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Aston Villa-Manchester United Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Manchester United will be looking to strengthen their grip on the Premier League title when they welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Five points clear at the top of the table with five games remaining, United's 1-0 defeat to Wigan on Monday evening ensured that the title race remains open, and with the Manchester derby just weeks away veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs knows how important the next couple of matches are.
"It is important that we get six points from the next two games," said Giggs. "We are at Old Trafford, we are at home.
"We will be looking to win both games and put the pressure on. We have had poor performances throughout the season and results but we have always bounced back.
"We don't have to get too down. The main thing is that we have recovered from it. That is what we have to do again."
Sunday visitors have slipped to 15th in the table and are just six points clear of the relegation zone, but manager Alex McLeish insists that he won't relax until safety is assured.
"I am not going to rest," said McLeish. "I'm not going to go home and think, 'That's fine, there's daylight here'.
"We have to keep them on their toes and keep them at a good level. There were seven academy guys out there against Stoke. They gave everything and have a fantastic attitude. They are trying to make their names at Aston Villa and show they can play at the club for as long as possible.
"We are obviously trying to get a position where we can look towards next season. We have the games to do it and the points to do it. There's no shortage of effort. We've gained some ground and it followed on from a good point at Liverpool over the weekend but it is still a cup final every week."
United remain without Anders Lindegaard (ankle), Darren Fletcher (bowel), Nemanja Vidic (knee) and Michael Owen (thigh), while Anderson is unlikely to feature with a hamstring injury. Villa have doubts over Stephen Warnock (ankle), Marc Albrighton (thigh) and Ciaran Clark (knee), while Chris Herd (head), Darren Bent (ankle), Richard Dunne (collar bone) and Fabien Delph (ankle) remain out. Stilyan Petrov continues treatment following being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
United have failed to win four league games against Villa in the last four seasons, but the Villans have won just once in the last 26 league visits to Old Trafford. The hosts have won six straight games at home, conceding just once and have the fifth highest points tally at this stage of any Premier League season. The visitors have picked up three points in just one of their last ten in the league and defeat would see them with their lowest ever points tally after 33 games of a season.
Phil Jones scored a first-half winner when Manchester United beat Aston Villa 1-0 in this season's reverse league fixture at Villa Park on December 3.
Updated April 13, 2012