Bradley to bolster Villa’s presence in table climb

The physical presence that Michael Bradley will bring to the Aston Villa midfield not only enhances their chances of beating Manchester United, but could also give them a small chance of mounting a late assault on the Champions League places.

The 23-year-old American has joined on loan from Borussia Moenchengladbach and takes the place in the squad vacated by Stephen Ireland following his own loan switch to Newcastle.

A few weeks ago Villa found themselves in the relegation places, but two successive league victories has seen them climb the table and they can now look ahead following a successful transfer window.

They now have a realistic chance of winning at Old Trafford, with Aston Villa’s betting odds 8/1 to beat Manchester United.

There is a strong possibility that all four of Villa’s January signings will feature against Manchester United and although the majority of eyes will be on Darren Bent, the introduction of Bradley could be just as important.

Bradley is regarded as having similar attributes to Nigel Reo Coker, but his greater range of passing could prove a valuable asset.

Meanwhile, the partnership he is expected to form in the centre of the midfield with Jean Makoun could be a vital screening shield for the defence and be especially pivotal against Manchester United.

Villa are currently 13 points adrift of the top four, but a promising list of fixtures in the coming month could make them overpriced at 66/1 in the Premier League betting to surge into the Champions League places.

Gerard Houllier’s team have five winnable games after they face Manchester United, as they prepare to host Fulham, Blackburn and Wolves, while travelling to Blackpool and Bolton.

Furthermore, they also have games at Villa Park against Newcastle, Stoke and Wigan to look forward to this season, alongside trips to West Ham and West Brom.

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