 16 points and they know that West Bromwich Albion, Swansea, Stoke and QPR are all within one win of them. Villa are hardly a force to be reckoned with (they are 25/1 to finish in the top six) and they have only won one of their last five games. Their last league game was away to Swansea which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Meanwhile Manchester United may have thought dropping points at home to Newcastle was out of character, but something went even more drastically wrong on Wednesday night when they were booted out of the Carling Cup when lowly Crystal Palace pulled off a stunning extra-time victory at Old Trafford, a ground they have not won at since 1989.  There is no talk about Alex Ferguson joining his old player; Steve Bruce on the dole queue, but it's no exaggeration to say the rosy cheeked Scot will expect (nay demand) all three points and nothing less from his team's trip to Birmingham.

Everything points towards Manchester

Looking at the head-to-head games between the two sides Villa haven't beaten United for two years, and United lead the scoring 8-6 in their last five meetings. This game should be all about United and they should win both halves at a canter and clock up a decent goal tally.  United winning both halves is at 8/5 in the soccer odds while Villa winning the game in any manner is at 9/2, even a draw is at 11/4. The sportsbooks seem to think that this game will end in United's favour as they offer up an away win at 4/6.

The last time Villa beat United was 12th December 2009, that was the Red Devils’ last defeat at Old Trafford before this season's 6-1 derby shocker. You might be interested to know that Villa still hold the record for being the last team to stop Man Utd scoring at Old Trafford. If you want to bet on the first goal scorer, the obvious tip is United’s Javier Hernandez at 4/1, while Aston Villa’s star striker Darren Bent is at 15/2, which should give you a big clue to the game’s eventual outcome.

Don't place your soccer betting Dollars, Pounds, Euros (Ameros?!) on a Villa clean sheet as Sunday’s 0-0 was the Birmingham club’s first shutout since 1st October (a 2-0 home victory against Wigan) and the last time United failed to score in an EPL match was way back in May (a 1-0 away defeat to Arsenal) last season. A 1-0 home win is the most likely home victory, but still an outside bet at 12/1. In short there should only be one winner and the only question is what the score will be. There is little harm in having a small bet on 1-0 to United (at 6/1) as it’s in danger of becoming the norm for the champions, but I'm setting my sites a little higher, as I'm sure Alex Ferguson will.

Prediction: A performance like the Old United, and a 4-1 away victory at 28/1.