Manchester, England – With the Premier League title race heating up, Manchester United will look to bounce back from a disappointing midweek loss when it hosts Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Red Devils enjoyed an eight-point lead atop England's top flight, but Wednesday's loss at Wigan paired with Manchester City's comfortable defeat of West Bromwich has seen that cushion reduced to just five points.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson remains defiant despite the debilitating loss at the DW Stadium, opting to look on the bright side heading into the final five matches of the season.
"There's no injuries from Wednesday, which is probably the only thing we can take out of the game," admitted Ferguson. "We are disappointed to lose that game, so Sunday is important for us. Hopefully, we get back on track.
"We have to put it in a bit of perspective. You drop points in the second half of the season. We have done it most years. ... [Manchester] City and ourselves have both experienced that. From the position we were in a few months ago, to where we are today, we have to be delighted."
There will be plenty at stake for Aston Villa as well. Once a virtual lock to remain in the Premier League, the Villans have slipped over the past few months to fall dangerously close to the relegation zone. With just two points from their last four league contests, they sit just six points clear of danger.
"I think Villa are probably safe but you never know," Ferguson said in assessment of his opposition. "They are six points clear with five games left, so they can't be dead sure. As they were against Liverpool and Stoke, they will be very determined."
Three clubs also looking to avoid relegation will take the pitch on Saturday as QPR heads to the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich, Blackburn looks to hand Swansea City a fifth straight defeat and Wolverhampton goes for its first win since Feb. 4 when it faces Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Saturday's early fixture sees second-place Manchester City head to Carrow Road to face Norwich City. While the Canaries do not have much to play for, the Citizens can cut United's lead atop the table to just two points.
And on Monday, Arsenal faces Wigan at the Emirates with the Gunners looking to cement their spot in third place and the Latics hoping to pull further away from the relegation zone.