MATCHDAY: Man United can go level at the top with Villa win

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A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Friday with the Premier League the only major competition playing:

MAN UNITED vs ASTON VILLA

Manchester United can move level on points with defending champion Liverpool at the top of the Premier League by beating Aston Villa. United has won seven of its last nine league matches to re-establish itself as a title contender. The record 20-time English champions haven’t won the league since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. United will now be without Edinson Cavani for three games after the striker was banned for a social media post containing a racially offensive phrase. Villa goes to Old Trafford in fifth place – four points behind United – after Monday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea extended its unbeaten run to five games. Villa will see defender Tyrone Mings return from suspension.

EVERTON vs WEST HAM

Everton is fourth in the league, four points behind leader Liverpool with a game in hand after recording four successive victories. For the encounter with 10th-place West Ham – and former manager David Moyes – Everton has Richarlison available again after he missed Saturday’s win at Sheffield United under concussion protocol, but James Rodriguez remains sidelined with a calf problem. The government’s announcement on Wednesday that Liverpool was moving into the second highest tier of coronavirus regulations means Goodison Park will be empty, having previously been allowed up to 2,000 fans.

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